Restaurant Survey Tips & Tricks

How do I create a survey and story for a restaurant?

To share your feedback on a recent dining experience, the first thing you need to do is click “Add Your Survey.” 

  1. You’ll then be asked whether the experience was dine-in or delivery, and to rate different aspects of the experience. 
  2. From there, you’ll be prompted to add photos of the food and/or interior of the restaurant (see below for tips on how to take the best photos). 
  3. Next, you’ll have 250 characters to tell us what made the experience memorable. 
  4. There may be a 24 hour moderation delay before your story is posted to your profile.

Survey Rating Tips & Tricks:

The new Zagat has evolved the original three-score system. Now, in addition to food, service, and atmosphere, Zagat will showcase a separate rating for delivery/ takeout. As we all know, these are vastly different experiences so they should be scored separately. There's two different options for survey types - "Dine In" or "Take-out/ Delivery" - make sure to select the one most relevant to your specific experience with the restaurant.

If you select "Dine In" then you'll be prompted with 3 questions to fill out that will compile your rating for the restaurant out of a score of 10. You'll also be asked how much you spent per person and be given a few options of tags to describe the restaurant.

If you select "Take-out/ Delivery" then you'll be prompted with 2 questions to fill out that will compile your rating for the restaurant out of a score of 10. You'll also be asked to fill out thumbs up / thumbs down comments to define your delivery experience with the restaurant.

Either way, please be consistent with filling out the questions as your responses contribute to the overall ranking of Zagat-rated restaurants.

Story Tips & Tricks:

We have optimized the platform for vertical photo sharing and short-form review content. Zagat has always been built for utility - the printed guide was sized to fit in your pocket and eschewed photos in service of brevity and clarity. In today’s world, photos help tell the story, and the new Zagat makes it easy to share an experience in a format that feels familiar and easy to use.

When it comes to posting photos, remember - You are beautiful. You are powerful. We see you. But this is not a dating app or family album. By all means take pics of your party, but keep 'em on your phone. Your Zagat photos should be about the food, the space, and the experience. Photos of wonderful humans that nevertheless do not help and inform other readers may be -- very respectfully! -- removed from the restaurant page.

For the written portion, imagine what you’d say in an email recommending this place to a friend. Summarizing your favorite (or least favorite) restaurant in 250 characters can be a daunting task. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips:

  • Say what this place is good for, and when you might use it. A date night? Place to take out of towners? Good place to meet for a quick drink?
  • Tell us what makes this place unique. Cool patio in the back? Great cocktails list?
  • Mention any must-order dishes.
  • What else should we know? Is the music super loud? Do they have a Happy Hour special?
  • Feel free to add some personality and share details as if you're recommending (or not) this spot to a friend.

We want Zagat surveys to be as useful as possible, meaning this isn’t the place to vent or express personal gripes. If service or another part of the experience is notable and likely to be experienced by others – whether positive or negative – and you think that information is worth sharing, go right ahead. But this isn’t a burn book.

Some obvious things not to do: identify staff by name, harass, abuse, make false statements, defame, impersonate someone else, copy reviews listed on other websites, or include illegal or otherwise objectionable content, as determined by Zagat in its sole discretion. 

Here are some examples:


Hands down the best ceviche in Miami, and the sushi is incredible too. The outdoor seating makes for some great Design District people-watching, and it’s a good spot to bring a date and split a bottle of natural wine. 

Cafe Kush

Such a great brunch spot. Get the croque madame and definitely wait for a table on their cute waterfront patio. Key lime pie for dessert is an absolute must and the apéritif cocktails are perfect for day-drinking. 

Red Rooster

Next time I’d come a little earlier to avoid the party crowd, but the food was great and I’m definitely ordering the Fried Yard Bird again. Loved the covered outdoor seating too, which has a huge tree in the center of it. 

Reference Community Guidelines for more information on the expectations and behaviors we encourage on Zagat.

How do I include photos in my survey?

Photos are an important part of the Zagat platform–in fact, you might notice you can’t submit a written comment without one. Below are some guidelines of what kinds of photos are suggested, as well as some tips to help you take great photos with your smartphone. 

  • Show us a dish you ordered, or what the interior or exterior of the restaurant looks like. Please keep your photos focused on the food, space, and experience -- not on yourself or other people dining with you, as those kinds of photos are less useful to other readers.
  • Use natural light instead of flash whenever possible.
  • If there isn’t much natural light available, make sure to hold your phone still. If you’re using an iPhone, enable Night Mode to take a long exposure of the space/food. This will help brighten things up.
  • Shoot from the side to capture foods that have height to them–sandwiches, burgers, a pile of pasta, etc.

Note that gifs and videos cannot currently be accommodated on Zagat, but may be included in future versions of the platform.

Why is my survey story not appearing in my profile?

When your survey is submitted along with a story there is content moderation happening behind the scenes. Not to worry - the story should appear on your profile within 24 hours of being submitted. Note that the survey score may appear before the story is uploaded to your profile.

How can I edit or delete a survey or story?

On your user profile, you have full control of what appears. You are able to easily delete a previously submitted survey or story by opening it, clicking on the three dots, and selecting "delete".

Once deleted your survey and story cannot be recovered, and you would need to submit a new survey for it to appear again.

What is the policy on surveys for the same venue?

You're encouraged to support your favorite restaurants and post a story every time you visit a spot. These photo/comment stories are designed to be shared per experience to highlight the food and atmosphere. However, the platform is designed for users to submit only one survey per venue per day, and anything beyond that is subject to being deleted by the Zagat team.

If you have any feedback on Zagat then we want to hear about it. Contact us at as a user or as a venue.

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