Google Unloads Zagat on Another Food Review Site
Google has found a taker for Zagat, the restaurant review site for which it paid $151 million dollars in 2011, selling it to NY-based review site The Infatuation for an undisclosed amount.
According to a release from The Infatuation, the two brands will continue to operate separately “with individual platforms, and distinct purposes and points of view.” That means that The Infatuation, known for its lengthy hashtag #eeeeeats, will keep pumping out guides and reviews (some of which have been questionable in the past), and Zagat will stick to the user surveys it’s employed since it was founded in 1979 by Nina and Tim Zagat.
However, The New York Times reports that The Infatuation will apply its “technological expertise” to further develop Zagat’s impact, though it did receive an app and site refresh at the hands of Google in 2016. The tech giant’s unloading of the brand, which it purchased with the intent to bring the established guidebook company into technological relevancy, is an end to a tempestuous run for the two companies: Despite high hopes for the merger, Google downgraded Zagat employees to contractors, and eventually deemphasized its branding in favor of its own branded tools like restaurant wait times.
Infatuation founders Chris Stang and Andrew Steinthal founded their company in 2009 to help friends find places to dine in NYC. The company has since expanded its reach to dozens of cities around the country: With the purchase of Zagat, they hope to reach an international audience.
Still, the irony of the purchase remains: Zagat’s gradual slide into irrelevancy is — in part — the result of sites like The Infatuation, Yelp, and other tech-savvy food review sites.