Rating Scale

I review many food related offerings and rate them from 1 star to 10 stars.  It's occurred to me that such scales are, by nature subjective. What qualifies something as a "10?"  Can a steak dinner and a fast food sandwich achieve the same score?  If any reviews are to be taken seriously, these are the kinds of questions which need to be addressed.
Steak & Fries
Subject: Steak & Fries | Date: 02/27/2009 | Photographer: LWY | This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.
A quality scale can span any range the critic chooses, as long as the critic uses the same scale consistently.  Daym Drops reviews fast food dishes on a 5 point system.  More famously, Robert Parker critiques wine on his, frequently sited, 100 point scale.  As a tongue in cheek way of emphasizing the random nature of such scales, the critics of "The Two Minute Reviews" critique foods on a 37 point system.

While the numerical value of a particular score can be a matter of poetic license, the criteria behind the scores should be consistent.  One should never allow mood to influence the rating of an item or restaurant.  The fact that one of my assistants quit working for me has nothing to with the way my sandwich tastes.  Knocking a dish because I'm grumpy would be completely irresponsible.

Likewise, I can't think, "Dish A was a 10, so what I'm eating now can only be an 8, at best."  A steakhouse steak is always going to be more satisfying than a fast food sandwich.  That doesn't mean the sandwich isn't doing its job though.  It's not trying to be a steak, so I can't compare it to one.

To rate something correctly, I ask myself a series of questions.  What is the food/restaurant trying to be?  Is it fulfilling the claims it's making?  Is it worth the price?  Would I partake of this again?  Answers to these questions gives me a value, which I can express in terms of a 10 point scale.

10 stars = I need this in my life from this day forward|
09 stars = Everyone needs to try this, it's wonderful|
08 stars = It's as good as I thought it would be|
07 stars = It's good, but it missed in a few minor ways|
06 stars = It's passable, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it|
05 stars = It's barely tolerable but cheap|
04 stars = Their charging what for this spew?|
03 stars = It's 1970s school lunch quality bad|
02 stars = It's lousy and a possible health risk|
01 stars = The people responsible for this should be prosecuted|

No comments:

Post a Comment