Information Technology & Tourism

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 181–207 | Cite as

Same sushi, different impressions: a cross-cultural analysis of Yelp reviews

  • Makoto NakayamaEmail author
  • Yun Wan
Original Research


Online reviews are essential digital assets for any service business in the hospitality industry. This study analyzes 76,704 Western (North American and European) and 56,159 Japanese Yelp reviews of Japanese restaurants. We find that Western consumers are more likely to give higher or lower star ratings than are Japanese consumers, while Japanese consumers are more likely to vote on the helpfulness of others’ reviews than are Westerners. Further analyses of the review texts show that Western and Japanese consumers express their sentiments over different dimensions of restaurant experience (food quality, service quality, the physical environment, and price fairness) for the same categories of Japanese dish. Westerners express more sentiments on service quality overall; Japanese customers express more negative sentiments on inferior physical environments and more positive sentiments on price fairness. These findings indicate that culture influences the consumer experience expressed in online reviews. Our study thus offers insights into online travel portals and restaurant practitioners to help them use online reviews wisely and appropriately accommodate customers with varied cultural backgrounds.


Online reviews Text mining Sentiment analysis Restaurant valuation Culinary valuation criteria 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Computing and Digital MediaDePaul UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.School of Arts and SciencesUniversity of Houston-VictoriaVictoriaUSA

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