How the Weather Makes Restaurant Food Taste Better or Worse

May 31, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. accumulate /əˈkyuəˌleɪt/ (v.) – to collect something in great quantities
Example: They accumulated the data from hundreds of online sources.

2. database /ˈdeɪəˌbeɪs/ (n.) – an organized collection of information that is either stored in a computer or on the Internet
Example: All of the clients’ information is in the company’s database.

3. demographics /ˌdɛməˈgræfɪks/ (n.) – the description of a population, often includes income, education, age, etc.
Example: The demographics of the city show that most people are from the middle class.

4. carry-out /ˈkærˌaʊt/ (adj.) – referring to readymade food that one buys in a restaurant but eats elsewhere
Example: He ordered a carry-out meal for his wife at home.

5. determinant /dɪˈtɜrənt/ (n.) – anything that affects the outcome of something
Example: Experience is one of the determinants of getting hired for a job.


Read the text below.
Researchers have found that the weather has a huge impact on how diners rate a restaurant’s quality of food and service.

According to a study, customers tend to give positive ratings for restaurants during a moderately warm and dry day. On the other hand, if the temperature is either too hot or too cold, restaurants are likely to have negative reviews from their customers.

Saeideh Bakhshi [SAY-yeh-deh  buh k-shee] and Eric Gilbert of Georgia Institute of Technology, in collaboration with Yahoo! Labs research scientist Partha Kanuparthy, conducted the study. They accumulated a decade’s worth of data, amounting to 1.1 million online reviews on 840,000 restaurants in the United States.

The researchers acquired the online reviews from various online databases like GrubHub and AllMenus. These websites are where people post about their dining experience usually after they eat in a restaurant.

Aside from weather conditions, researchers also considered other variables like each restaurant’s demographics, and the economic and education level of its surrounding neighborhood. They discovered the varying differences between large cities and small cities. For one, people in busier cities are more tolerant to wait in lines. On the other hand, people in smaller cities prefer carry-out service to deliveries.

Although these variables provide notable results in the study, the researchers believe that weather conditions are the determinant of every food critic’s opinion.

Previous studies have claimed that weather greatly affects not only the customers, but also the servers. In fact, psychologists have long established that weather circumstances are a dominant factor in influencing a person’s mood and behavior.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you personally agree with the study’s findings? Please explain your answer.
·         Besides online reviews, what alternatives can diners refer to when looking for preferred good restaurants?

Discussion B

·         What do you think restaurants can do to improve their customer ratings?
·         What factors do you consider when choosing a restaurant? Kindly discuss briefly.


May 31, 2014