When I put feelers out just over six months ago looking for food reviewers for brunch, I was overwhelmed with the response. Especially considering that a lot of my blogging friends were keen to jump on board even though there would be no photo sharing, blog posts, special VIP treatment or events. Just a real meal on me with a real review in return.
Well it’s my favourite meal, no matter what day it is. It’s also the easiest time of day for me to catch up with friends. I’ve tackled more than most on my to do list after the girls head to school and I’m usually looking for an excuse to leave the home office and venture out into the real world.
I have more than a few favourite places I like to head for brunch but I’m also recognised now as a blogger (who knew), which can sometimes (not always) mean preferential treatment when venue owners assume you are there ‘casing’ the joint. I also initially had a slight conflict of interest with the mystery shopping side of things where I would be paid to review a venue for a client. Something I’ve been doing for years but have taken a step back from since starting the blog.
Casing the Menu
My Casing the Menu food reviews have been a long time coming. When I first kick started the blog, you may remember the high tea reviews. The ones where I was lucky enough to catch up one-on-one with some of Perth’s talented bloggers to discuss blogging while indulging in high tea. I had initially planned to move on to brunch reviews with a similar agenda but life (mainly health issues) had other ideas and food reviews were temporarily removed from the blogging menu.
With reviews slowly making their way back on the menu here, I’ve wanted to take a different approach this time round. So with a team of five mystery reviewers, we’ve been casing some of my favourite brunch venues in Perth, undercover, so that I can really give my favourite establishments my worth casing seal of approval.
Which reminds me, I need to find an actual Worth Casing seal for this one. I’m also wondering if we should share our scoring system on the actual review post?
How do the reviews work?
Each venue, has been cased on at least three separate occasions before I will even think about bringing the review to the blog. None of the reviews are sponsored. We were not offered special treatment or free meals. There were no blogger invited menu launch nights or VIP events.
This isn’t about how photographic the food is. Far from it. The only photos taken, were after initial reviews were completed and I would return to the venue with a friend or blogger.
Each and every visit the reviewers were asked to be as inconspicuous as possible. If they were asked if they were reviewing or blogging about their experience, which luckily never happened, the review would have been marked void.
My reviewers were real customers, obtaining a real experience. The majority of my reviewers were parents, so while they were there casing the venue for child friendliness, something I think only a parent can really gauge, they were all child free during the review.
The entire review process was systematic and I personally funded the campaign through the mystery shopping side of my VA business.
If a venue received more than one low score, it’s not worth casing and will not be making it on to the blog. The only real flaw in my review plan… the time factor. There just isn’t enough time to review each and every venue in Perth but seriously how cool would that be to pull off.
Location Location Location
As I’m currently North of the River (NOR) and the majority of my reviewers are also NOR, I’ve started here and I’ve kept mainly with my favourites.
I do have a preference for Karvan Coffee and Pure Tea from Leaf Bean Machine, and I’ve joked on far too many occasions that I need to be their official coffee shop reviewer but for the most part I try and leave coffee out of the equation. What an awesome job that would be though?! Reviewing coffee for a living. Right up there with chocolate reviewing according to my chocoholic hubby.
That crazy blogging idea will have to wait though, as I commence my 5 weeks of wellbeing this coming week, starting with a 5 day juice cleanse with Pure Glow Cleanse. This means giving up one of my favourite indulgences, coffee, for the time being.
It also means that we will be heading to the healthy side of town for the remainder of the brunch reviews.
Now that we have the right system in place with a tried and tested food review survey, I’m really looking forward to firstly sharing my favourite places for brunch in Perth both here on the blog with mini reviews and in person, with a series of intimate brunch catch ups throughout the year.
Taking the show on the road
Later in the year, I will also be catching up with a few of my favourite people over lunch. Starting with a blogging trip to Melbourne in May. More details on that coming soon. I honestly can’t wait to get this brunch and lunch is on me blogging gig on the road.
To celebrate the launch of Casing the Menu and food reviews returning to the blog I’m also hosting an Australia wide giveaway.
BRUNCH IS ON ME: If you would like to be treated to brunch, leave a comment below telling me about your favourite venue for brunch or your most unusual brunch food, to be in the running for a mystery brunch for two on me.
One Winner wins a mystery brunch for two on me (up to $50)
Must leave a comment here or on our Facebook page to be in the running
Australian Residents only
Game of skill
Entries close 28/3/15 at 9pm (Perth time)
Let’s talk about brunch baby… let’s talk about you and me…. let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that might be!