Google under the guidance of Marissa Mayer in 2011 purchased dining ratings company Zagat for $151 million. It was a rare miss as the platform never really flourished under Google’s ownership, arguably due to the fact that Mayer – then Vice President of Local, Maps and Location Services at Google – left her position less than a year later to lead Yahoo.
Now, Google is passing the platform on to its next owner, an upstart restaurant review company called The Infatuation. Financial terms of today’s deal were not mentioned.
Chris Stang, co-founder and CEO of The Infatuation, notes that iconic brands don’t become available very often, adding that Zagat is about as iconic as it gets. It is the perfect complement to what they have been building at The Infatuation, Stang said.
The Infatuation was conceived in 2009 as a way to help friends find the best restaurants. Similarly, Zagat was founded in 1979 by Tim and Nina Zagat as a revolutionary guide for user-generated restaurant reviews. The brand became a leader in the hospitality industry in the ‘80s and ‘90s before stepping into the digital age.
Moving forward, The Infatuation and Zagat will operate as two distinct brands, each with their own platform and distinct purposes and points of view. The Infatuation will maintain its editorial-first focus while Zagat will expand user reviews and develop a tech-driven platform to serve as an alternative to other crowdsourced restaurant reviews.
Lead image courtesy Michael Falco, The New York Times