Google is selling Zagat to restaurant review site The Infatuation

Doug Carpenter
March 7, 2018

7 years after acquiring the now 39-year-old restaurant review company Zagat, Google is offloading it onto The Infatuation, a young up-and-comer in the food review space that leverages branded hashtags and polished Instagram pictures to grow their readership. Since its founding by Tim and Nina Zagat in 1979 as a compilation of opinions about New York City restaurants by their own friends, Zagat has grown to become synonymous with restaurant reviews in cities across America and beyond.

Then Google bought the company - under the direction of Marissa Mayer, who went on to become Yahoo's chief executive - to integrate it into its mapping service. Google started shopping around the Zagat guide as parent company Alphabet began pruning its portfolio of non-core businesses, Reuters reported in January. In 2016, Google redesigned Zagat's website and published an app to provide suggestions based on a user's location and the time of day.

"Zagat has helped us provide useful and relevant dining results for users across our various products", Jen Fitzpatrick, a vice president of product and engineering at Google said in a statement. The company covers major cities in both the US and overseas, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Chicago, San Francisco, Austin, and Seattle. The site clearly believes there's value left in the Zagat brand, even as the business of online reviews has changed significantly in the seven years sinceGoogle picked it up.

The company had been rumored to be courting a buyer since early this year.

"We relate to audiences in a way that other entities aren't", Stang said. Nina Zagat, the former owner of Zagat said, "Tim and I are very excited for Zagat's next chapter with The Infatuation", she said.

The Infatuation did not disclose the amount of the impending purchase. Instead of looking to merge one brand into the other, The Infatuation says it plans to keep the brands distinct.

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