Contributors to gastro "bible" revealed in digital makeover

For the first time in its 31-year history, the
Zagat Survey - also known as the gastronomic "burgundy bible" - will reveal the people behind the reviews.

It's just one of several new features of the guide's revamped website that was unveiled Tuesday. As the world's first provider of user-generated restaurant information, the Zagat Survey is produced by a small army of 350,000 diners and consumers from a hundred different countries.

In addition to linking quotes and reviews to member profiles, the site has added a new badge system that rewards active members for being "First on the Scene," a "Good Neighbor" or for being just plain "Witty."

If the feature sounds familar, that's because it's a page taken from the location-based mobile application Foursquare. The partnership, struck last year between the two services, also allows Foursquare users to unlock "Foodie" badges when they check into Zagat-rated restaurants in major US cities.

Other features of the new website include enhanced search tools like interactive maps that allow diners to search restaurants in a particular neighborhood; statistics that rank restaurants in categories of cuisine and neighborhood; links to third-party reviews; and best of lists.

Zagat's digital makeover could be considered a late attempt to join the slew of user-generated review websites which currently dominate the web. Contributors on the global site yelp.com, for example, have posted 15 million reviews about everything from their dining experience, spa treatment and medical services since the site launched in 2004.

Visit the new site here: http://www.zagat.com/

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