I watch too much bar and restaurant rescue type shows. One guy said that about 60% of people check Yelp! or look at reviews before going to a new place.
I don't because all I care about usually is cleanliness and odor. The few times I have checked, it's just out of curiousity about places I am familiar with.
I get a chuckle when people hate our Culver's. They seem to expect fine dining or expect lower fast food prices. Hey! It's clean, has a diverse menu served quickly with a smile and usually well prepared with foods of a better quality than other fast food places. I love it for what it is.
Our middle dining local Italian restaurant serves only fresh food or prepared food that day (lasagna, soups), has large portions for the price and servers are well-trained. It's a little slow, but then again, it's never been over 25 minutes and has always been well presented. The reviews complained about the prices (same as Olive Garden, really), odd foods (well described on the menu), and slow service. The most complimentary comment was that the decor is nice. Our whole extended family loves it.
Another place is highly praised. I walked out after I tried to sit in three different (upholstered) chairs that were filthy - sticky and crusty. A quick glance indicated that most of the chairs were like that. We had been there several years ago and it was OK. I don't think they have ever shampooed the chairs and I shudder to think what that says about the back kitchen.
Sorry for so much detail, but I want to make may point, which really is, "Do you check reviews and go by them? I don't."