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About Confidentials

Who we are and what we do

Confidentials is a small, independent publisher in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds which grew out of a passion for championing the food and drink scene in the North West. Our content covers restaurants, bars, things to do, culture, lifestyle and news.

It reflects what we care about personally, as people living and working in the North, and it reflects what our readers care about. They're our first priority and their loyalty means a lot to us. Our aim is to give them content that informs, educates, entertains (and irritates). And most importantly, that they can trust.

We employ 30 people here in the North West and we rely entirely on advertising income to pay their wages. Our advertisers are vital to keeping us going as a business. They support us and we support them — we work really hard to help them succeed.

See who we are on our Meet the Team page. Want to join us? See our careers page.

Why do people advertise with us? Because we have a real enthusiasm for helping the food and drink industry grow in our region, whether we're working with a small family-run business (just like us) or a national chain.

Who we're not and what we don't do

Confidentials is unashamedly commercial; we wouldn't survive otherwise. But there are certain lines we will not cross.

Our sales people don't bully businesses into advertising with us by threatening negative coverage. 

And no restaurant can pay for a positive review either by cash or free food and drink. Our sales people have no influence over our content. Sales and editorial teams are entirely separate. Paid-for content (aka advertising) is labelled 'sponsored'.

Our writers’ opinions are solely their own, and are based on their true experience and knowledge of the subject. Confidentials is not 'Gordo' or 'Sleuth' or any other persona adopted by a writer. 

Confidentials is the people who work here day-to-day; professionals who act with integrity, who treat people fairly, and who care about how they're perceived in their city, and in particular by the food and drink community they work within.

We only advertise products and services that we would want to buy and we never advertise gambling services or ambulance-chasing lawyers.



Do you get paid to write reviews?

No. Reviews are entirely independent and the opinions expressed are those of the writer alone. If an article is marked 'Sponsored', it's not a review. 'Sponsored' means it is content paid for by an advertiser but written by us.

Do you pay for the food in the restaurants you review?

Yes. We now publish the receipt underneath the review. 

Do you only write positive reviews for restaurants you want to advertise with you?

No. Our editorial team decides which restaurants to review, and the writer of the review has complete control over what they write. Our sales team are not involved in reviews at all.

Many of our experienced writers work independently, entirely away from the office environment, blissfully unaware of any commercial interest or not. The job of a respected reviewer is to offer a snapshot of their experience on the day, warts and all.

Why do you publish negative reviews — even if it will damage a new business? 

Because we want our readers to be able to trust our reviews. There's no point in us being here if we're not honest in what we write.

Do you accept invitations to review restaurants?

No. Our writers arrive unannounced, pay for their food, and give their own opinion of their experience.


Is it true that you mainly work with big corporate businesses and neglect small independents?

We work with businesses of all sizes. 

How do I know whether an article is editorial or paid-for content?

Paid-for content is marked as 'Sponsored'.

Do you bully people into advertising with you?

No. Our salespeople treat people with respect and we expect them to be treated with respect in return. 

Who have you helped in the North West?

Click here to have a look.

The Top 100

Do restaurants pay to be in the Top 100 Restaurants Guide?

No. You can't pay to be in it. The restaurants are chosen by our panel of judges.

Does Gordo choose the Top 100?

A panel of five food critics, including Gordo, staff writers, and freelance journalists, judge the Top 100. Restaurants are chosen on merit alone.

Other questions

Have you bought followers on social media?

No. People follow us because we inform, educate, entertain (and irritate) them.

Who benefits from the half-price vouchers sold on the Confidentials App?

Everyone benefits. We take the money from the vouchers as payment for advertising campaigns we run for the restaurant. It means we can pay our overheads, restaurants can advertise without having to pay us upfront, and readers can enjoy 50% off their bill.

Does Confidentials share the same views as Gordo?

We publish many different voices and opinions on Confidentials. Each writer’s opinions are solely their own. Gordo is not Confidentials. He's a persona used by Mark Garner, the founder of Confidentials, in his reviews and social media channels.