My Restaurant Rules may be the most successful new Australian reality
program on TV at the moment, significantly out-rating The Block and Big
Brother, but is the crucial voting system really fair?
A subscriber writes:

The program claims to have a special voting system that prevents bias towards the states with higher population.

I work for Telstra, and I know it is technically impossible for the
service provider, Legion Interactive, to know which states the SMS
votes originate from. They can’t even tell which network provider the
SMS is coming from, let alone which state. This is probably true for
the 1900 voting as well, but I can’t verify 100%.

Methinks this is worth further investigation and/or exposure.
Here is the relevant section from the My Restaurant Rules wesite terms and conditions:

“To ensure the elimination voting system is fair and takes into
consideration the variance in state populations, elimination voting
will be calculated by Legion based on the percentages rather than
absolute numbers.

“Votes for each state’s restaurant code up for
elimination (two restaurants will be nominated and up for elimination
each week) will be calculated as a percentage of the total vote for
each state up for elimination.

“Then Legion will take the percentages
received by the two restaurants up for elimination for every state and
calculate the average percentage across all states until each state’s
restaurant code up for elimination has a final total percentage Average
from all votes received across Australia.”

By way of exmaple only:

  • The elimination vote is between Brisbane and Adelaide
  • Restaurant code 4 (Brisbane) gets, say, 20% of NSW/ ACT, 10% of VIC/ TAS, 30% of QLD/ NT, 15% of SA and 10% of WA
  • Restaurant code 5 (Adelaide) gets, say 80% of NSW/ ACT, 90% of VIC/ TAS, 70% of QLD/ NT, 85% of SA and 90% of WA
  • Restaurant code 4’s average across all states is 85/ 500 = 17%
  • Restaurant code 5’s average across all states is 415/ 500 = 83%
  • In this scenario Restaurant 5 would stay



    Seven spindoctor Simon Francis responds

    We can assure you the voting in My Restaurant Rules isn’t rigged.

    If it were, why would the restaurant in the biggest city – with the
    largest TV audience – be the first to go? Somehow taking out a
    potential 1/2 million viewers from the program deliberately would run
    counter to every known move in programming.

    As for some “insider” at Telstra knowing how and what is a mystery. They don’t handle this sort of thing.

    The official techo answer from our techo-mates at Legion is as follows:

    The voting system for My Restaurant Rules is fair. It is not giving any one state an unfair advantage.

    With an unequal state based population around the country the voting
    system has been devised to ensure each restaurant has an equal
    opportunity of winning. There are separate SMS and 1900 numbers for
    each state.

    Voting numbers are so huge that to actually affect the vote one would
    have to make hundreds of thousands of votes to impact on the final
    decision. That is quite an investment.

    Fraud controls are in place to ensure integrity of calls (and the
    number) from phones and these will automatically be triggered if anyone
    attempted to spend several thousand dollars in calls in a bid to push a
    vote one way or the other, and under the terms and conditions of the
    competition they would be investigated.

    For more info on voting in My Restaurant Rules here.