When it comes to choosing where to dine next, checking online restaurant reviews is usually the first step for many people. That’s why, for better or for worse, online reviews have a crucial and immediate impact on your restaurant.
Reviews help guests to narrow down their choice, so if you’re a restaurant owner you better keep reading.
Why are online restaurant reviews important?
Did you know that 88% of customers base their purchasing decisions on online reviews? That’s quite a number. What’s even more important is the fact that people tend to read online restaurant reviews over any other type of business reviews.
At first, that might sound strange, but if you think about it, it actually makes sense. Restaurants and cafes are types of businesses that get more customer visits than any other places such as retail stores or shops. People are visiting them for a quick break, family gatherings, celebrations, business meetings, or tourist visits. If we add the fact that restaurants are everywhere, it’s completely understandable why people heavily rely on online restaurant reviews to make a final decision. Thus, having a bad online reputation can seriously affect your business.
Your restaurant needs a plan for its reputation management. Instead of just repairing the damage when a negative review arrives, we advise you to take a proactive approach.
Here's how you can do it.
Set the right strategy
The beginning can often be challenging because you find yourself in front of many unknowns. Here are some tips to get you started:
Getting listed on review websites
We already know what your first question is. How do I know which sites are important when there are so many? That’s true, but based on the data obtained by various online research, that choice can be narrowed down to 4:
Besides these 4, people often tend to check Facebook and Yellowpages, so you can keep them in mind when planning your strategy.
It is not surprising that these very platforms got their place on the list. Google is the most recognized search engine in the world, and the feature related to Google reviews is so developed that it rightly appears among the first search results. We have already talked about how critical Google reviews are in previous posts, so make sure to check them out.
Also, as we have already mentioned, it is often tourists who search for restaurants and cafes, so it is not surprising that they rely on Tripadvisor or reviews on social networks.
It really doesn’t take much than 10-15 minutes to create an account on these platforms, and the benefits for your business can be huge.
Responding to reviews
Everyone wants only the best reviews, but you have to accept the fact that no matter how well you do your job, every now and then you will get some negative comments. Responding to positive reviews is often not a concern of business owners, but the problem arises with negative comments.
There are a few things you should never do:
- Never delete negative comments
- Do not leave negative reviews unanswered
- Don't try to prove the customer wrong (even if that's true, the customer is probably pretty angry, so you won't have much success)
Instead, it would be wise to do the following:
- Check with your employees if they are aware of the situation
- Offer an apology, and if there has been a misunderstanding, politely divert attention
- Offer to continue the communication offline - talk to the dissatisfied guest by phone or email and try to find a common solution
Checking the star rating
Online restaurant reviews are important, but be aware that not all the customers have time or patience to read each and every review. Some of them first check the star rating. If the restaurant has a low star rating, they won’t even bother to read the reviews. Research is done by
Harvard Business School claims that increasing your star rating by only 1 star can lead to up to a 9% increase in revenue!
How to get more reviews for your restaurant?
So, now that you know why online restaurant reviews are important, let’s see what you can do to get more of them.
Improve your profile
Your profile represents your business - whether it's a website, social network, or Google business profile. This is the first thing that future guests encounter when they start looking for online restaurant reviews. Unfortunately, it is not enough for your profile to contain only basic information about your location and your working hours. Of course, it is very important that this information is correct, but visitors are interested in much more.
Make sure to specify what type of cuisine you offer. If you can display the menu at the same time, even better! Also, guests are often interested in the type of service you offer - is there a take-out option, delivery, etc?
Collect more reviews with review management software
Monitoring and responding to every comment is an extremely demanding job that requires a lot of time. This is especially true if you have a large business, or are present on numerous platforms. What can help you in managing online restaurant reviews is review management software. Such tools help you take care of your online presence more easily, notice reviews on different platforms and even respond to them.
Using the power of social media
Today, everything happens on social media platforms. It is absolutely necessary that you have a profile on at least one of the social networks. There you can also share a link to your website or Google reviews and thus invite guests to leave a review. Also, tagging is very popular, so feel free to share any of the posts where guests have mentioned you. It increases brand awareness, and at the same time serves as a signal to other, future guests.
Building a strong online presence requires a lot of time and effort. A very important part of that is online reviews. If you have a business that largely depends on its reputation on the Internet, you cannot afford not to take into account reviews. In the case of restaurants, this comes to the fore.
We hope these tips will help you improve your online strategy even more. If you are already applying some of the above, please feel free to write us your experiences.