These days, reviews mean everything. Both new and established restaurants heavily rely on them for new customers. But does your restaurant have the time to respond to each and every review on Google, Yelp, FourSquare, OpenTable, Zomato, Trip Advisor, etc? In a 2018 survey from BrightLocal, “86% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses” and “89% of consumers read the businesses’ response to reviews.” Restaurants can no longer ignore online restaurant reputation management; it can mean the difference between a fully booked dining room or complete dissolution of the business.
5 Restaurant Reputation Management Tips
- Audit your online business listings.
- On which directories and review sites is your restaurant listed? Are there other, industry-specific or local platforms that you should be on?
- Have you claimed your listings so that you can manage them?
- Is the name, address, phone number, and hours of operation correct?
- Is your website linked?
- Do your listings display quality photos of your restaurant and your most popular dishes?
Make sure each of your listings is accurate and that your restaurant is listed on major restaurant directories.
- Complete your Google My Business listing in its entirety.
This is also a good time to highlight your restaurant offerings and unique items in the business description. Additionally, some listings allow you to select additional attributes like, women-led, veteran-led, handicap accessible, restrooms available, outdoor seating available. Do complete as much information as possible. You could potentially be losing sales by not filling out this information. Someone searching ‘restaurants with outdoor seating near me’ may not find you, but a nearby competitor.
- Solicit new reviews.
Formulate a strategy to gain additional reviews. Decide what works best for your restaurant. This could mean handing out a postcard with your unique Google Review link with the final bill, incorporating into an email marketing campaign,and/or sharing on your social media channels. Whatever you decide, start with your satisfied, repeat customers. Repeat customers are far more likely to provide a review since they value and enjoy your services.
- Respond to positive and negative reviews.
Today’s consumers are tech savvy. Studies show they read online reviews, use them to make their purchasing decisions, and also pay close attention to how businesses respond (or do not respond) to reviews. A restaurant needs to have someone actively monitoring and responding to online reviews across social media channels and online directories in a timely manner. Whether you have the resources internally to appoint 1-2 people or decide to hire a professional agency, don’t let this fall by the wayside.
- Evaluate customer experience.
Every restaurant should collect feedback from their customers to ensure the best customer experience. While 5-star reviews might get a new customer through the door, they won’t return if they receive a less than stellar experience. In addition to reading customer reviews, there are other methods to collect customer feedback.
- Survey. A brief customer survey sent via email will give you a pulse on the overall satisfaction of your customers and bring to light your restaurant’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Social listening. Social listening is the ability to gain consumer insights by tracking and analyzing conversations happening online, specific to your business. Not only does this tool allow you to understand what customers are saying, the data can also help you reach new potential customers.