Customer reviews can be the cornerstone of a restaurant’s success or the downfall of its reputation. With 94% of U.S. diners claiming they’re influenced by online restaurant reviews, it’s important for restaurant owners to understand how to best manage, respond, and showcase their establishment’s reviews. This type of feedback can help to bring consumer pain points to light, providing you with insight on areas of your business that can be improved. By leveraging this data, restaurant operators can continually optimize their business processes and the customer experience, which in turn can positively affect revenue and your restaurant’s reputation.
Popular review sites
We’ve assembled a list of the most widely used restaurant review sites to help you get started building and monitoring your restaurant’s online reputation.
One of the most widespread restaurant review and reputation management sites, Yelp is a go-to site for foodies to vet a restaurant prior to dining. Most reviews on Yelp are for restaurants and it boasts 142 million monthly users. It’s important to claim your business listing on Yelp so that you can respond to reviews and maintain customer engagement.
Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to promote your business through Google. It showcases your restaurant’s basic information as well as your Google restaurant reviews when anyone searches for your restaurant or for restaurants in your area. Google accounts for 76% of all global internet searches, making it the world’s leading search engine. It’s critical that the information you populate on your Google My Business page is accurate, so that local patrons searching for your spot can easily find it.
Functioning as an online review site and reservation service, OpenTable is one of the most popular sites people use to book a table. OpenTable features more than 60,000 restaurants worldwide, meaning it’s imperative that your restaurant’s reviews are topnotch, since eager diners can quickly discover other dining options on the site.
Although you may think that TripAdvisor is only used to find restaurants when traveling out of town, many people will be served up TripAdvisor restaurant reviews when searching for local places to eat as well. The site also allows visitors to book reservations. It’s a good idea to claim your business on TripAdvisor and ensure all information, images, and links are correct to attract both local and visiting guests.
Formerly known as Urbanspoon, Zomato is a frequently used restaurant review site. The site features reviews from customers, food critics, and bloggers. Zomato users can search for restaurants, read and write reviews, view and upload photos, order food delivery, and book a table on the website. Restaurant partners of Zomato can access industry-specific marketing tools that help them to better understand and engage customers.
Rewards Network members have generated over 20 million reviews at participating restaurants. Rewards Network ensures that all reviews are from actual customers prior to publishing reviews online. Customers tend to review their restaurant experience immediately after they dine since they may receive rewards for doing so. Restaurant owners are also able to reply to customer comments directly from their restaurant dashboard.
Third-party delivery platforms
Many third-party delivery platforms allow customers to leave reviews about restaurants. If your restaurant uses well-known delivery services such as GrubHub, Postmates, Doordash, UberEats, or Seamless, it’s important to monitor what customers are saying (both positive and negative) about your establishment. If unfavorable reviews begin to pile up on these sites it can adversely affect your revenue.
Managing your restaurant’s reviews
Regularly monitoring and managing your restaurant’s reviews is crucial because 84% of people trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. It’s completely up to your discretion if you want to respond to a customer’s review/comment. However, experts in the industry do recommend publicly addressing negative reviews in a timely manner to show ownership and transparency. Acknowledging the customer’s feelings and clearly communicating that providing them with the best guest experience is your top priority, can go a long way. Possible solutions to negative reviews may include asking the customer for feedback, comping their meal, or guaranteeing this issue will not arise again. Restaurant owners are also encouraged to respond to positive guest reviews to illustrate that their establishment is paying attention to their customers’ thoughts—responding with a simple “Thank you” works just fine. Your customers are the lifeblood of your restaurant, and their feedback can offer valuable insight into your business.
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