Written by: Gabby Bustos
As a restaurant owner, you might love reviews or you might hate them — but either way, ignoring them is not an option. Online reviews are a vital part of your restaurant’s well-being. In this post, I’m going to help you understand why responding to online reviews is important for your restaurant.
When choosing a restaurant to dine at, more and more people are relying on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google Reviews to help make their decision.
In today’s high-tech world, where people have their smartphones at their disposal for practically anything at any time, it only makes sense that folks will use the internet to decide where to eat. In fact, as of 2020, 93% of people say they read online reviews when deciding which restaurants to go to. If your restaurant’s review page has lots of negative comments, it may be on the chopping block. On the flip side, if your restaurant’s page is filled with compliments and praise, you might’ve just won yourself a new customer. No matter what side your restaurant falls on, you can help improve its appeal by responding to reviews.
Do you want the good news or the bad news? Let’s start with the negative reviews.
A one or two-star review accompanied by harsh comments can really hurt your restaurant. What makes these reviews all the more frustrating is sometimes this “feedback” isn’t even feedback at all. No matter what someone’s reasoning is for giving your restaurant a low rating, you have the chance to try and remedy the situation by simply communicating directly with the reviewer. By taking the time to respond to challenging reviews, you let the reviewer know that you care about what they have to say (even if it may have crushed your ego a little bit). By utilizing pathos in this way, you may have just persuaded the reviewer to update their rating and review.
As a small business owner, it’s important to communicate to reviewers that what they decide to put online has a direct impact on your livelihood. Remind them there is an actual person on the other side of the screen reading their words. Simply by making these people feel heard, regardless of what you truly feel about their comments, you have a good chance of getting them to rethink their rating and give your restaurant another chance. As 45% of consumers say, they are more likely to revisit a restaurant that responded to their challenging feedback. That’s a win!
Now for the good news: Positive reviews! While upbeat and beneficial for your business, they can’t be ignored either.
The customers who choose to leave four and five-star reviews should be thanked and acknowledged too! Not only is it the polite thing to do, but it is a chance to maintain a good reputation and build loyalty. Think of the times in which you’ve given someone a really nice compliment, and the receiver genuinely thanked you and told you how appreciative they were of your kind words. In these instances, you feel good inside. It’s just human nature. Well, the same phenomenon goes for online reviews.
By responding to positive reviews, you are letting the reviewer know, “I hear you and I appreciate you”. The feeling this gives customers will make them more inclined to return to your restaurant. We can say this with certainty as we’ve experienced this phenomenon many times in responding to reviews for our clients over the last 10 years! This starts the process of building loyal customers even outside of the restaurant. You can have amazing food and be as friendly as ever in-house, but when someone takes the time to write you a great review once they get home and you genuinely thank them for it, you’ve made it obvious to them you care. Showing them this warm appreciation (coupled with your amazing food and service, of course) is what will keep them coming back.
Overall, responding to reviews should always be a priority.
Responding to reviews can tremendously help your restaurant gain and maintain customer loyalty. Although it may seem minuscule in the grand scheme of owning a business, it can actually be one of your most powerful tools. And it all takes place online! There has to be some bonuses to these review sites, right?
Don’t let your restaurant fall behind — if responding to reviews isn’t something that you can fit into your schedule right now, let us do the work for you! Reach out to Social High Rise to learn more about our service so we can help you to always put your best foot forward online.
Did you know?
We've been managing social media accounts for restaurants since 2012. For almost a decade, we've partnered with restauranteurs who are serious about using social media to generate business. Whether you're a good fit for our service or not, let's schedule a call and we'll give you free personalized advice on how to improve your social media presence. Either way, you'll walk away from the call more confident about your ability to promote yourself online - completely for free.