• Restaurant Marketing

Turning Bad Guest Ratings and Reviews Into Satisfied Guests

by: Allen Graves On: May 24, 2022
3 min read

In today’s consumer environment where everyone has instant access to the internet, it’s no secret that guest reviews and ratings are hugely important to any business, especially in the restaurant industry. These ratings can bring a wealth of valuable information to informed restaurant owners who understand how to respond to them.

Whether good or bad, the data you can gather from guest ratings and reviews can be put to good use, supporting the good and, more importantly, placing emphasis on resolving the bad.

Where to Find Guest Reviews and Ratings

There are several popular restaurant rating and review websites which can easily be found with a quick Google search. However, the overall ratings you find on these websites may not be entirely accurate.


According to Time.com, customer ratings are dominated by 5’s and 1’s and largely lack anything in the middle. This is due to the fact that most customers who are strongly compelled to leave a review either had an amazing experience, or a terrible one. Those who had a realistic or ordinary experience simply lack the motivation to leave any kind of review.

When it comes to making effective business decisions, it is smart to gather your customer ratings and reviews through your own channels. This is why it is so important to establish and maintain an open relationship with your customer base, through avenues like WiFi marketing, email newsletters or social media. These channels are extremely valuable to your business when it comes to gathering honest ratings you can trust. They come from those who are not simply determined to give you a 1 or a 5 based on a single experience.

What is the best part about this strategy? All you have to do is ask them for it. Then you can use the data to improve and maintain an overall positive customer experience.

According to a 2017 BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey, 68 percent of consumer respondents actually left a local business review when asked – with 74 percent of them having been asked. The study also showed that responding to these ratings and reviews is more important than ever.

How to Respond to Customer Ratings

A study by TNS NIPO researched over 2,000 negative online customer ratings and concluded that, overall 70 percent of complainants hope to receive a response, while just 38% receive one. According to TNS NIPO, the success of the response is determined by 3 factors:

  • The speed of the customer review response time
  • The quality of the solution provided to the customer
  • How the response is provided, and how genuine the response is perceived

In addition, the willingness of consumers to consequently recommend the brand again can be doubled (3.4 to 7.2) by combining these three factors effectively.

Based on these findings, it is important to stay on top of your customer ratings and respond to them quickly. How you respond is up to the restaurant manager or owner. But many offer a free appetizer or drink to get the customer back into the establishment. This gives them the chance to rectify any less-than-stellar experience.

Answer All Ratings Promptly and With TACT

When directly answering a poor rating or review, it is essential that the customer knows you are responding to them, and the response should convey an earnest, human message. If you succeed in opening a dialog with the customer, don’t hesitate to ask for constructive criticism and suggestions. This will deepen the engagement and can establish a stronger guest relationship.

Plus, many customers might provide great suggestions about different ways to do things, or new product ideas you could offer. By responding appropriately, customers recognize that you truly care about their business. Plus, they may become more loyal to you as a result. Through engagement with the customer, you can gather more data, ask for suggestions and actually increase customer loyalty. A negative can indeed turn into a win-win.

Restaurant managers and owners shouldn’t take negative customer reviews and ratings with a grain of salt. There’s so much you can do to turn them into satisfied, loyal customers.

Related Articles:

– Dealing with Poor Customer Reviews and Ratings

– Why Every Restaurant Should Care About Customer Ratings

– How To Get More Customer Reviews and Ratings

– Using Customer Reviews and Ratings to Improve Your Restaurant Business

Restaurant Marketing FAQs

What is Restaurant Marketing?

Restaurant marketing is the process of getting people to visit your restaurants. Restaurant marketing creates loyalty, provides data to research, analytics, and allows restaurants to gain a better understanding of their ideal customer profile. It utilizes all customer channels: guest WiFi, website, social, rating sites, mobile apps, email, text, and advertising.

Learn More About Restaurant Marketing Here

What is WiFi Marketing?

WiFi marketing is a marketing technique that uses guest WiFi to collect & clean customer data such as names, emails, phone numbers, customer behavior, and demographics. This data is used to personalize marketing campaigns to increase customer loyalty, build online reviews, and save at-risk customers. The performance of every campaign can be tracked down to the tangible ROI of a customer walking back in your door.

Learn More About WiFi Marketing Here

What is Restaurant Reputation Management?

Restaurant reputation management is the process for restaurants to manage customer feedback and creating systems to improve customer experiences, passively build positive online reviews, and save at-risk customers. It is a very important aspect of running a successful restaurant business.

Learn More About Restaurant Reputation Management Here

How Does Bloom Identify and Bring Back Lost Customers?

Bloom Intelligence uses machine learning to identify at-risk customers. When one is recognized, the system will send them a message with an incentive to get them to return and re-establish their visit pattern. Bloom users are seeing up to 37% of churning customers return.

Learn More About Saving At-Risk Customers Here


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