Restaurant reputation management is one of the most important restaurant marketing tactics owners and marketers should include in their restaurant marketing strategy.
Effective restaurant reputation management is crucial for business success because, in today’s world, online ratings are very persuasive to customers, and restaurant owners need to ensure they receive an online rating that accurately represents their restaurant.
Opinions expressed in restaurant reviews on sites like Yelp, Google, Facebook, and TripAdvisor shape restaurant consumer purchasing decisions. So, restaurant marketers need to consider how they manage online reputation effectively on review websites to improve consumer perception of their restaurant when potential diners search for a place to eat and drink.
Many consumers are more likely to choose to dine at a restaurant with a high rating compared to one that has just been established or is low-rated.
According to Modern Restaurant Management, an increase of just one-star rating can give a business an approximate 5-9% increase in revenue. And an increase of just one-half star would likely fill your seats during peak business times.
They also reported that 34% of diners choose a restaurant based on peer review websites.
And 53% of 18-to-34- year-olds reported that online ratings and reviews factored into their dining decisions.
Correct restaurant reputation management practices will ensure a restaurant receives great scores on restaurant review websites and it also increases the credibility of the restaurant’s marketing campaigns.
According to Time.com, customers who have a realistic or ordinary experience at your place of business will typically not leave a customer review online.
Need More Ratings? Just Ask!
Ratings on popular online websites largely consist of 1’s and 5’s. This is because the motivation to leave an online review stems from a great experience or a terrible one.
So remember to ask your customers to give you a rating online. According to a BrightLocal Local Consumer Review Survey, 68 percent of consumer respondents actually left a local business review when asked to do so.
Also, a mixture of good and not-so-stellar ratings can appear more authentic to internet surfers, but you obviously want a lot more of the positive ones. When asking your patrons for ratings and reviews, look for those who:
- Are outwardly having a great time
- Are “regulars” at your location
- Dwelling longer than your average patrons
- Compliment your food or atmosphere
- Finished their entire meal
- Gave a large tip
These customers can become your best online advocates, so be on the lookout for them and don’t be afraid to ask for a rating or review.
Responding to Negative Rating and Reviews
To establish and maintain a positive restaurant reputation, it is important to respond to your ratings and reviews – both positive and negative. If restaurant owners and marketers do not respond to reviews, restaurant consumers might assume the restaurant does not truly care about its customers.
According to research conducted by BrightLocal, 78% of local business owners are tracking social media and online review sites in some way. Also, 90% of them said that customer feedback is important for company growth.
When responding to a negative review, always thank the customer for taking the time to give you the review.
Instead of approaching it with a negative mindset, think of it as something that can give you the ability to make your business better through negative feedback! Likewise, thanking them will show them – and everyone else who reads your response – that you truly care about your customers.
Obviously, you want to apologize for the issue that caused the bad review. Then offer to continue the conversation offline. Make sure to request this in the initial response. Offer your business email address or phone number. That will let the public know that you want to work with the customer to make things right.
Responding to Positive Ratings and Reviews
Many restaurant marketers will see a positive review online and think that they do not have to respond. However, restaurant marketing is about customer relationships, and you should respond just as quickly to positive reviews. This will keep the restaurant’s reputation in good standing with online restaurant rating sites and it can leave a lasting impression on your current and potential customers.
Again, thank them for spending the time to leave the review. Then, you want to describe your business or location. For example, you can include a sentence like, “As downtown’s oldest premier Italian restaurant…”
You can also use this opportunity to cleverly market your restaurant including some kind of marketing statement, such as how you provide a free drink or dessert for customers on their birthday. Make sure not to be too salesy or promotional.
Then, you can quickly engage the customer, asking them to visit again soon or to share the word with their friends.
By responding to both negative and positive reviews, you can positively increase your customer loyalty, new customer acquisition, and customer lifetime values.
Automate Everything with Bloom Intelligence
With Bloom, you can send messages directly to your customers via email asking them to rate you on Facebook, Google, or directly in the Bloom platform. The message also contains a link to contact you directly if they had a bad experience.
Any ratings and reviews received can be seen in one place on your Bloom platform. Likewise, you can easily spot trends and issues in the graphical user interface.