A restaurant's collection of online reviews can have a significant impact on its bottom line. Ratings drive business, especially from consumers aged 18-34. A study from BrightLocal found that before visiting a business, 95 percent of people in this age group read reviews online first. Reviews are also highly popular for the overall market: 86 percent of all those surveyed said they consult online ratings beforehand.
Below are best practices for scoring more ratings online, such as proper listing information, leaving professional review responses, and making reviewing easy for customers.
Claim Your Local Listings
If your local business listing is incomplete or unclaimed, they are much more likely to lack reviews. Make sure all of your profile information is filled, such as online ordering website, hours of operation, phone number, photos, and other relevant information.
The main sites you should have for restaurant reviews are:
Bing Places (even though Bing pulls ratings from Yelp, Bing Search is used by Amazon's Alexa devices, so it's essential to have a complete listing)
TripAdvisor, if your restaurant is located in an area that's popular for tourism
Once updated and claimed, you should designate a manager or staff member to monitor these ratings regularly.
Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews
As the designated person monitors ratings, they can respond to new reviews or send them to a manager or owner for a personalized response. Responding to all reviews, not just the negative ones, is important to patrons. According to a survey by ReviewTrackers, 53 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to reviews, especially negative ones. However, the majority of reviews go unanswered, as 63 percent reported that a business never responded to a review.
When responding to reviews be sure to maintain professionalism, as the BrightLocal survey also found that 89 percent of users read business responses. Apologize for any errors, and offer to make it right by private message or by having the patron contact the restaurant to resolve the matter privately. If your restaurant needs mediation assistance, Menufy is available 24/7 at (913) 738-9399 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
If a review is irrelevant or offensive, many services like Yelp and Facebook allow you to report a review. However, you can't delete reviews you do not like. Rating sites remain impartial to provide the best overview of a business.
Once customers are in your restaurant, you can remind them to leave a review. Many services, like Yelp and TripAdvisor, offer free promotional materials to remind people to leave a review.
You can also ask for reviews at the bottom of receipts, on your website (with links to your online profiles at each site), or on a homemade sign that reminds customers how much you appreciate reviews.
Many businesses also create business card-sized reminders of where customers can leave reviews. Many times, a gentle reminder goes a long way. If your restaurant needs help with printing cards, schedule an appointment with a Menufy marketing specialist, email us at email@example.com, or call us at (913) 738-9399.
Hand Out Perks for Unbiased Reviews
Many restaurateurs also find it useful to offer perks to patrons who leave reviews, such as a free appetizer or dessert. This practice should be allowed by a review site's terms of service, providing that the restaurant discloses that reviews are from unbiased opinions. In other words, the customer will still receive a free perk even if they left a bad score.
Leave signage on your tables or ordering counters, informing guests of the promotion. You can also ask the wait staff, hosts, or bartenders to remind their tables in person as well. To redeem, patrons can show staff their phones to see the review.
Promote a request for reviews through your restaurant website, social media, or email. You can send customers a coupon to redeem their free perk once they provide you proof of their review (usually a link or screenshot).
Having a variety of reviews can grow trust in your restaurant, and inspire new customers to try your food. Following these steps can help increase online reviews, which can grow carryout or delivery orders, as well as the number of patrons dining in.