These days, restaurant owners have to worry about their reputation both on and offline. Social media has given every customer a way to broadcast their opinion, which means anyone can be a food critic. What is more, people listen to these reviews and make decisions based on them, too.
Customers turn to restaurant reviews when deciding where they’re going to eat. It’s been reported that 92% of customers read restaurant reviews (which is more than any other business type), 77% prefer customer reviews to critic reviews, and 33% would never eat at a restaurant below four stars. Clearly reviews matter!
So for all of you food enterprises, be mindful that your reviews— and the way you respond to them— can dictate whether or not customers will try your restaurant.
Social listening is the process of monitoring how users are talking about your restaurant on social media. It involves keeping tabs on who is mentioning you across all social channels. While Yelp is a popular spot for restaurant reviews, you should focus the bulk of your listening on Google. Most restaurant reviews are posted to Google My Business pages. Plus, anyone who types in your restaurant’s address will see your Google rating before they even see your menu. While we recommend making Google the center of your online listening strategy, Yelp and Facebook are also popular platforms for restaurant reviews and shouldn’t be completely ignored.
The easiest way to tackle social listening is by using software that automatically monitors comments and reviews. ReviewTrackers is a review-specific social listening software you can use to monitor reviews across multiple platforms. And if you’re on Twitter you can use Twitter’s Advanced Search feature to check any mentions of your business or brand.
If you’re not ready to invest in software, try making a schedule for checking reviews. The sooner you respond to reviews, the more likely the poster will be to engage with your reply. Google My Business notifies your page when a customer posts a review.
With that being said, try to check reviews as frequently as possible. You could check them each morning, or try pinpointing when reviews are usually posted and make that your daily check-in time.
Customers are 21% more likely to leave a review following a negative experience than after a positive one. Even when your customers are impressed with your restaurant, they may not think to leave a review. You don’t want your restaurant only to have negative thoughts because, more than likely, that’s not the attitude of most people who dine at your restaurant. So, you can’t leave it up to chance in securing those positive reviews.
Gathering as much information as possible about your restaurant’s reputation is important. You can find trends in your negative reviews that pinpoint areas for improvement, and positive reviews build your reputation and bring in new customers.
Because many customers don’t immediately think to post a positive review, it’s okay for you to ask them for one. There are many ways you can do this. Some restaurants leave a QR code on the table, prompting customers to scan and review. Another way to do this is by including a call-to-action on the receipt asking customers to write a review. You can even offer an incentive, like a coupon or a prize.
Negative reviews can leave a bad taste in your mouth, but they happen. No matter how bad they hurt, it’s best never to show emotion in your response. Thank the reviewer, by name, for their feedback, apologize for not meeting their expectations, assure them that this doesn’t happen often and that you’ll try to avoid it in the future. Next, tell them you’d love to make this right and provide a point of contact they can reach out to offline. This response will let the customer know you hear them and you care, and it will keep the conversation out of view from others.
Sure, you feel bad they didn’t have a good experience, but don’t overemphasize the apology in your response. Focus on your commitment to quality service and provide the next steps for the customer.
Reviews aren’t the only source of online feedback. You can get plenty of insight about your restaurant’s reputation right in your comments section on social media platforms.
PLANOLY makes comment management a piece of cake. On the Comments tab, you can see all of your comments and likes on your recent posts. You can star certain comments you need to reply to later. The ‘New’ tab shows all the comments you haven’t seen or responded to yet.
Best of all, you can even streamline the process by replying to comments right from the Comments tab in the PLANOLY dashboard.
If you’re a restaurant owner just now dipping your toe into the world of social media marketing, you’ll want to check out our Instagram marketing starter kit for food and beverage. It’s an all-in-one guide that shows you how to:
Access our free download to start building your strategy!