Engaging in the online world of customer feedback is essential to any restaurant’s marketing strategy. When consumers search for a restaurant, they will look at online reviews before making their restaurant choice. Consider these statistics:
- According to a survey by restaurant reservations company OpenTable, 60% of consumers read restaurant reviews before dining out.
- The National Restaurant Association describes reviews as the new word of mouth. Both positive and negative online reviews are an opportunity for restaurants to listen to the customer and improve their operations.
- Diners also check restaurant star ratings, with 1 in 3 saying they will not eat at a restaurant rated below four stars, according to a ReviewTrackers survey.
- According to a Berkeley study, a half-star rating improvement on Yelp makes a restaurant 30% to 49% more likely to be fully booked during peak dining times.
It is important to have the right tools to catch and respond to reviews in a timely manner before they become difficult to manage. When your restaurant receives negative reviews, respond and address specific issues. Regardless of star rating, show customers that you value their feedback by thanking them for their review.
Why Manage Reviews?
Reviews shape your restaurant’s reputation. What diners say online about a restaurant will matter to other diners, even if you are the best chef in the world. By managing reviews, you can more effectively protect your reputation and gain insights needed to improve it.
Reviews – even the negative ones – can be good for your business. They are a great way to recognize and modify operational inefficiencies. For example, diners might post reviews about long wait times—an issue that restaurant management may have otherwise missed.
With strategic online review management, you could also prevent your restaurant from wasting resources on areas that do not need improvement and focus instead on issues that affect the customer experience.
Reviews also help restaurants improve or modify menu items. In the restaurant industry, feedback is essential for improvement. By evaluating what customers are saying online, restaurants can get a better idea of what is and what isn’t working. You can also look for trends in your reviews to identify and highlight potential best-seller menu items, or remove menu items that miss the mark with diners.
Review management improves search visibility. According to a survey by marketing software company Moz, review signals—such as the quantity, velocity and diversity of reviews—are one of the most important factors that determine how a business will rank in local search results. By managing your reviews, your restaurant can be found more easily whenever potential customers search online.
In an age when diners can quickly become online critics, review management is a necessity. Improve the customer experience by listening to what diners are saying on online review sites.
Megan Wenzl is the Content Marketing Intern for ReviewTrackers, a review management and customer feedback platform designed to help companies efficiently monitor online reviews, manage brand reputation and enhance the customer experience in ways that make a positive impact on the bottom line.