Managing Negative Online Restaurant Reviews

In the restaurant business, the online reviews you get are as important as the food you serve. If your operation enjoys overwhelmingly positive reviews, it means more business and a bright future. If, on the other hand, online review sites are peppered with negative reviews of your establishment, you’re likely to have the opposite results.

Online reviews are that powerful. Why? Consumers put a great deal of weight on them. Among all businesses, reviews of restaurants are the most widely read.

With this in mind, the infographic below, How to Deal with Bad Online Reviews of Your Restaurant, belongs at the top of your reading list – whether you’re a restaurant owner, manager, or generally employed in the industry. The infographic highlights the influential power of reviews, how to minimize the damage of bad reviews, and also a few positive aspects of having your restaurant sliced and diced on a user review site.

Responding to negative reviews is the most important damage control technique a restaurant can employ. But although responding the right way can turn a negative into a positive, responding the wrong way will turn that negative into a vastly bigger negative.

 Use the infographic as a helpful guide for crafting your responses. Keeping in mind that potential customers will be scrutinizing your response just as carefully as the negative review itself, you must respond professionally, no matter how unfair or rude the review strikes you. This is why it’s a good idea to respond quickly to negative reviews — but not too quickly. Give yourself a chance to calm down, reflect on the underlying problem, and respond just as diplomatically as you would to a patron experiencing a problem right there at the table.

Of course, to respond properly to negative reviews, you must monitor review sites regularly so you can discover them. Assigning a person to spot-check review sites even on a weekly basis usually isn’t good enough or fast enough. Savvy restaurateurs monitor both major sites and local ones daily.

Remember: Customer problems never get better with age. A badly delayed response is sure to inflame the issue further, and give review site users the impression you either don’t care or don’t operate efficiently when it comes to acting on customer complaints. On the other hand, with a fast and professional response, you can win customers back and win over new customers that see yours as a responsive and committed business. For more insight, please continue reading below.

Author bio: Dana Krook is Content Marketing Specialist at TouchBistro, a POS solutions provider for restaurants. She focuses on sharing tips for and stories of restaurateurs turning their passion into success.

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