How You Can Improve Your Restaurant's Profile With Online Reviews
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, many restaurants have been forced to shut down their dining rooms. With people being told to stay home in order to slow the spread of the virus, delivery and carryout orders are skyrocketing.
As more and more consumers are scrolling through their smartphones for their next meal, maintaining a strong online reputation for your restaurant has become more important than ever.
Online Reviews Have an Immediate Impact — Especially Today
Online reviews are one of the most powerful marketing tools restaurants have at their disposal. When selecting a restaurant to order from, most consumers don’t rely on the advice of professional food critics. Instead, people tend to gravitate toward popular review platforms such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.
The deciding factor between whether to order from one restaurant or another can be as simple as the number of ratings and reviews each establishment has garnered. Even a single raving review featured under a restaurant’s Yelp profile can be enough to sway a consumer’s decision in your favor.
With the outbreak of COVID-19, many people are opting for takeout and delivery services over at-home meal preparation, allowing them to avoid crowded grocery stores while supporting local small businesses. Making the most of the surge in takeout orders requires investing in your restaurant’s online presence.
A potential customer is much more likely to become a customer when they notice that a restaurant has a strong online reputation, whether that be for delicious food at a great value or for quick and reliable delivery times.
Online reviews for restaurants have long surpassed print advertisements and personal recommendations in the number of customers they attract. As the pandemic reaches its peak, the only remaining channel through which restaurants may interact with the majority of customers is through the web. A positive online presence is one of the ways in which your establishment can compensate for potential losses due to social distancing measures.
Here are some reliable methods you can use to boost your restaurant’s digital reputation.
1. Create an Online Presence for Your Restaurant
The first step of establishing an online presence is creating complete profiles for your restaurant on major review platforms. You don’t need to worry about each and every one of the hundreds of review sites there are on the web, but you should make sure that your bases are covered by having a profile for your restaurant on popular platforms such as the following:
- Google Local
Next, what you want to do is direct customers to these pages. If you haven’t already, creating a website or a blog on which your menu is available is a good idea. Having social media profiles for your restaurant, as well as an email newsletter, will allow you to link customers to your review profiles, increasing potential engagement.
Whether it be the homepage of your website or your restaurant’s Facebook profile, any one of these pages may be a potential customer’s first point of contact with your restaurant. Make sure that your business information — including your hours of operation, address, and phone number — is up-to-date and not conflicting across platforms.
You should also ensure that you update this information if the way you operate has changed due to COVID-19.
2. Ask for Feedback From Customers
Inviting your customers to provide feedback is a simple step that most restaurants don’t take. Asking for a review from a customer can be as effortless as a short note attached to a takeout box.
The trick is to encourage customers to be completely honest in their reviews. The note should mention that you are striving to improve their experience in any way you can. Customers understand the power of online reviews, so asking for only positive feedback will appear coercive and dishonest.
Invite your customers to share their thoughts, whether good or bad. Both positive and negative reviews are insightful — make sure to put that insight to good use. If customers are consistently praising certain dishes, consider highlighting them in your online menu, or integrating review excerpts into the text describing each dish.
If you notice a low response rate, think about adding a small incentive for their next order with you. It’s also a good idea to examine the process of posting a review from the customer’s perspective — the more unnecessarily complicated the process is, the less likely a customer will go through with it.
Another way to boost your response rate is to keep up with online compliments. If a customer mentions you in a tweet praising your excellent food or your impeccable service, follow up by thanking them and mentioning that you’d be grateful if they took a minute to post a review on Google, Yelp, or any other platform of your choice.
3. Follow Up With Every Review, Good or Bad
Every time a customer leaves a review, you have the opportunity to engage with them as the owner of the restaurant. Whether the review is positive or negative, this is a chance for you to remedy any issues — or to turn a satisfied customer into a repeat customer.
Let’s start with positive reviews. You might think that responding to negative reviews should be your priority, but investing a little extra time into following up with satisfied customers will leave them looking forward to ordering with you again. The extra time commitment is especially worth it if the reward is gaining valuable regulars.
Following up on a positive review is also a great opportunity to ask if you’d be able to quote someone’s experience elsewhere. Including highlights from reviews in online advertisements are an excellent way to showcase user-generated content. For example, you could create an Instagram post displaying a raving review while tagging the customer or mentioning their name in the caption.
Even the best restaurants get their fair share of negative reviews. When responding to a negative review, your aim should be to make it clear that you value their feedback and will take it on board to improve their next experience with you. Ignoring negative feedback and selectively responding to positive reviews is off-putting to customers.
When writing a response, make sure to include the customer’s own words or phrases to show that you’ve heard and understood them. This is especially important when following up on negative reviews.
Need help making the best of your restaurant’s online reviews? Contact CHI Real Estate by calling 647-347-9723 today to speak with an experienced restaurant real estate broker.
Please contact our team today if you’re interested in learning more. We are known as Toronto’s best restaurant brokers for a reason! Contact Us by calling 647-347-9723 if you have any questions at all.