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If you are a restaurateur, your work will be reviewed online. It’s inevitable, even though it can feel invasive and rude. The best thing you can do is face the beast head on. This means actually asking your guests to review you and interacting with guests online.

A half-star improvement in average star rating makes it 49% more likely that a restaurant will fill all seats for the evening.

Web usability expert Jared M. Spool says that only one in 1,300 Amazon customers actually come back to the website to leave a review. So how are you expected to beat Amazon?

Here are 5 tips to help you get more positive reviews.

1. Own Your Profile On Review Sites

Be sure that you have claimed your business on Google, Yelp, and Opentable.

Then, make sure that users can see that you look at those sites by replying to reviews when necessary. Even a one-liner thank you note can go a long way. This way people will know that you are listening to your guests, and you also have an opportunity to gently respond to unfair comments. This will show you have personality, which is always appreciated. In fact, this response to an angry guest on Yelp was so well crafted that it got liked by over one million Facebook users!

restaurant yelp reviews


2. Actually Ask Your Guests For Reviews

Why would you ever ask your guests for online reviews? Here’s why: the more online reviews you get, the more your average rating will be a fair representation of your business.

For instance, if you have five 4-star reviews on yelp, and a cranky guest comes along and gives you a 1-star review, your average will drop from 4 to 3.5. But if you have twenty 4-star reviews, and the same cranky guest gives you a 1-star review, your new average will be 3.85, which Yelp will round up to 4. Having many reviews will protect you from the occasional bad review, so asking your guests to review you will help you maintain a good online presence.

3. Leverage Your Repeat Guests

The clearest sign of a happy guest is when they come back. With this in mind, getting your repeat guests to leave a review online is a foolproof way of getting better online reviews.

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These people are guaranteed to have positive things to say about your restaurant, and their feedback will be very valuable to you as well. By learning why repeat guests come back you can adjust your business practices to increase repeat business.

4. Make it Easy to Leave a Review

On your website, in email, and incrementally on social networks like Twitter or Facebook, add the links to your profiles where people can leave reviews. You’re already appealing to people who have liked or followed your business, so you’re asking the right people.

5. Respond To Online Reviews

Whether the review is positive or negative, it’s important to respond positively. This shows guests you genuinely care about their business and your restaurant.

Pro Tip: Responding to a negative review positively will go a long way in enhancing the experience of the guest. You can choose to respond publicly or privately, but as long as you are diplomatic about it. Read more about how to respond to negative reviews.

More than half of your guests will check online reviews before choosing to dine with you. After their meal, nearly 100% of them will agree that the review was accurate. Your service is 5 stars, your restaurant menu is 5 stars, but when was the last time you actually received a review that rated you 5 stars?

If you’re scratching your head wondering A) What stars? or B) Where do I even find my online reviews? then our latest on-demand webinar is for you. If you’re nodding your head and thinking “I’ve got a 5 star rating on Yelp” then our latest on-demand webinar is still for you. Don’t believe me? Consider this…

Restaurant Review Statistics

Bright Local’s 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey found the following:

  • 65% of consumers have reviewed or recommended a local business using the Internet, including Facebook, Google, and Yelp.
  • 34% did so via word of mouth.
Takeaway: Online reviews are the new word of mouth.
  • 92% of consumers read online reviews, up from 88% in 2014.
  • 80% will trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Takeaway: Online reviews matter.
  • 60% have read online customer reviews for restaurants and cafes, more than any other type of business.
  • 47% said that reputations matters most for restaurants, cafes, doctors, and dentists, more than any other category.
Takeaway: Online reviews matter more for restaurants.
  • 68% say positive review make them trust a business more.
  • 40% form an opinion by reading just 1-3 reviews, up from 29% in 2014.
  • Star rating is the #1 factor used by consumers to judge a business.

Impact of 5 Star Reviews for Restaurats

Takeaway: Business reputations depend on what consumers say about them on the Internet.
  • 94% will only consider using a business with a 4 star rating.
  • 57% will consider using a business that has only a 3 star rating.
  • 13% will consider using a business that has a 1 or 2 star rating.
Takeaway: A 4-star rating should be the minimum goal for businesses.

What we’re getting at here is this: your restaurant reputation may just be more important than your menu. Surely you spent a lot of time strategizing about what your menu would look like. It’s time to give that same kind of attention to your reputation.

Learn How Upserve Can Help You Manage Online Reviews

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As part of Upserve’s family of more than 10,000 restaurants, The Chef is Restaurant Insider’s secret weapon in the kitchen. As a restaurant expert in all things marketing, menu building, management, training and more, restaurateurs trust The Chef and the award-winning Restaurant Insider to dish out the ingredients needed to make your business a sweet success.
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