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How to Improve Your Online Restaurant Reputation

  • by: Allen Graves
  • On: 23, Sep 2020
10 min read

What is Restaurant Reputation Management?

Restaurant reputation management is the process of managing positive online reviews from your restaurants customers.

This includes first party surveys, responding to negative reviews, and proactively asking for positive online reviews.

Why Improving Your Restaurant Reputation is So Important

Ratings, reviews, and social media are becoming increasingly important to monitor and manage for restaurant owners and operators.

According to Modern Restaurant Management, an increase of just one star can give a business an approximate 5-9% increase in revenue.

And an increase of just one-half star would likely fill your seats during peak business times.

They also reported that 34% of diners choose a restaurant based on peer review websites.

And 53% of 18-to-34- year-old’s reported that online ratings and reviews factored into their dining decisions.

Your restaurant’s online reputation is critical for your business now more than ever.

Even if you provide the best customer experience, a poor restaurant reputation can wreak havoc on your bottom line.

Here are several best practices to improving and maintaining your restaurant reputation.

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Using Social Media to Improve Your Restaurant Reputation

Social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be very powerful tools to help improve your reputation.

Likewise, they can bring your reputation down if they are not managed correctly.

First, make sure that your entire company profile is completed on every platform you use. This includes website URL, address, and phone numbers.

Many times, a restaurant’s desired username is being used by another company. So, not only will a full profile tie your page to your website, it will let visitors know that it is your place of business.

Next, make sure that your header image and any images you post are positive, and include your logo or brand image.

On Instagram and Facebook, users look at images or videos before reading a post.

Feature images of people having fun at your restaurant. High definition images of menu items. Anything positive in nature can also help improve your restaurant reputation.

When posting, keep your brand voice consistent. Whatever brand image you want to convey, do so consistently. And don’t forget to use links to your restaurant website.

Finally, monitor your social media pages on a regular basis. If someone posts a negative comment, you don’t want it to sit there unanswered for too long.

Responding to negative posts and comments correctly can actually help improve your reputation because it shows visitors that you care about your customers.

Even the best restaurants will eventually run into a negative online review. It’s simply the nature of the internet.

Just remember that it is how you respond to the negative reviews that can either make you look like you genuinely care about your customers, or that you wouldn’t care if they ever came back.

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Online Ratings and Reviews Websites

Perhaps the most powerful outside influence on your restaurant reputation lies in the major online ratings and reviews websites.

These include Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp, and many others.

Whether good or bad, ratings and reviews provide priceless feedback you can use to improve your overall customer experience and reputation.

They allow you to recognize specific things that customers love, and those that need improvement.

Smart restaurant owners and operators are constantly monitoring their online ratings, reviews, and conversations about their business.

They understand that positive restaurant reviews not only generate a great deal of marketing power and social proof, but they contain hidden gems of information about your food, service and atmosphere.

It is real-time custom market research at its finest.

Improving Restaurant Ratings

If you’re not paying close attention to your online ratings and reviews, you are missing out on vital information that can help grow your business.

Likewise, if you’re not actively pushing those rating higher, you are leaving a lot of  money on the table.

Using a WiFi marketing and analytics platform like Bloom Intelligence, you can proactively increase the amount of positive ratings on the major online ratings websites, while decreasing the amount of negative ratings.

Customer ratings can help improve your restaurant reputation

Create a Ratings Feedback Loop

This is done by creating an automated ratings feedback loop. The idea is to catch a customer before they enter a poor rating on social media or ratings websites.

Here’s how it works.

When a visitor leaves your establishment, you can wait for a short period of time and send them a message asking for a rating.

When the rating is positive, you can respond with a thank you, and ask them to rate you online. Links to your online ratings pages should be included.

Or, when a visitor responds with a negative review, you can follow up with them with a sincere apology and an incentive for them to visit again to give your restaurant a valuable second chance.

You will grab the customer’s attention and offer some kind of resolution to their issue before they get to an online ratings website.

Then, when the customer returns, you can start the process again to make sure their experience improved.

If they know their issue is being addressed in a friendly and positive manner, they will most likely refrain from complaining online.

Over time, this will mitigate many negative reviews that would have been sitting online – damaging your reputation – for years to come.

By studying the ratings and reviews, you can find hidden trends or operational issues you were unaware of.

Perhaps a good portion of your lower ratings commented that they ordered a specific menu item. If so, you can address that item.

Or perhaps your great ratings mentioned a specific person on your wait staff. If so, perhaps you could make that server a trainer for your new employees. The opportunities are countless.

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Respond To All Reviews to Help Improve Your Restaurant Reputation

It is also very important that you respond to your reviews.

If the review is great, thank the reviewer and tell them you hope to see them again soon. If the review is positive, but not glowing, try to see if you can spot something that would have made their experience better.

Responding to negative reviews is also very important.

Your response to a negative review can actually influence and impress potential future customers.

Make sure to respond in a positive tone and provide an effective solution to the issues that caused the negativity.

This shows that you are actively listening to your customers and that you are committed to making things better. Again, make sure and take action to resolve the issue.

These are just a few examples of using customer reviews to make your customer experience better - the options are endless.

By monitoring and evaluating your online reviews and conversations, and then taking action based on them, you can keep your restaurant top-of-mind of your local consumers, build that five-star reputation, and watch your business grow.

The Bloom Intelligence WiFi marketing and customer intelligence hub can automate the entire feedback loop process for you.

Once the emails and campaign are created, all you have to do is sit back and watch the ratings begin coming in. Then, act on the reviews and watch your reputation improve.

Provide a Stellar Customer Experience

Train staff on how to improve your restaurant reputation

It goes without saying that great customer service, food, drink, and ambiance mean a lot to your restaurant’s reputation.

After all, if your service and products are not good, you will never develop an excellent reputation.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, customer sentiment has shifted greatly to overall restaurant cleanliness. According to a recent report from Black Box Intelligence:

  • One theme that continues to be top of mind for restaurant guests is cleanliness. Guest net sentiment for restaurant cleanliness has been increasing in recent months. Additionally, the overall percentage of restaurant ambiance mentions that center on cleanliness has been steadily increasing each month since April.
  • As guests started going back to dine-in at restaurants, a larger portion of the restaurant experience has been focused on safety and sanitation. And the good news is that as restaurant operators have had a chance to adapt to the new required heightened cleanliness protocols, the response from guests has been increasingly positive.

 

So, make sure your customers know what you are doing to help keep them, and your staff, safe.

Grow Your Business with Bloom Intelligence

This is just one example of how to improve your restaurant reputation using a WiFi marketing and analytics platform.

The opportunities are endless, and you can get this data for pennies-on-the-dollar compared to other data collection methods.

If you would like to see more examples and how Bloom’s WiFi marketing and customer intelligence hub can help you grow your business and improve your restaurant reputation, call us at 727-877-8181 or click to schedule a demo online.

In today’s competitive environment, we can give you the competitive edge for success! Let us show you how.

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