As mentioned before, online reviews are one of the most important things for restaurants these days. The first thing that people do before visiting a restaurant is looking up their reviews, which is why one of our most basic marketing packages is the reputation management package. But, what do you do when you have no online reputation? Well, there are easy adjustments you can make in order to increase your customer reviews and gain an online reputation. I have listed 6 tips below, which I personally find the most effective for restaurant owners:
#1) Make it Easy
That is to say that give your customers a few different ways and options to review your restaurant through being on all the online review apps and platforms. Obviously, you can not and will not get a review if you haven’t taken the most important step before your customers, which is having an online identity and review option. Some of the food review apps that are trending these days are: Zomato, yelp, open table, google reviews, and yellow pages. Having an account on these platforms will not only initiate your online reputation process, but also gain you publicity, as you would then show up on the maps for these platforms.
#2) Just ask
As a foodie and regular restaurant goer, I find it intriguing and intimate when a server asks me to rate their restaurant. In fact, most customers will appreciate your need for their opinion and your honesty for asking their help. In many cases the customers simply forget to leave you a review, which is why asking them to would not only show your consideration, but also be a reminder for them. Lastly, being strategic about your asking is also important. For example, ask them what site they’d prefer to leave their review or even try to mention a site you’d prefer that they use, such as yelp (the most common and effective these days)
#3) Provide Review Incentives
As business owners, you know that nothing in life comes free nor easily. One way to motivate the customers you are asking for a review, is to offer a 10% discount on their next visit to the restaurants in return for the review they post online. A lot of businesses do this in order to encourage the customer, but this will also enable you to keep the customers that like your food coming back to your restaurant. Just like how loyalty programs work with the difference being that this way you get to know your customers and hear their opinions about their visit as well.
#4) Respond to your reviewers
One of the most ironic mistakes that restaurant owners make is not having a responsive online presence. Why is this ironic? Because your online profile can suffer greatly if you are not responsive to good/bad comments. In fact, most business and customer relations is now highly dependent on a business’ responsiveness on social media platforms. Through being responsive, you show your customers that you care and are present for their assistance. You should thank your reviewers at all times and make sure that you have acknowledged and appreciate their visit, especially in the case of bad reviews.
#5) Make it a part of your work-process
Another way to increase the number of reviews you have online is recognizing and assuring that your employees are on the same boat as you are and have the same goal. Inform your employees about the necessity to ask for reviews and how it can help the company’s future. Especially during training of the new employees, make sure that the trainees include asking for a review as a part of their daily routine for each visitor/group.