When deciding where to eat out, most customers consult online ratings to make the right choice for their needs. Online reviews are a powerful outlet for customers to voice their opinions on the restaurants they've eaten at. According to various studies, up to 84 percent of consumers trust ratings given by other customers just as much as they trust their own friends. Not only does this illustrate just how seriously people take online ratings, but it also shows how a well-written review can make a meaningful difference in the success of your restaurant business.
If the pressure of securing compelling online reviews is getting to you, don't stress. There are plenty of simple strategies for improving your restaurant rating, from building your online presence to utilizing restaurant analytics. Here are some easy tips to help you get started.
1. Build a Presence on Social Media
A strong social media presence for your restaurant is essential to building a following online. Some popular social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram, are also hotspots for online ratings. Google reviews are probably going to be where you will drive most of your traction, though. Once you make yourself known on these websites, you'll be one step closer to obtaining ratings from your most loyal customers.
Because Facebook, Google, and other top social media sites gain a lot of traffic, your rating will likely be seen by a larger group of people if you post them on these websites. To show your patrons that their opinions matter to you, be sure to actively like and reply to the comments they leave online. Interacting regularly with your customers can also help encourage others to voice their own thoughts and opinions on your restaurant.
2. Put Your Customers First
You already know that your customers are at the heart of what you do. But are you demonstrating your appreciation for them? To show your customers that they're your top priority, it's crucial to offer top-notch customer service. The more satisfied your patrons are after leaving your restaurant, the more likely they'll be to leave a positive review on your website or on social media.
High-quality customer service is about more than simply treating your customers well. This is a basic expectation that all restaurants should meet. If you're determined to go the extra mile, however, you need to do what most restaurants aren't willing to do. This means paying attention to details that are typically overlooked and anticipating the needs of your customers. In the event that something goes wrong, don't panic. If you make an effort to compensate your unsatisfied customer for their trouble, they'll be less likely to leave a scathing review online.
3. Make Use of Restaurant Analytics
When interpreted correctly, restaurant analytics can do wonders for the success of your business. The data you collect on your customers' behavior and interests can provide valuable insight into what they're looking for in a restaurant.
There are numerous ways to use restaurant metrics and analytics to your benefit. First, be sure to carefully analyze the behavior of your customers. Everything from the times of day they visit your restaurant to the frequency of their visits can be used to uncover important information about their habits. In addition, it's worth your time to pay attention to the popularity of the various dishes you serve. This will help give you an idea of what should you improve upon and what you should continue doing.
The more you utilize restaurant analytics, the happier your customers will ultimately be. This will increase your chances of receiving more positive online reviews on the whole.
4. Offer More Options to Customers
It's important to be adaptable, customers everywhere are expecting more online options from their favorite restaurants. Fortunately, there are numerous alternatives to conventional dining that restaurants can offer to their patrons, such as online ordering.
Offering online delivery options ensures that even on days when customers prefer to stay in, your restaurant remains their top choice. This adaptability not only enhances customer satisfaction but also boosts revenue streams, making it a win-win for both your restaurant and your customers.
To stay ahead of the competition as the restaurant industry continues to evolve, be sure to offer more options to your customers. This will ensure that their individual needs are met, which is crucial to improving your online rating.
5. Provide Excellent Customer Service
A happy customer means they are more likely to leave you a good review. This means providing excellent customer service and encouraging your wait staff to care for new customers and existing customers with attention to detail and care. If the customer has a good experience, they may consider leaving a good review if asked.
Accidents happen, and sometimes a table may slip through the cracks if the wait staff is extremely busy. They could be served the wrong dish or not be served in an appropriate amount of time. If for some reason, the customer received bad service and they report it to you as the owner or manager, offer them some form of compensation such as a gift card or free meal to make up for it so that they are less likely to leave and put up a bad rating on Yelp, a social network, or any other online platform.
6. Ask Happy Customers To Leave You A Rating
As the owner or restaurant manager, you should be circulating through tables during the day or evening to get direct customer feedback. If you find that they were pleased with their service, then ask them to visit your restaurant's Facebook page or Google My Business to leave you a rating. Even if it is just a 5-star recommendation with no details, that still helps to increase your overall rating. Ask them to review your dining room atmosphere, your new menu, or the service they received while they were there at your own restaurant.
If you are having trouble getting traction, then we recommend you offer an incentive. For example, ask them to show their review for an extra 10% on their bill.
If you have hundreds of good ratings, they can easily balance out the effect of any rare negative customer review that your restaurant may receive. If you get negative feedback, then take the time to investigate what happened and how your wait staff can avoid these errors in the future. While word of mouth is a great marketing strategy, you still need to have positive ratings online for everyone to see. The importance of online reviews is undeniable, especially in a world where everyone Googles everything and looks at search engine results to find your newest menu item.
7. Make It Easy To Leave You A Good Rating
An important thing to remember is if you want your customers to leave you a good rating, you have to make it easy for them to do that. They need to be able to find you quickly and put in their review. Remember, they are not getting anything out of it, so they are not likely to invest a lot of time in tracking down your online profiles. Consider giving them links to your Facebook, Yelp, Google, and other review-based platforms on your restaurant receipt or provide them with a card.
In that same vein, make sure you have claimed your profiles yourself. A successful restaurant will have many mentions across the internet. If you have profiles on these online review sites that you have not claimed, then that means you are not in control of your online presence or online reputation. An internet marketing specialist can employ their marketing efforts to help you track down these profiles and claim them as your own as a part of your overall marketing strategy.
8. Interact With Your Reviewers And Reply To All of Them
A good idea to follow is that for every review you get, you as the restaurant owner should reply to it. Even if it is just a star rating, reply and say thank you. Vary your responses as well so it does not look like a canned response. If a customer takes the time to leave a detailed review, comment back and point out some of the highlights of their review so you can show that you read it all. Interacting with your online ratings in a polite and pleasant manner is a great way to show that you care deeply about your own restaurant and is a good way to establish customer trust. This will help guide consumer behavior on your pages.
Do not reply in a contentious manner if you do receive a negative review. Instead, reply telling them that you apologize for the bad experience and ask if there is anything you can do to make it up to them. If a potential customer sees that you are combative in your responses to online reviews, they may be dissuaded to come to your restaurant.
9. Treat Your Employees Well And Let Customers See That
It's important to remember that not everyone who leaves you a review may be a customer and that sometimes, current and former employees also leave reviews on your online review sites. If an unhappy employee decides to leave a negative review, that could hurt your online reputation. Make sure everything in your own restaurant is operating under the guidelines of the labor department or Fair Labor Standards Act. For hostesses and busboys, consider offering a tip pool or tip credit as a perk.
Treating your employees with respect and fairness creates a positive work environment, which naturally translates to better customer service. When customers see staff members who are genuinely happy and motivated, it fosters trust and loyalty towards the establishment. Furthermore, a well-treated employee is more likely to go the extra mile, ensuring that customers have an exceptional dining experience.