Restaurant ratings: how to improve them?

Seaside restaurant, coffee and shoptimizer stands at the table overlooking the sea

Learn how to improve your restaurant reviews!

Are you wondering if your restaurant reviews really matter?

In this article I answer these and other important questions!

More and more people are taking the time to leave restaurant reviews to warn the next customers. This is something that can be seen in all types of businesses, from eCommerce stores to the smallest stores in different cities around the world.

If you're here, you're probably concerned about that.

Today I'm going to talk to you about:

The importance of restaurant reviews.

How are online reviews affecting your restaurant?

And what steps you should take to improve your business' ratings.

If you have a few negative reviews on your business website or Google My Business page, don't worry - take action to improve them!

Finally, I would like to show you one more way to render your restaurant's online reviews harmless.

Let's get started!

Are reviews important to your restaurant?

So... are they important?

In short, yes, very much so.

In the old days, if you ran a restaurant, you had to wait for reviews in magazines and newspapers from critics who were treated like royalty.

Today this has gotten a lot worse - or better, if you think about it - because everyone who walks into your restaurant has an opinion about your service.

The complex part is that every customer at your restaurant is a critic and has the power to cast their opinion on your company's online reputation.

That may sound like a watered down version of the past.

Many reviews have less impact on your business because they are of lower quality compared to an expert opinion.

However, the truth is that everyone has an opinion, and that opinion is exactly what the customer behind them expects to hear.

Why is that? Because it is easier to identify with the opinion of someone who is in a similar situation to you.

And not the opinion of a renowned restaurant critic who might have a different perspective or motivation.

For example, what good is a review by a restaurant critic when you are looking for a family restaurant?

With that in mind, parents want to hear from other parents who are good or bad at their restaurant to know if it's a good choice for a family outing.

That's why every review left on your restaurant's website is important.

It can make all the difference if a certain type of customer, who may belong to your target group, does not prefer your restaurant.

How are online reviews affecting your restaurant?

Nowadays, most people who are looking for a restaurant do their research first on the Internet and are thus better informed about what to eat and where.

That doesn't mean your restaurant has to be perfect, but it does mean that you should put a little more effort into service and have an active policy for dealing with complaints.

Bad online reviews affect your business in many ways.

Don't worry about a single negative review - as long as you don't have more negative than positive reviews, there's nothing to worry about.

Here's what you can expect:

  • Bad reviews can reduce your restaurant's sales.
  • You can also lower online sales or takeout or delivery orders.
  • They can affect the flow of customers in your restaurant.
  • They can cause your restaurant to get a bad overall rating, which can only happen if you have a lot of negative reviews.
  • Your restaurant generally has a bad reputation. This can happen even if the negative reviews aren't 100% real.
  • They lure customers who want to take advantage of common service complaints to get something in return from you, even when they aren't.
  • Your profits will drop significantly.
  • Your restaurant is stagnant.
  • Degrade your search engine rankings because they affect local SEO.
  • If your restaurant has a lot of bad reviews, it will be difficult for the company to recover, which may result in your business having to go out of business.

Even though online sales or take-out and delivery are an important part of your revenue, it definitely won't help your restaurant.

Good online reviews have a very positive effect.

Of course, we've only talked about negative reviews so far - mainly because nobody is afraid of positive reviews. Here are their advantages:

  • Improved sales and profits.
  • More orders, more visitors to your business and more.
  • You can also attract customers who would otherwise not come to your restaurant.
  • You can use them in your marketing strategy to brag about your restaurant - a little bragging never hurts!
  • They can give your restaurant good visibility.
  • You can attract critics with a little more clout, like foodies, influencers and bloggers - the new breed of kings.

In general, it's good if your restaurant has good reviews.

However, too many positive reviews giving you a perfect online rating can look bad. You could buy reviews, remove negative comments to protect your reputation, and more.

But in the end you can't please everyone.

Steps to improve online reviews for your restaurant:

There are a number of things you can do to improve your restaurant's online reviews and reputation.

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Below are the steps you should take to achieve this in a systematic way and without making too many changes to your business processes.

  • Consider bad reviews to improve service.

The service in your restaurant is not perfect - no matter how you arrange it, it is impossible to create something that satisfies everyone.

But that doesn't mean you can't improve it enough to satisfy the majority of people in your target audience.

Because of this, you can use negative reviews to improve various aspects of your restaurant.

Here's what you should do:

  • Try to track similar negative reviews your restaurant receives.
  • Identify common issues in reviews. If a complaint repeats itself more than once, you should actively try to fix it.
  • After making improvements, be sure to leave a reply mentioning that you've fixed the issue.
  • Repeat with as many complaints as possible.
  • You can always improve your restaurant by considering bad reviews that make sense. There are some negative reviews from people complaining about things that don't make much sense -- like your buffet restaurant has poor table service.

In these cases, you have two options, which I will explain below.

Respond to each review.

shoptimizer Google Maps Review MyBusiness

Positive and negative ratings can be improved with a polite comment thanking them for the rating, whether it's good or bad.

Either way, and keeping the previous step in mind, both can help grow your restaurant.

In the event that you receive a negative review that doesn't make much sense to you or your restaurant, you have two options:

  • You can ignore it. If you respond to all other reviews and describe your restaurant well on the review site, people will understand the context and ignore the review.
  • Or you can point out the error. This is the better alternative because it helps you fix the way people understand your business.
  • You can also indicate in your business description that this specific issue does not apply to your restaurant.
  • Another example of this type of problem is when your restaurant caters to adults and someone complains that you don't have a good children's menu or that there isn't a good family atmosphere.

Anyhow, leaving a reply to each review gives you the benefit of making each person feel that their opinion is valued.

And also that you pay attention to constructive criticism and actively search for strategies to solve problems in your company.

  • Remind people to leave a review.

When you open a restaurant, positive reviews will have a positive effect on the flow of customers to your restaurant.

So it's always a good idea to remind people that you're featured on the major review sites in your area.

A good method is to use tools like the shoptimizer and bring the bill to the table without being asked. Thanks to the built-in NFC technology in the elegant wooden housing, visitors can easily submit a rating during their stay. All the guests have to do is hold their smartphone up to the device and they will then be forwarded directly to their rating page.

With the tool, you don't have to beg your guests for ratings too intrusively. Because they simply put it on the table and anyone who wants to give a rating can do so, and those who don't want to don't have to. It's the perfect and most unobtrusive way to get a review.

You will see that getting good ratings becomes child's play and this is also reflected in the sales and general success of your company.

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