Have you checked your restaurant Yelp reviews lately? If so, have you received any bad reviews from any of your patrons or an unhappy ex-employee?
Current technology allows everyone to share their thoughts and experiences in real time, this means that we can all express openly our opinions about your restaurant for everybody to see... And it doesn't matter if such opinions are true/fair or not.
More and more, consumers tend to check reviews before they make the final decision of buying from any business, and that is not different for restaurants. According to research done by Pew Research Internet Project in 2010, 58% of Americans have researched a product or service online and 24% of American adults say they have posted comments or reviews online. Have in mind that this was done 2 years ago, numbers are certainly higher today.
What does this mean for my restaurant?
If you use Yelp for your restaurant marketing, you probably already know that the only way you can get rid of bad reviews is by flagging it, in which case Yelp would decided if it's inappropriate. But, what is inappropriate? Well, the easiest one is someone using the "F" word, another instance is if someone is aggressively attacking you or your restaurant. However, I'm sure you won't want to wait until Yelp makes a decision, so, the single best strategy is to make sure you and your restaurant staff are always providing the best service and food possible in your restaurant. This will increase your chances to get 5-star reviews more often. If you discover you're constantly getting 3 or 4-star reviews, then something is going on with your service and/or food, so make sure to check your operations in detail.
3 tips to bury your restaurant bad Yelp reviews:
Don't overreact with a bad Yelp review: The most common reaction to a bad review would be to respond defending ourselves and our restaurant. However, allowing your anger to take over your fingers while typing a response is not a good idea in any circumstance.
Understand what's going on: Negative feedback is not always bad. It actually might help you pinpoint real issues in your restaurant operations. It might be slow service, bad food, food price and quality vs. venue expectations, etc. Gather information from those posting the bad reviews, it will help you identify issues and, most importantly, it will give you brownie points with those angry customers as your actions will show that you actually care.
Promote your restaurant's Yelp page in all of your in-store marketing materials: You can easily tie this effort with your email campaigns.
Yelp is a great tool for promoting your restaurant, and, like any other business, your restaurant is not exempt of getting bad reviews every once in a while. However, you can differentiate your restaurant from all others by the way you react and manage those bad reviews.
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