The Importance of Online Reviews for Restaurants & How to Get More
Would you like to turn your restaurant into a 5-star establishment? Then you need to encourage more positive reviews. Most customers nowadays check online reviews before they visit a restaurant. Let’s look at the importance of online reviews for restaurants and what you can do to get more.
The Importance of Online Reviews for Restaurants
Did you know that 94% of diners in the US are directly influenced by online reviews when deciding on a restaurant? The number is comparable in other countries, with France at 90%, Spain at 91%, and Italy at 93%.
And it’s not just that. The number of positive reviews your restaurant has is also relevant for how much people are willing to spend at your establishment.
31% of diners would pay more at an establishment with positive reviews. At the same time, 22% of customers wouldn’t purchase something from a business that has at least one negative review.
These numbers aren’t just coincidences. The importance of online reviews for restaurants has skyrocketed in recent years.
Doing your best to gather positive restaurant reviews as examples of your stellar service should be a priority for any restaurant owner. It’s how customers choose the places where they’ll extend their patronage.
If you’re not convinced just yet, let’s take a closer look at the concrete benefits of online reviews for restaurants.
1. Online reviews are an excellent marketing tool
Potential customers will always trust other customers over the brand itself. While your own promotional and advertising efforts will surely bring in new clients, there’s nothing better than the support of other customers who vouch for the quality of your products.
Think of online reviews as advertisements you don’t have to pay for. If you do your best to offer excellent customer service, the reviews will speak for themselves. Online reviews are now the equivalent of people recommending restaurants to their friends and family.
2. Reviews put your restaurant on the map
In this day and age, people mainly discover restaurants online. If they happen to stumble upon your restaurant and see that you have no reviews, they’re not going to risk a visit.
Not to mention that restaurants that no one talks about won’t stand out in Google’s eyes. This means they won’t make it to the first page where people can see them when they google restaurant reviews.
3. Positive reviews will boost your profits
According to professors Michael Anderson and Jeremy Magruder, economists at the University of California, Berkeley, a restaurant whose rating improved by half a star increased its bookings at peak dining hours from 30% to 49%.
The economists also ensured that there weren’t any changes in the quality of the food, its price, or the service, which means that the only reason the bookings increased was the online reviews.
4. You can shape and manage your online reputation
Keeping a close eye on your online reviews, replying to them as soon as possible, and encouraging people to leave you more will help you take control of how your restaurant is perceived online.
If you don’t reply to reviews, people will doubt your customer service skills. If you don’t claim your profile on restaurant review sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, someone else will take control of them and might damage your image.
Download our infographic on TripAdvisor restaurant statistics for data-driven tips on how to optimize your TripAdvisor profile.
5. You get to address negative reviews publicly
While you might prefer to keep negative reviews as far as possible from your other restaurant patrons, you can’t control that with online reviews. However, there is a silver lining.
If you take negative reviews seriously and do your best to solve the problem, other customers will see that, and you’ll get a gold star.
How to Get More Positive Online Reviews for Your Restaurant
Now that you’re aware of the importance of online reviews for restaurants, it’s time to learn what you can do as a restaurant owner to collect more positive reviews.
1. Enable online ordering
The more services you offer your customers, the more you increase the chances of getting good reviews. Since your focus is online reviews, allow customers to place food orders online and encourage them to leave you a review if they enjoyed the food.
2. Add your restaurant to the main review sites
Reviews portals like TripAdvisor and Yelp are extremely popular among customers looking for high-rated restaurants. If your restaurant isn’t on there, create a profile now. If you can find it already, claim the profile so you can edit it.
Once you gain access to your profiles, make sure to fill in all the information you can. The more you can share with users, the better. Add your website, online ordering page, address, contact information, opening hours, and photos of your food and restaurant.
Another important portal for restaurant reviews is Google My Business. Set it up so people who google your restaurant are greeted by all the information they could need at one glance. Google My Business reviews are among the first that people check since they’re so easy to find.
3. Ask for reviews directly
The easiest way to get restaurant reviews is to ask for them. You can do that on a variety of platforms:
- Your restaurant website. Add a call to action and create a page filled with positive reviews of your restaurant.
- Social media. Ask your followers for reviews.
- Email. Use your restaurant newsletter to ask for reviews.
- At your restaurant. Encourage dine-in customers to review your restaurant on tabletop flyers.
4. Share positive reviews on your website and social media
To encourage people to leave you a review, I recommend spotlighting some of the best reviews your restaurant has ever received. Ask for permission from the reviewers to post their feedback on your restaurant website and social media first.
If they agree, share positive reviews periodically with a link to where people can leave their own reviews if they want to. This strategy works in multiple ways because seeing positive reviews will also motivate others to give your restaurant a shot.
5. Create a QR code restaurant menu
Now more than ever, customers value safety when visiting their favorite restaurants. Taking all the necessary precautions against the spread of COVID19 will attract more positive reviews. One of these precautions is to replace your typical dine-in menu with a QR code one.
In the video below, we take you through the main steps of creating your very own contactless restaurant menu via QR code for free.
6. Offer small incentives
Would you leave a review of a product or service in exchange for a small discount or freebie? Many customers would. You can give them a little push with incentives like gift cards or vouchers, but be careful not to cross a line.
You can’t “bribe” your customers to leave you a good review with freebies. What they say in the review is up to them. The only thing you can do is incentivize them to take the time and write one, and then hope your service has spoken for itself by then and the review will be positive.
7. Reply to all reviews
Finally, what will encourage people to leave you more reviews is seeing how important they are for you. If you take the time to reply to all of them, good or bad, customers will take note of that and may help you out with another positive review.
The importance of online reviews for restaurants can’t be contested – reviews are the lifeblood of the restaurant industry. They make your restaurant stand out from the competition, raise engagement, and ultimately increase profits.
Follow the steps above to ensure you get more positive reviews and turn your business into a 5-star restaurant.