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How to stimulate positive restaurant reviews and respond to negative ones

Posted on 18/10/2021

Reviews will make or break a restaurant, but also not having enough reviews will make your business invisible. In this article we will look at the best ways of stimulating positive reviews and how to respond to those inevitable negative reviews!

The importance of a positive restaurant review and its influence should not be underestimated, reviews are all too visible across review sites, tripadvisor, google and social media, not to mention what's not so visible via word of mouth and whatsapp. Whether a customer decides to visit your restaurant for the first time will very much depend on what they have seen or heard about your restaurant. Many successful restaurant brands have been built solely on positive reviews and many have closed down owing to negative ones. Lets look at some of the things you can do to stimulate positive reviews;

Start building relationships with customers

If you're a new restaurant or even if an established one, relationships need to be built. Recognise your loyal customers; those that regularly book a table, order a takeaway or walk in. Give them a little something extra to reward their loyalty and invite them to leave a review online, they would be more than happy to oblige.

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Engage with positive reviews

Taking the time to respond to positive reviews with a personal note of thanks will make a world of difference. It shows that you care and will help build on relationships that could be talked about amongst the reviewers network of friends and family.    

Set up a review station on site

If it fits your restaurant why not leave a review station so that customers can leave a review right after they've eaten. They would be more inclined to leave a positive review after a positive experience going into detail whilst it's still fresh in their memory.  But remember any slip in food or service standards and this gives customers an opportunity for instant critique!

Re-post user generated content

Use your website and social channels to re-post the positive reviews and pictures from real customers, getting permission to do this. Use this to help build a community of fans that you can engage with to build your restaurant brand.

How to respond to negative reviews

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Inevitably you will get a negative review, you can't please everyone all the time.

- Act professional and take the higher ground, resist the temptation to enter into any sort of argument. Show the public how nice a person you are and what your business stands for.

- Take it offline, after answering online show the world you are addressing the issue, resolve the issue offline and once resolved mention this in the review thread.

- Unless the review is done out of malice take every review (even the positive ones) as opportunities to learn about what areas improvements can be made or if positive what you do particularly well so you can build on it on your social channels and menu development.

We hope you found this article useful, we're here to help your business grow. Make sure to check out the latest issue of Restaurant Talk /news/restaurant-talk-issue-8 and sign up to keep informed on innovative trends happening in our fabulous foodservice industry.

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