Restaurant Reputation Management for a Thriving Business
In March 2020, the National Restaurant Association of the USA stated that Covid-19 and lockdown could result in a $225 billion loss for the industry.It’s hard to determine the exact loss the restaurant industry has suffered, but there’s no denying that it was major. You must have noticed that many small restaurants never reopened after the lockdown was lifted. Can we link the dots over here?
Yes, many restaurant operators were left with empty pockets and couldn’t restart from scratch. What’s left for the rest of the restaurants? Competition is still fierce, and like always, positive word of mouth (AKA social proof) and positive restaurant reviews are the driving force.
Contrary to what some owners think, a fancy design alone won’t help your restaurant win over customers. So what will contribute to a restaurant’s growth? Good food and reputation management.
What is Restaurant Reputation Management?
We can define reputation management as the process of building a brand image of your business and influencing people in choosing it over others.
A restaurant’s reputation directly influences the number of customers visiting them. As the internet has reached every corner of this world, people can search for everything online. Finding a restaurant in their area is easy; finding a good one is more difficult!
The majority of the customers trust business review sites because they’re based on real experiences. Adding your business to a review site is relatively easy, as even the roadside stalls can be found on Google. A burger stand with a 4-star rating attracts more customers and generates more revenue than a fancy restaurant with a 2-star rating. Regardless of how many reviews you have (or don’t) Finally, listing your restaurant online lets you claim your restaurant SEO, which is crucial to ensuring you appear in online searches.
How Customer Reviews Benefit your Business?
Determine your Revenue
If the ratio of positive to negative reviews is very high, more people will visit your restaurant, which will generate more revenue. Positive reviews multiply the boost to any new business, and the owners can get a fair idea of the monthly revenue in the opening week.
Identify the Problems
Nowadays, people have more opportunities to be straight-forward and vocal about their opinions. They won’t hesitate to point out undercooked steak and microwaved lasagna. From the theme of your restaurant to the waiter’s attitude, people will mention everything in their reviews. While some restaurant owners might not appreciate this kind of response, others are thankful to the customers for suggesting ideas that never struck them before.
You only need to consider those suggestions that are high in demand; others can be dealt with afterward. As the restaurants are reopening after a long time due to Covid-19, you should get carpet cleaning and dusting done before any customer complains about it. Don’t discount these measures, as they can add a star or two to your restaurant’s rating.
Decide Your Restaurant’s Fate
If your restaurant is getting a lot of low reviews, you might have to close it down. On the other hand, if your restaurant exudes a positive customer response, you might need to expand your business and open another franchise.
How does Restaurant Reputation Management Work?
Don’t worry! You might be thinking that there is a lot of science involved in it, but restaurant reputation management all about adapting good practices and monitoring reviews. Let me guide you through the steps involved in this process.
Aim for More Reviews
It’s obvious that everyone is going to search for good restaurants on Google, so you need to work hard on ranking your restaurant in Google searches. But how? To display your restaurant in top results, you first need to get more reviews.
Put your brain at work for this matter! You can offer a free drink for every customer who posts a review on Google. You can’t force the customers to write positive reviews; you should welcome all kinds of feedback. Well, a free drink might compensate for a bland burger, convincing the customer to write a good review.
Monitor the Reviews
Make sure that you invest time and money in restaurant social media marketing. People spend all day on social media sites, so it’s important to create your restaurant’s official pages on all the popular sites: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Now, your social media manager (if you have one) will monitor all the reviews posted on the internet and analyze some patterns. If most of the reviews are negative, you are doing something wrong and need to devise a new strategy.
Engage the Customers
You can’t turn a blind eye to the negative reviews; they will contribute the most to your restaurant’s growth. Don’t forget to reply to every review politely.
“The customer is always right.” Handling negative reviews is not easy, but you need to accept your fault whenever a customer submits a complaint and construct your replies accordingly. It’s a bad idea to argue with the customers because it directly affects your brand image. Always make it clear that you’re working to correct the stated problems. You can personally reach out to these customers and offer them a discount voucher to regain their trust.
Handling positive reviews is easier. Whenever a customer writes a positive review, you should sound energetic and friendly in your reply. Thank the customers for the reviews and tell them that you are looking forward to hosting them again.
LinkedIn will be of great use in managing your reputation on social media. You should update daily statuses, write content for your blog, and join a relevant group to get exposure. You can add customers to your mailing list and inform them about the new items on the menu and discount deals.
Final Thoughts on Restaurant Reputation Management
During the pandemic, all businesses have suffered huge losses, but it’s not the end of the world! We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, as many countries are getting back to normal. Luckily, restaurants are people’s need, not an option; it’s easier to have dinner at a nearby restaurant than to prepare a meal back at home.
Try to be open and forthright with your customers and make sure that everyone leaves your restaurant talking about the yummy food and great service.
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About the Author
Arslan Hassan is an electrical engineer with a passion for writing, designing, and anything tech-related. His educational background in the technical field has given him the edge to write on many topics. He occasionally writes blog articles for Dynamologic Solutions.