articles

Restaurant management: Why restaurant reviews matter

October, 2020

Restaurant reviews and your restaurant

Are you incorporating your restaurant reviews into your customer experience management strategy? Customer Experience Management, defined as a holistic business strategy to acquire and retain customers, is essential to any business, particularly restaurants. Ideally your restaurant utilises a reputation management software to ensure that your guests’ experience in your restaurant matches their expectations.

If not, consider one of the following occasions—a birthday dinner, business lunch or family celebration is coming up and a potential customer need to find a good restaurant. What do they do? 

Sure, perhaps they can ask your friends or family for their personal recommendation, but studies show that more and more of us are turning to online restaurant reviews. In fact,

59.2% people read online reviews when choosing a restaurant (1). 

That’s right. Around 60% of your customers will first have read a review before selecting your restaurant. So if you haven’t already, place restaurant reviews in the center of your plan for customer experience management. 

Why is customer feedback so important for your eatery? 

In addition to the above statistic showing that over half of your guests will have read a review about your restaurant, you need restaurant reviews for your decision-making process.

A good restaurateur allows the customer to influence their next steps for the restaurant.

User-generated content such as feedback and ratings have become one of the most important value indicators for guests and can no longer be ignored in your customer experience management. 

If there are no reviews of your restaurant on the Internet, your restaurant will appear less prominently in online search queries—and as a result, fewer hungry guests will decide to dine with you. 

Where can I find restaurant reviews?

Restaurant reviews can be found on countless portals these days. From classic review portals like Yelp and TripAdvisor, to search engines like Google, to social media platforms like Facebook and delivery services such as Lieferheld and Lieferando.

However, most people looking for a restaurant in a particular city or neighbourhood will rely on Google for their first search. 

This is why it is so important to be listed as a company on Google. Setting up your Google My Business page should be step one in your customer experience management strategy playbook. 

It’s easy to set up and does most of the work for you. Information you add on your Google My Business page will appear immediately in Google search results and in Google Maps. 

This allows you to add your restaurant’s opening hours, phone number, website URL, photos and other information that you want your guests to have access to. Adding this information will instantly upgrade your customer experience management plan. 

Most importantly, within your Google My Business account is the function that allows your restaurant reviews and Google Star Ratings to be displayed directly in Google Maps or in the search results. 

How do I get more restaurant reviews?

Sad but true: restaurant reviews don’t fall from the sky (especially positive ones right?). 

People are more likely to report experiences that stuck in their minds as particularly positive or particularly negative. Average experiences aren’t worth mentioning for most. 

However, if you take the initiative in your customer experience management to ask your guests to share their experiences, studies show that 76% of them are likely to leave a review if asked (2). 

Engage with guests while they’re at your restaurant and also after they’ve gone with targeted restaurant software to snag more restaurant reviews. When you ask them about their customer experience, they immediately get the feeling that they and their opinions are valued.

It is important to take advantage of this effect for the sake of your restaurant’s customer experience management. There are several restaurant software tools within reputation management software today that make it easier for restaurants to actively ask their guests for reviews.

There are countless ways to get more restaurant reviews from your guests. 

  • Ask guests who make reservations online or over the phone for their telephone number
  • You can send them a review invitation via SMS after their visit. 
  • Have a tablet to give to guests after they finish a meal with a short questionnaire. 
  • Put a QR-code on your invoices, directing customers to a questionnaire.
  • In the midst of corona regulations, you can offer an opt-in box for loyalty options and discounts while you collect necessary customer data. 

See how in this article: Customer Data & Restaurants: Collect Data Digitally and Increase Engagement

Analyse restaurant reviews with reputation management software

Tip: Don’t neglect the analysis aspect of customer experience management. 

Use your collected feedback to see how a customer first discovers your restaurant, how they experienced your restaurant in terms of what they appreciate and what they feel is missing, and what they’re saying about that after they’ve left. In other words, look at the Voice of the Customer.

With a restaurant management software, you can get analytics diving into customer sentiment, trending topics, Net Promoter Score (NPS), how you’re comparing to your competitors and more. 

These tools of customer experience management enable you to tailor your offer even better to your target group.

Consequently, In the future you’ll receive even better restaurant reviews, improved visibility, more reservations and spontaneous walk-ins. And thus more sales. 

My digital customer experience with online restaurant ratings

In my own life, restaurant reviews have risen in importance. (Although I must admit, as I’m not a restaurant owner, I didn’t connect them to customer experience management until just now!)

Only yesterday I had spontaneously arranged to meet a friend for dinner. After a short text back and forth via WhatsApp, it was clear: Italian should be. 

“Find a restaurant, I trust you!” my friend wrote to me. And so it was, gulp, up to me to find the right restaurant for us. 

I immediately opened Google in my browser and started my search for “Italian Berlin Kreuzberg”. In a second window I purposefully opened Yelp and refined my search for a true Italian restaurant in Kreuzberg. 

Most of the restaurants that my Google search spit out I didn’t know about. And so I looked first at the star ratings. After that, I took a closer look at the three restaurants with the best star ratings, read their Google ratings and the reviews on Yelp. 

Then I made my decision and felt confident —it was backed up by countless restaurant reviews.

If the restaurant would’ve had a customer experience management that didn’t include a Google Business Account, it wouldn’t have had any reviews on the internet and therefore, no ranking on Google or Yelp. 

I would never have been able to choose its delicious pasta and wine…or have had that second glass of wine. 

The restaurant reviews brought the Italian restaurant more guests (thankfully including my friend and I), and thus, also brought in more sales. 

In Summary: Collecting restaurant reviews benefits you

Reviews belong in your Customer experience management because:

  • Increased internet visibility

           More ratings improve your ranking in popular search engines and on rating portals. 

  • Improved online reputation

          Remember: satisfied guests are more likely to happily answer a request for an
          evaluation. In this way, you increase positive reviews and thus climb the rankings.

  • More guests for your restaurant

          With the improved online visibility and reputation, more restaurant seekers will come
          across you and decide on your restaurant.

  • More sales

          More guests always mean more sales. If you also accept and implement their feedback, you’ll earn even                    more positive ratings in return.

Ready to take action to collect and manage more reviews with a solution that relieves you from as much of the manual work as possible?

Get a free demo of the restaurant software solution from Customer Alliance for restaurants without obligation. 

Schedule a free consultation

Sources:

    1. Online Reviews Study: Restaurants & Reviews 
    2. Bright Local: Local Consumer Review Survey

      This article has been translated from German.

Posted by