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A Guide to Reputation Management for Restaurants

Few types of businesses in the world come under more scrutiny than those in the restaurant industry.

Professional restaurant critics have been in existence for years, and their reviews are often held in high esteem by readers and restaurant insiders alike.

However, they’re not the only customers that restaurants need to go out of their way to impress these days: the average person can write and share reviews with the world with just a few clicks.

Online reviews have become a go-to source of information for those who are looking for their next place to eat and can significantly impact customer decisions.

If you want to be competitive as a restaurant owner, you need to keep a close eye on what people are saying about your business online.

Fortunately, you can do just that with the proper online reputation management techniques. In this article, we discuss restaurant reputation management and why it’s so important for brand reputation.

Why is Reputation Management So Important for Restaurants?

Reputation is everything in the restaurant business. Good food, ambiance, and customer service are a plus, but they often don’t mean much if your restaurant has a bad reputation.

After all, with so many restaurants providing a top-notch dining experience, why would a customer choose an establishment that consistently receives negative feedback? It’s not like they’re going to go hungry!

This is precisely why reputation management is so essential for restaurants.

By managing and monitoring what people are saying about you online, you can help minimize the impact of any negative reviews and help increase and even amplify the positive ones.

And since positive online reviews can be an excellent addition to your marketing strategy, you truly can’t have too many!

How to Get Started with Reputation Management for Restaurants

food ordering online concept

While you certainly can’t police the internet in its entirety, there are some things that you can do to start effectively managing your restaurant’s reputation. Consider trying some of the following strategies:

Maintain Your Website

Your website often provides potential customers with their first impression of your restaurant.

One survey found that roughly 77% of respondents visit a restaurant’s website before ordering food, whether for dine-in, take-out, or delivery.

More than that, about 68% said they chose not to visit a restaurant precisely because of its website.

Some claimed they found the website difficult to navigate, others had difficulty reading the menu, and some were turned off because it was old or outdated.

Ensuring your website is always up-to-date and easy to use will make an excellent first impression on your prospective customers.

Claim Your Google Business Profile and Listing

While there are other search engines, everyone knows that Google is king. That’s why claiming or creating your Google Business Profile and listing is essential.

This is often the first thing people will see when they search for your restaurant online, so it’s crucial to ensure it’s accurate and up-to-date with the latest information.

Respond to Reviews

One of the most important things you can do from your Google Business profile responds to Google reviews of your restaurant.

Yes, even the negative ones! You’ll want to avoid flying off the handle, though – as tempting as it may be, it will not look good for your business.

It may even be more damaging than the feedback itself.

While a negative review can be upsetting, it’s crucial to avoid these mistakes when responding to bad reviews.

Many people recognize that the restaurant industry is busy and stressful, so they’re just looking for some understanding and perhaps even a promise to do better in the future.

This shows that you genuinely care about everyone’s experiences with your business and can help build trust with current and potential customers.

Encourage Positive Reviews

women rating restaurant food

If you want to try and avoid dealing with negative reviews as much as possible, you may not want to go out of your way to ask for them from unsatisfied or demanding customers.

Instead, focus on the positive. If you have a delighted customer on your hands, encourage them to leave an online review. This doesn’t mean bribing satisfied customers in any way – that would be unethical.

Ask if they wouldn’t mind sharing their customer experience by leaving a review.

Some people don’t realize the importance of online reviews for restaurants, so it helps to ask directly.

A great way to help encourage people to leave reviews is to make the process as easy as possible.

For example, you could consider including a QR code on your menu with a direct link to leave a review for your restaurant. The easier it is to leave feedback, the more likely people will do it.

Use Reviews to Your Advantage

If your restaurant has received some reviews that you’re particularly proud of, why not share them with others? There are many effective ways to use reviews in your marketing strategy.

You can do everything from sharing them on social media to featuring them prominently on your website.

Potential customers will likely be looking for reviews of your restaurant anyway, so why not give them a taste of some of the better ones?

The Bottom Line

If you want to attract new customers and keep old ones returning for more, you must do what you can to manage your restaurant’s online reputation.

However, the restaurant industry is notoriously busy, so it cannot be easy to stay on top of everything you need to do to succeed. Fortunately, there are services like Review Rabbit.

We do the review work for you by creating and implementing an outreach campaign to get your restaurant more reviews. Learn more about our service, and start taking control of your online reputation today!