A Guide to Restaurant Reputation Management

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Any business wants to make sure that they are getting excellent feedback from customers and, in turn, have an excellent reputation. This is doubly important for the restaurant scene, because it’s not just the food that’s critical and will draw in customers, but also the quality of service, the ambiance, and simply put, the entire experience of being in the restaurant that will affect someone’s opinion about it. Whether it’s on a busy weekend packed with diners, or a slow morning with just a few people coming in for coffee, restaurants will always want to bring their best to the customer, and make sure everyone else who hears about their place will have a good opinion of it.

The best way is to manage a restaurant’s image to make sure that the general opinion on them is positive and that they are a friendly and welcoming establishment. Right now, while the pandemic is still around, it’s crucial for restaurant owners to have a good reputation, especially online. Here are some tips offered by restaurant reputation management experts, that restaurants both old and new can use, to make sure that their establishment is well-regarded by anyone who’s coming across it.

Things to Consider for a Good Reputation

Here are some steps you may take for your restaurant business.

  1. Online reviews

One of the biggest factors affecting a restaurant’s, and indeed – any establishment’s – reputation are online reviews. Customers often leave feedback on social media pages, talking about their dining experiences, to give others who might want to visit the place an idea of the quality of its service. It becomes crucial, then, to constantly look at customer reviews and study what they’re saying about the restaurant: how they like the food, what can be improved with regard to the menu, and how the general service was. 

These reviews can act as a springboard for what can be done to improve services and operations, as well as to know the strengths of that particular establishment. Positive reviews are especially crucial because, according to Small Biz Trends, 94% of users rely on online reviews to choose which restaurants to go to. This means that any place with a low average star rating – 3 and below – will have a more difficult time to get customers. That means, then, that looking at and acting on online feedback to get better star ratings will help boost a restaurant’s image.

  1. Use of social media

Going hand in hand with looking at customer feedback is responding to them through social media. Actively engaging with user feedback is a sign that the establishment is always happy to engage with their customers and respond to their comments. Leaving thanks for a positive review, for instance, can help make a customer feel appreciated and drive home the establishment’s welcoming atmosphere. What’s more important is responding to negative reviews, because this is where the restaurant can figure out what to improve on. 

In cases like these, being professional and acknowledging the customer’s grievances are crucial. Responding to their reviews and promising to serve a better experience next time will not only show the customer that their opinion is valid and valued, but will also signal to future customers that the establishment is ready to address any issues that crop up with the service. Negative reviews can also help restaurants pinpoint what they can improve on, and actively get it done. Whether it is a particular menu item or something about the physical location, these types of reviews can be helpful on specific levels.

Related to the previous point, it’s important not just to respond to reviews, but to be active on social media in general. Restaurants that do the bare minimum, like having a social media page with their details and leave it at that, might have a bit of a difficult time improving their reputation. Customers look at a page’s posts, and being active on social media is a great opportunity to share beautiful photos of menu items and the locations themselves. Professionally-taken photos are sure to get better attention on social media, and regularly sharing them increases the chances of more people becoming interested in a restaurant. Social media will also be an incredibly helpful platform to share changes in schedules, events, and promos that can help rope in more people. 

  1. Well-made website

One final tip about effective restaurant reputation management is to have a well-made website. This could act as the first point of contact for potential customers, and will be the place where they can access all the information they need to learn about the establishment. Thus, it should have a functional and easy-to-navigate layout, and should give access to a lot of critical information. This includes the restaurant’s address, contact numbers, operation schedules, and food items up on offer. A good website will also showcase things like interior photos and food photos which, much like on social media posts, will help attract customers and underscore the professional quality that the establishment puts forth. Of course, having a site that loads fast and is mobile-friendly is a given – customers will not want to engage further if the site takes ages to load or if it’s difficult to view anything on the phone.

The Importance of a Positive Online Presence

It goes without saying that review responses, feedback, and a restaurant’s overall presence and image online ultimately affects whether or not current and future customers will go to the place. After all, crucial information about an establishment – their location and operation hours, whether or not they care about a customer’s review, their presence on social media – can all be found on the Internet, there for users to see. 

This is why restaurant reputation management is crucial – it will help potential customers assess if it’s worth visiting the establishment, given what they know about how the service goes, how the food is, and how willingly the restaurant itself makes connections with customers online. Few, if any, will have the inclination to go to a restaurant with bad reviews that are left unaddressed, or with pages that have wrong information. A positive online presence, backed by great social media efforts, a well-made and updated site, and reviews, both positive and negative, that are acknowledged and addressed will definitely boost star ratings and highlight the restaurant’s professional service.