Life Begins at 4 Stars

To many restaurateurs, dealing with online reviews is a huge irritation. They often feel like their online reputation is something that happens to them, not something they control. As such, many restaurant owners simply ignore their online reviews and submit to the whims of the public for their reputation rating. If you find yourself in this camp, we’re hoping to change your outlook in this post.

Consider that 33% of consumers say they will never eat at a restaurant with less than a four-star rating. That’s one-third of your potential customer base. If you have a review rating of 3.9 stars or less, they simply won’t be choosing you – ever. And if you’re sitting at 4.0 stars, you are just one negative review away from joining this dismal group. This single statistic alone should be enough to convince you of the importance of maintaining a 4 star or higher rating.

Maybe you’re too busy to make the time required. After all, you probably wear most of the management hats and have more important things demanding your attention; producing a great product, ordering, scheduling staff, hiring, training, payroll, bookkeeping. The list goes on. Maybe you’ve chosen to ignore your online reputation because every time a negative review gets posted your blood boils and you lose sleep stewing over it – so better to ignore and not know. While we hear both of these explanations all the time, neither is a legitimate reason to leave your reputation in the wind.

Here are a few pointers to help you take a big step toward taking control of your online reputation:

  • It needs to be done – It’s just too important to your revenue stream and livelihood to completely ignore. But that doesn’t mean You have to be the one handling it. If your plate is already too full, or you see red when negative comments get posted, delegate the task or hire it out to professionals. Just get it done!
  • Claim your listings – All the major review sites have probably auto-generated a profile for your restaurant. Claim it and take it under your control. You don’t have to start spending ad dollars with them, but you do need to own your profile. Once you do, you can set up notifications for alerts when reviews are posted.
  • Respond to ALL Reviews – Best practices demands that ALL reviews get a response. Responding to the positive reviews is pretty straight forward. Simply thank your customers for taking the time to share. They’ll receive a notification that you responded which gives you an additional customer touchpoint – proven to generate more repeat visits. The negative reviews require a little finesse. Remember, that even the BEST restaurants get negative reviews. We’re all human and everyone makes mistakes. Use this simple acronym to help you respond in a professional unemotional way; T.A.P. – Thank. Apologize. Promise. Thank them for posting. Apologize for whatever wasn’t to their liking. Promise to do better on their next visit. Keep it simple, and don’t lose sleep.

FIVE by FIVE can help with the stress of reviews

Reputation Management Services, Retention Management and Social Media Management