Gone are the days when people would depend on word of mouth and their own instincts to decide how good or bad a restaurant is. The contemporary customer counts on online ratings and reviews to get an idea about the food, and overall services of a restaurant. So, if a restaurant manages to collect a good aggregate of positive reviews, it is more likely to acquire new customers.
Hence, besides regular marketing and promotions, any owner must have a proactive approach to get more reviews for their restaurant, particularly the good ones. In this post, we will share some tips and measures that you can employ to get more reviews for your independent restaurant.
Why Positive Customer Reviews Are Important
Before we discuss ways to increase positive reviews for restaurants, we need to discuss their importance with more nuance and detail. Here, we will share some statistics that highlight why customer reviews have become a lifeline for restaurants and food joints.
· 92% of consumers will remain reluctant to order from a restaurant if they can’t see enough customer reviews for it online.
· 84% of customers believe online reviews as much as they trust suggestions from family and friends.
· 97% of customers admit that online reviews influence their perception of a restaurant. This perception subsequently influences their buying decision.
· 90% of customers read not more than ten reviews to make an opinion about a restaurant.
· Customers are likely to spend 31% more on restaurants that boast a lot of positive reviews.
All these numbers suggest that restaurants must actively work on gathering positive reviews for their foods and overall services.
6 Ways to Increase Positive Reviews
These are the six measures you will need to take on different fronts to improve the influx of positive reviews for your restaurant.
1. Lay Down a Strong Digital Footprint
Boasting a strong digital footprint is not directly associated to get more and positive reviews. However, it plays a crucial role in collecting reviews if you look at things in the long run. For starters, when you have a stronger digital footprint, you become more visible to both existing and potential customers. Having a user-friendly website, optimized Google My Business profile, active presence on reviews sites, and thriving social media pages make sure that customers remember your restaurant and leave reviews time and again.
Also, having an extensive digital footprint means you provide more avenues for customers to leave reviews. Customers are not bound to leave their reviews on any particular platform or channel. They can do that wherever they want— in Google Reviews, Facebook and Instagram comment sections and inboxes, tweet replies, and review sites.
Also, when you have an active and extensive digital footprint, you make a great first impression on potential customers. Already impressed with your strong online presence, a person is more likely to get swayed by positive reviews of your products, offers, and services.
2. Never Shy Away from Asking Loyal Customers for Reviews
If you have been successfully operating your restaurant for quite a while, you must have built a base of loyal, repeat customers. Those customers can prove to be a great asset in terms of garnering positive reviews. First of all, you have to identify all the loyal ones. Then, you need to reach out to them and ask them to leave a positive review about their experience with your restaurant. You can ask them for reviews on social media, in-person, or via email.
When reaching out to individual customers, you will acknowledge their importance to your business. Having this special treatment will get those customers in a good mood where are they are less likely to say no. Also, a good mood begets positive reviews.
Getting reviews from loyal customers is also important because they can leave the best positive review.
What is the “best positive review”?
The best positive review is a review that doesn’t go on hyperbole in praising the restaurant. It essentially outlines the experience will all its little details. Such positive reviews also leave some suggestions. People sifting through review and comment sections give attention to such reviews, and only loyal customers can write such earnest reviews.
3. Respond to Reviews— Have a Proper Follow-Through
The reviews for your restaurant should not exist in a vacuum; you should reply to them and transform them into conversations, where necessary. For instance, if there is a bad review, don’t try to avoid and deflect it. Reply to the review and reassure the customer that you will resolve their problem. You can also offer discounts and coupons to make up for any shortcomings in reply to those negative reviews.
Besides following up negative reviews, you should also reply to positive reviews. Many businesses often ignore and “ghost” the positive reviews. Don’t do that. Express your gratitude to customers leaving positive reviews and invite them again. Showing appreciation and thankfulness to positive reviews encourage customers to leave more of them in the future.
4. Identify the Recurrent Reviewers and Reward Them
Just like loyal customers, recurrent reviewers are also very important to keep up with a healthy reviewing activity. By going through reviews on different digital media platforms, you can easily identify the patrons who leave encouraging reviews about your restaurant after every visit. Consider even those who have left more than one review as recurrent reviewers.
Compose a Thank You email or message for those reviewers. Moreover, you can reward them in various ways. For instance, offer them exclusive discounts not available to any other customer. Send them surprise takeouts and goodie bags. You can also show your recognition and appreciation by featuring their review snippets and profiles (with their permission) on your social media platforms and website.
All this acknowledgment will ensure you can continue to get good reviews from the existing recurrent reviewers. Also, such special treatment for patrons and reviewers will turn more people into recurring advocates of your restaurant.
5. Make It Easy for Customers to Leave a Review
Put your customer’s hat on and remember all those instances when you didn’t leave a review for a business just because it was a bit of hassle. It is a universal customer behavior that people opt out of leaving a review if they come across even an ounce of inconvenience. The angry customer still makes an effort to leave their scathing remarks. However, happy and satisfied customers don’t go the extra to leave their positive reviews.
Since you can’t change that customer behavior, try to mold your review activity around it. You can do that by making writing a review for your restaurant as hassle-free as possible. For instance, if you want a customer to leave their comment on a review website, don’t just ask them “please go to XYX and leave a review there”. You have to provide them an exact link where they write a review.
In short, make sure a customer doesn’t have to search on their own and has to go through multiple redirections to leave a review for your restaurant.
6. Offer Good Food Ordering Experience
Good food and good customer service are prerequisites for getting positive reviews. You can’t expect people to talk good about your restaurant without providing these two things. Also, keep in mind that good customer experience doesn’t mean just good onsite delivery of services anymore. Those days are long gone when the behavior of waiters, hygiene, and food presentation would determine customer experience for restaurants.
How a restaurant manages its online orders is now also an integral factor in shaping up the customer experience. You can find many restaurants that get great reviews about their food and ambiance but people constantly complain about their online order and food delivery system. For all the potential customers thinking about ordering food, reviews regarding the food order system matter more than the comments on the ambiance and other onsite elements.
If you want customers to praise your online food order mechanism in their reviews as well, you have to use a state-of-the-art restaurant web application. An online food ordering portal based on a robust restaurant web application offers great menu navigation/selection and hassle-free (no-contact) payment options. Customers like these convenience features and also talk about them in their reviews.
Don’t Buy Reviews!
Before we round up the article, we would like to give this sincere advice to every restaurant owner. A modern customer can easily see through and tell apart a review full of generic praises loaded with superlatives and a comment that outlines an honest positive customer experience. Fake and bought positive reviews will do more harm than good for your restaurant.
If you want to streamline your online restaurant operations through a web application, get in touch with experts at MenuCRM. MenuCRM offers a full-features web application that simplifies various online operations for small businesses and independent restaurant owners. MenuCRM can be your restaurant’s website, online ordering system, CRM, restaurant loyalty platform, and customer communications tool— all rolled into one.