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The Importance Of Customer Reviews For Your Restaurant

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Today’s customers often turn to online resources to conduct their own research before making a purchasing decision. In fact, a survey completed by Dimensional Research found that when making a purchase, 88% of customers are influenced by an online review.

Providing a great dining experience and making customers feel special can help generate positive recognition for your restaurant, and encouraging customers to complete online reviews can help position your restaurant above your competition.

Here are some of the ways that positive and negative reviews can impact your restaurant and suggestions on how you can manage both:

Positive Reviews

In our internet-driven world, a strong online presence is important to help your restaurant stand out.

Talk to any digital marketing expert and they will tell you that there a variety of ways to boost your online presence, and one of the most important way is by gaining positive online reviews.

Positive online reviews can impact Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which helps Google and other search engines decide how to rank search results. Positive reviews can help boost the search results for your restaurant.

It is important to remember that your current and prospective customers may use review websites, such as Google, Yelp, or TripAdvisor. Customers turn to online reviews for information and they trust the experience of a previous customer – if their experience was worth taking the time to write an online review it can often have the power to convince a new customer to visit.

Responding to Positive Reviews

Engaging with customers who are already excited about your restaurant is the perfect way to create a loyal following. Additionally, when you take the time to respond to positive reviews, your company name, location, and any keywords you wish to highlight will positively impact your SEO ranking; when Google ranks a business, it looks specifically at the nature, volume, and consistency of reviews. The more positive and engaging reviews that your restaurant receives, the more it will help to increase your online presence.

When responding to positive reviews, here is an approach you can follow:

  • Refer to the reviewer by name and thank them for their review – let them know their kind review did not go unnoticed.
  • Vary the way you express gratitude – use different kinds of wording to let customers know that you took the time to read and absorb their feedback, and are not responding with a generic template.
  • Reference specifics from their review – by referencing a specific such as the friendliness of a server, you practice active listening. This type of two-way conversation comes across as genuine and shows that you took the time to read and digest their review.
  • Share a thoughtful signoff – you want to foster a loyal relationship, and signing off with a positive sentiment can set the tone for a return visit.

Negative Reviews

Just as a positive review can have an impact on your restaurant, so can a negative one.

A Zendesk survey revealed that 86% of potential customers would not purchase services from a business with negative reviews. Additionally, a single negative review can drive away approximately 22% of customers, whereas around three negative reviews can drive away 59% of the customers.  

Making customer satisfaction an essential part of your business will positively impact your reputation and profitability. Taking the time to monitor online reviews needs to be a part of your daily routine.

If you happen to come across a negative review, here is an approach you can follow:

  • Acknowledge the problem – make sure you validate their experience, even if you may disagree. It is important that you use this as an opportunity to regain their trust, and arguing will alienate them and other potential customers.
  • Apologize for their experience – accept responsibility for the experience this customer had, and do not think about deleting the bad review! Keeping bad reviews and responding to them in a professional manner shows that you have nothing to hide.
  • Thank them and focus on the future – make sure to thank this customer for their feedback, as negative reviews can help you figure out what needs to be addressed in your restaurant. Showing you understand the issue, and explaining how you’re going to ensure it doesn’t happen again, is a positive step in helping to rebuild this customer relationship.

Customer reviews are important for your restaurant. Both positive and negative reviews will shape current and prospective customer perspective, so making the time to monitor and respond to reviews should be a regular part of your business practices.

Don’t forget, if you are a BrandPoints Plus member, log into the portal and make sure you have all you need to provide a tasty experience for your customers.

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Three Tips to Help Create a Strong Reputations for Your Restaurant

Three Tips To Build Your Restaurant’s Reputation

One of the most valuable and important factors in marketing your restaurant is harnessing the power of reputation. The reputation your restaurant will greatly impact whether your establishment is worth visiting, and both the staff’s and customers’ opinions will play an important part.

Keeping these two groups of people in mind, here are three tips to help you build and maintain a strong reputation for your restaurant:

Examine your space from the perspective of your customers

This may seem self-explanatory, but the cleanliness of your entire restaurant can impact the ambiance of the space. Make sure you put yourself in your customer’s shoes and consider:

  • Are the windows clean?
  • Is the landscaping maintained and free of debris?
  • Is the curb free of litter and cigarette butts?
  • Is the hostess stand clean, or is it cluttered with menus?
  • Are the lights, and any lampshades, free of dust?
  • If there are condiments on the table, are they full and clean?
  • Are the restroom toilets and mirrors clean?

Your guests will notice all matters relating to cleanliness and it will impact their experience and opinion of your restaurant. Make sure you consistently check every space in your restaurant and ensure that everything  is regularly cleaned and maintained. If you take pride in looking after your space, your customers and staff will take notice, and it will help to contribute to your positive reputation.

Lead by example and recognize your staffs’ accomplishments

Simply put, your behaviour dictates everyone else’s behaviour. If you want your customers to have a positive experience, then you need to ensure that your staff feels positive when they are at work.

Your team looks to you for guidance, support, and encouragement. Their experience at work can directly impact the reputation of you restaurant. Providing regular training and acknowledging their accomplishments will help to create a positive working environment and motivate them to be involved in the everyday tasks of the restaurant.

It is also important that you empower your staff to handle and solve problems. When employees understand that they have the freedom to do what is necessary to provide the best experience for your customers, it helps to enhance the dining experience. When your employees feel motivated and dedicated to the restaurant it will translate into the experience they deliver to your customers.

Be involved in your community – both in public and online

Giving back and getting involved with your local community is a great way to demonstrate that you want your business to have a positive impact.

Get involved with a local charity, sponsor a youth sports team, or host a food drive at your restaurant. An online community calendar is a great resource to learn about and promote events.

Being visible in the community  will not only help to spread the word about your restaurant, but it will also help to boost your reputation.

Another way to get involved online is to search out and invite local food bloggers to visit your restaurant. Try inviting them to review your restaurant in return for a free meal. Sharing content created by local experts will help get your restaurant in front of different audiences and a positive review will help build your reputation online.

Your reputation is important and it is built from all the aspects of your business. Make sure to take the time to consider how your restaurant is viewed and perceived by both your customers and staff, and remember that your restaurant is part of a larger community. A strong reputation is a must to help your restaurant flourish for years to come.

Don’t forget, if you are a BrandPoints Plus member, log into the portal and make sure you have all you need to provide a tasty experience for your customers.

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Catering to Kids

Where children prefer to dine, parents will follow. Kids have big influence on where their families choose to eat, and restaurants that meet their specific needs are better positioned to capture their repeat business. 

Parents are always eager to find places where their children like the food, where they will eat healthy meals, and have a great time. By building loyalty, your pint-sized patrons will come back again and again – and they’ll bring their parents, families, and tell their friends, too. 

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