More than a decade ago, word of mouth, and critics’ reviews published were the trusted source of a restaurant’s reputation. However, in the digital era, restaurant reputation management is no longer constrained by outdated channels. The internet has allowed everyone to share their personal experience by posting a review about the restaurant they dined at.
Word of mouth is still a reliable and common factor determining restaurant reputation management. However, a survey has revealed that 94% of people research restaurants online before paying one a visit. Therefore, management must take the necessary actions to safeguard the online reputation management of restaurants. This includes monitoring and responding to online reviews, maintaining an active social media presence and training the staff members accordingly.
What Is Restaurant Reputation Management?
As the name implies, restaurant reputation management is about maintaining the establishment’s credibility in the eyes of existing customers. Furthermore, it is a means of putting the restaurant in the spotlight, helping it to attract new customers.
Reputation management involves:
- Monitoring and responding to online reviews.
- Managing your social media presence.
- Ensuring consistent quality of service and food.
- Training staff to deal with difficult customers.
- Build a loyal customer base and stand out in a highly competitive industry.
- Collecting customer feedback using comment cards.
By implementing effective reputation management strategies, restaurants can improve their online presence. This will attract more customers and maintain a high retention rate.
Why Reputation Management Is Important
Restaurant reputation management matters a lot in the eyes of the customer. People dine out due to a number of factors, such as:
- They are hungry.
- They want to try something new.
- They are out for a celebration.
- They are hanging out with friends.
- Their favorite restaurant has introduced a new dish.
- A restaurant is giving a discount or promotion.
- Enjoying the social aspect of dining out.
- They want a break from cooking and cleaning.
and the list goes on.
Whatever the reason, the key point is that they are spending their hard-earned money on your services and goods. To them, this is an investment, and they want a profitable return. Nobody wants to squander their earnings on a disappointing meal.
To ensure they have an excellent place to eat, customers choose a restaurant that offers quality food and service. To do this, they read restaurant reviews online from trusted sources and browse the restaurant’s social media profiles. These few minutes of research will help them make wise decisions.
Here are some statistics that support why reputation management is important:
- A one star increase in online ratings can result in 5–9% growth in revenue. Why? Because the customer believes that there is a positive change in management.
- About 94% of consumers choose a restaurant based on its online reviews.
- 44.6% of consumers judge restaurant reputation management based on its response to negative reviews.
This is why reputation management is important. Restaurant owners need to get control of their online reviews to avoid a bad public image.
Three Important Reasons For Maintaining an Online Reputation Management For Restaurants
Maintaining an online reputation management for restaurants is vital in today’s digital world. Everything is available online for the whole world to see, and diners are very picky when choosing a restaurant.
Here are three important reasons why it’s important to maintain a positive online reputation locally and globally.
The Three Types of Customers
There are three types of customers to which a restaurant caters:
- Local customers
- Nation-wide customers
- Global customers
While most clients are local, a restaurant may also serve people from other cities and countries. These two types of customers will only visit restaurants with stellar online reputation management.
Therefore, it is important to focus on local customers and invest in strategies that can attract customers from all over. By doing so, they can expand their reach and increase their revenue.
Another reason is studying customer dining statistics.
- 90% of customers say positive online reviews determine their restaurant selection.
- 63% of consumers prefer local restaurants compared to large chains if they have reputable online reviews.
- 65% of internet users trust online reviews.
- An estimated 43% of customers would not revisit a restaurant if their management services were poor.
- 44% of diners prefer to eat out at least once a week.
Thus, a restaurant should focus on maintaining an authoritative online presence. This extends beyond receiving five stars and being a dominant social media influencer. It also includes creating a professional website and using SEO to increase online visibility.
Success of a Timely Online Response
Approximately 38% of online complaints receive a response. Complaints left out or not resolved in a timely manner may have a negative impact on restaurant reputation management. Responding to customer reviews and inquiries promptly and professionally can greatly enhance a restaurant’s reputation and credibility online.
Here are three ways to ensure a swift online response:
- Regularly checking online reviews on various social media platforms and engaging with the customer.
- Create an alert to notify you of every review written.
- Dedicate time to go through online comments or hire a marketing team to communicate and deal with the customer’s experience.
6 Ways To Improve Restaurant Reputation
A restaurant’s reputation is constantly at risk. Improving and maintaining it is a never ending cycle that demands consistent effort and attention.
Here are six reputation management strategies for restaurants:
Restaurant Reputation Management Strategy #1: Monitor Online Reviews
Monitoring online review sites is one of the most important aspects of restaurant reputation management. This includes websites like:
- Google Reviews
- Social Media
Negative reviews are the downfall of a restaurant’s reputation. Most restaurants have a list of bad reviews because they fail to track how their restaurant is performing online. As a result of this inefficient management, restaurant owners are unaware of the problems they need to address.
By regularly checking these platforms, you can stay on top of any negative reviews and respond in a timely manner.
Here are the benefits of monitoring online restaurant reviews:
- It is a free way to analyze how your restaurant is performing.
- It helps identify the percentage of negative and positive reviews.
- It assists in identifying the main problems in your restaurant and tackling them promptly.
- You can calculate or, in some cases, view your restaurant’s star rating.
- Value for money, ambience, food quality, service quality and menu variety are a few things the customers grade online. This is a gateway to obtaining valuable feedback on the overall performance.
Restaurant Reputation Management Strategy #2: Respond To Positive and Negative Reviews
Responding to positive and negative reviews is crucial for effective online reputation management for restaurants. Responding to positive reviews shows appreciation for customers’ feedback and encourages them to return. Responding to negative reviews demonstrates a willingness to address concerns and improve the dining experience. It is important to respond promptly and professionally, as this can significantly impact your restaurant’s perception.
Unfortunately, many restaurants only focus on negative reviews and leave a typical response such as, “Sorry to hear about it. We will do our best to fix the issue ASAP!”.
This cold, generic response does not carry any value in the eyes of the customer. They do not feel special and believe this so-called reply is just an indirect way of saying, “Give it a rest.”
A better response that would lift the restaurant’s image in the eyes of the customer is, “Sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience with us. Please accept our sincere apology. The restaurant management will work on improving your dining experience. We would love it if you would give us another visit. Your next meal is on us!”
A heartwarming reply from the management would make the customer feel important. This would improve customer retention and loyalty. Quick and positive action from your side increases customer loyalty and boosts the restaurant’s image.
It’s also important to encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews, which can help offset negative feedback. Consider offering incentives for customers who leave reviews or including a reminder on receipts or menus to leave feedback online.
Restaurant Reputation Management Strategy #3: Maintain an Online Presence
In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for any business, especially a restaurant. 94% of diners choose a restaurant based on its recent positive reviews. Apart from reading what others say, they also browse the restaurant’s social media accounts, such as Facebook and Instagram.
The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is true. Posting images of your dishes artistically will get any eater’s mouth drooling. It may make them ignore the negative feedback and low star online rating, convincing them to judge your restaurant themselves.
Social media is not the only way to maintain an online presence. It also includes regularly updating your website, responding promptly to customer inquiries and complaints and monitoring online reviews. By actively managing your online reputation, you can ensure that potential customers see a positive image of your restaurant online.
Restaurant Reputation Management Strategy #4: Create a Google Business Profile
Creating a Google Business Profile allows you to display information such as your location, hours of operation, and menu items. This makes it easier for customers to find and learn about your restaurant. Furthermore, a Google Business Profile can help improve your search engine rankings and increase visibility for potential customers.
Restaurant Reputation Management Strategy #5: Focus on Your Competition
On Instagram, you may have noticed that a restaurant may have another restaurant as a follower. This is a way for one restaurant to spy on another. An effective strategy is to use your account instead of your business account to avoid being spotted.
Every restaurant has competition, and if that competitor offers a similar dining experience, you must analyze their online reputation management. Looking at your competition, especially if you are a newly established restaurant, can give you insights into what works and what doesn’t. You can then use this information to improve your offerings and stand out. Keeping an eye on your competitors’ online reviews and social media presence can help you identify areas that need improvement. This makes it easy to improve your online reputation management strategy.
Restaurant Reputation Management Strategy #6: Implement Management Software
Implementing management software can streamline your restaurant’s reputation management strategy. You can respond to multiple restaurant reviews instantly by creating template review responses for certain situations. Another major benefit is monitoring and responding to real-time online reviews and social media mentions.
Apart from reviewing responses, the software offers additional features as well, such as:
- Review generation
- Social media posting
- Easy-to-use dashboard
- Online presence builder
- Control bad reviews
and the list of functions goes on. This all depends on the type of management software used. However, the key takeaway is that by implementing management software, you can boost your restaurant’s reputation management tenfold.
The Best Restaurant Reputation Management Software
When choosing the best restaurant reputation management software, it is important to consider factors like usability, customer support and pricing. Most of the management software available online offers basic features. However, it is important to understand your restaurant’s reputation management requirements before fully committing to any software.
Here is a list of some of the most renowned restaurant reputation management software.
- Rize builds a customer database.
- Personalized dashboard, email campaigns and brand messaging.
- Monitor customer reviews with in-depth reports.
- Identify and respond to negative feedback with a well crafted message.
- Ranko has an easy-to-use dashboard with multiple features.
- A summary of positive, negative and neutral reviews.
- Restaurant data and multiple online platforms syncing, making it easy to publish restaurant information with a single click.
- Develop a social media posting schedule.
- Yumpingo allows you to view real-time customer satisfaction levels on all social media channels.
- Measure overall performance.
- It is also employee management software. Assign restaurant reputation management tasks to team members.
- Chatmeter lets you build a powerful online presence.
- Easy-to-use dashboard.
- Famepilot offers easy social media monitoring.
- Real-time access to customer reviews.
- It’s easy to create a survey builder.
- Customer review generation feature.
Restaurant Reputation Management In Hospitality Industry
Hospitality industry is a vast sector but it mainly focuses on hotels. Restaurant reputation management in the hospitality industry is equally important because it directly affects business success and profitability.
A 5-star hotel rating guarantees an excellent restaurant reputation management which brings in sales and maximizes revenue.
Here are a few key strategies to implement:
- Focus on offering outstanding proactive customer service
- Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative
- Conduct satisfaction surveys
- Implement marketing strategies
- Establish a strong online presence
Are you concerned about your restaurant’s online reputation? Do you want to ensure your establishment attracts more customers? It’s time to take action and prioritize your restaurant’s reputation management with Beambox!
Beambox is an all-in-one restaurant reputation management solution. It offers a full suite of tech-savvy tools like review automation, Wi-Fi marketing, customer data capture, and more. Learn more and start growing your restaurant today.
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