5 Costly Mistakes Restaurant Owners Make When It Comes to Reputation Management


Are you having difficulty getting your brand out there?

Has your brand been marred by negative reviews?

Are you struggling to bring in new patrons?

With nearly 70% of consumers saying that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business, managing your online reputation is more important now than ever.

And they are looking at you restaurant owners!

My restaurant clients tell me over and over how they fear that nobody is finding them online and if they do, they have no idea if their online reputation is good or bad. The truth is this is applicable for any small business.

Here are 5 frequent mistakes we see restaurant owners make:

1. Not being transparent

Today’s consumers are savvy. They can smell a fake a mile away. If you’re not being transparent in your business, patrons will take their money elsewhere.

What does it mean to be transparent?

  • Open to criticism
    • Respond to reviews (good and bad). Sometimes a personal response can even improve a bad Yelp review.
  • Asking for feedback
  • Admitting when you’ve done wrong
    • Apologize right away

2. Getting defensive

You know that not every customer is going to have an amazing experience. When you receive a negative review or feedback, see it as an opportunity to improve. How you respond to negative reviews is critical. And I’ve shared the best way to respond to reviews before. Even if the guest has the facts all wrong, their perception matters. Check your ego at the door and commit to seeing things objectively. If you can’t separate your feelings from business then you need to hire someone else to manage your reputation.

Need help on how to respond to those possibly damaging reviews? Click the graphic below!

3. Not asking for help

Most restaurant managers and owners are too busy to keep up with social media, online reviews, and web marketing. And why should they manage it all anyway? Hire a professional – preferably one company that can do it all – and let them deal with it.

4. Waiting too long

Whether it’s neglecting your reviews and social media entirely or playing the “I’ll post when I can” game, time is not your friend when it comes to social media.

Here are key areas you should be monitoring daily:

  • Facebook comments
  • Review websites (Yelp, Facebook, Google, BBB, etc.)
  • Twitter
  • Instagram

5. Not responding to positive reviews

Wouldn’t it be nice to reach out to your most loyal customers and let them know that you have new apps on the menu? You totally can when you respond to positive reviews. You don’t need to whip out your best sales pitch, just politely let them know you have a happy hour or a great new dessert. Just as you would retarget guests through email your response to their review is a way to let them know you’re interested in developing a relationship with them. Besides, most customers appreciate the personal contact when they discover they get something out of it too.

Remember your online reputation (including social media) is vital to bringing in business! People are looking and evaluating whether they should spend money with you based on your online presence before they ever even step foot in your establishment. Just as you would make your brick and mortar location physically appealing – you should be doing the same in cyberspace by managing your online reputation.