As a restaurant owner are you asking – Where do I start on social media?
Are you a chef and want to improve your online professional reputation?
Do you want to make time for social media but can’t because managing your business takes priority?
We understand running a restaurant takes up a ton of time, and social media is probably an item that has landed on the back burner. Here are two easy and quick ways we share with restaurant owners and chefs that can jump-start your social media presence and start driving sales. Consider these “low-hanging fruit” that are just ripe for the picking.
- Answering Reviews
- Facebook Live
In this article we’re going to step you through the
- Importance of reviews
- Why you should be responding to reviews
- How to handle reviews effectively.
Next week, we’ll show you how to use Facebook Live as a fun and effortless tool to drive business to your establishment in just 5 minutes a week.
Nobody Really Looks at Restaurant Reviews, Do They?
Bright Local found 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017. When asked which businesses they look at reviews for, Bright Local discovered that restaurants made up 60% of the reviews.
Reviews aren’t limited to just review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Your Facebook business page allows customers to leave star ratings and feedback about your restaurant. And like Yelp, potential customers have a place to read about other’s experiences and make judgments based on how well you’ve been rated without ever stepping foot in your business.
Facebook reviews can also be the most impactful because of the context. For example, if your friend leaves a review on Facebook, you will receive a notification that he left a review. Additionally, if a guest looks up your restaurant on Facebook and their friend or family has already left a review at your restaurant, that review will pop up. This is all thanks to the Facebook algorithm.
Why is this important? Because of the amount of credibility (context) your friend or family member review means to you. Conversely with Yelp, you read the reviews and there is no context because you don’t have a relationship with the reviewer. When you read a restaurant’s review left by someone’s opinion you trust you now have context about the review and can 100% trust his/her taste and form a valuable opinion based on that.
You wouldn’t leave a customer stewing over an undercooked steak just because you’re not comfortable listening to their feedback. Likewise, you wouldn’t ignore the fact that your chef failed to properly season your signature dish for a week because you didn’t take the time to listen to your customers.
Ok, I Get It, Reviews Are Important. Why Do I Need To Respond To Them?
Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30% naming this as key when judging local businesses.
Just as you handle reviews in person, you should handle them online. Your competitors aren’t doing this – so here’s your opportunity to shine!
Handling reviews online is just how you would handle criticism in person. It isn’t always pretty, but it’s the first step to rectifying a problem and ultimately improving customer satisfaction and your business as a whole.
Mike Lester, president of The Melting Pot, welcomes reviews, “It is a second chance to earn our guest’s business back. The only true negative comment or complaint is the one that we don’t hear and cannot react to effectively.” The Tampa, Florida-based fondue restaurant has over 100 locations worldwide.
Additionally, “You have a chance to win back those guests who wrote negative reviews,” Lester says. What an opportunity to win a customer for life!
How Should I Handle Online Reviews for My Restaurant?
Most review sites like Yelp and Facebook allow you to post public comments that are immediately viewable by other readers. We recommend that you post a reply to each review publically regardless if they just left a rating.
Rules for handling online reviews:
Respond to reviews as quickly as possible. Don’t let even the smallest feedback go unanswered. If you had a guest tell you that they enjoyed their meal you would immediately say thank you and invite the guest back. That’s a no-brainer. It’s the same online.
Always say thank you. Regardless of the nature of the feedback, always thank them for taking the time to leave their feedback.
Maintain Professional Tone
Your response is just as important as the actual review. How you handle feedback – positive or negative – says a lot about you, your business, and your brand. This means proper grammar, spelling, and tone count.
What Do I Do If I Get a Bad Review?
As you know, stuff happens, but you’ll still want to maintain the three rules above. No matter if the complaint is merited, it’s the customer’s perception that matters.
Micah Solomon, Forbes.com contributor suggests, “…feedback from every customer, no matter how off-base or misdirected, needs to be respected, and acted on in the sense of making that customer feel that they’ve been heard.”
He also reminds restaurant owners that, “….you need to be just as careful about which customers to dismiss as hypersensitive or the “wrong type” of customer. For there may be a larger truth hiding in their complaints as well.”
A “sorry” goes a long way. Even if the complaint is unfounded, apologize for the reviewer’s experience. And if they have a sincere complaint, let them know that you’ve heard them and have intent to rectify the situation.
Sometimes the best way to win a customer back is to also contact them privately and offer compensation or a personal invitation to return.
At HospitalityFan our clients trust us to respond to each and every online review just as they would handle customer responses in person. One of our clients, a high-end hotel in Dallas, Texas, received this review on Yelp where the customer acknowledges she chose them based on their consistent response to reviews.
“I think we found what we are actually looking for…I love that the hotels actually takes time to read and reply to reviews” via client’s Yelp page.
Our client then located that Yelp user’s reservation and furnished a special room amenity for them as a way to further customer relations.