In a world where information travels at the speed of light, people are
capable of discovering everything about a business even before visiting it. In
many cases, they garner their information from online reviews. Unfortunately
for entrepreneurs who are in the business of appetizers, stiff drinks and
restaurant furnishings, even a single bad review on a site like Yelp can affect
their bottom line. As it turns out, though, there are a few ways restaurants
can make negative Yelp reviews a positive thing.
Responding to Negative Yelp Reviews
Potentially the most important thing any restaurateur can do when
dealing with negative Yelp reviews is respond. Perhaps the individual said
their steak came out undercooked. Maybe it was something as menial as a squeaky
bistro chair. Whatever the case may be, it's imperative to take the time to
respond to these.
This is because it will show other potential patrons that the owners
care. It's impossible for every single business transaction to go smoothly. In
some cases, this is out of the restaurateur's hands. By taking the time to
respond and trying to make things right, however, others online will take note.
In the end, this could actually help the occupancy of all the restaurant
Learn from the Review
While there's no magical way to turn a negative review into a positive
review, Yelp does allow businesses to have testimonials removed. This tactic,
however, is very rare. In fact, unless a competitor is the one who left the
negative review, there's really no reason to waste time trying.
The best way to turn this into a positive is to learn from what
happened. By responding to negative criticism online, and providing contact
information for the upset patron to get in touch, restaurateurs are doing much
more than putting on a good public face. They're actually opening the door to
solving the problem.
By discussing the issue in-depth with someone—once they've had a chance
to cool down after leaving the bad memories of those restaurant
furnishings—owners can find out exactly what happened and start to rectify the
issue. The best positive in a negative online review? If the issue is
corrected, it'll help reduce the likelihood of another.
Make It a Marketing Point
This tactic certainly won't be right for all restaurants. A roadside
diner or hipster hangout? Sure. A fancy dining establishment, however, might
want to hold off. Recently, though, a restaurant in New Jersey put a message on
their sandwich board: "Try the worst breakfast one man on Yelp ever
Photos of this message quickly began circulating and went viral. Keep
in mind that this isn't a tactic that should be used if negative reviews are
consistently coming in. If that's the case, the owner should take a long look
at what they're doing before their restaurant booths are permanently empty.
Online review sites are here to
stay, and unfortunately, they're often some of the first results when consumers
are searching Google. Luckily, these don't have to result in the restaurant
furnishings looking like a ghost town on Friday night. With a few proactive
measures, even negative reviews can turn to gold.