3 Mistakes Restaurateurs Must Avoid With Online Reviews

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At one point in
history, word of mouth was the only way that negative experiences at a
restaurant would get around. Now that technology has evolved, however, this is
no longer the case. In fact, word of mouth itself has evolved, and those who
were sitting in restaurant dining chairs last night can shout their experience
to the entire world on review sites today. While living in this new reality,
there are a few things restaurateurs should avoid at all costs. 

Never Incentivize Positive Reviews
One of the greatest
marketing tools to get patrons at the bar tables is offering free stuff. From
free meals for signing up on email lists to discounts for sharing Facebook
posts, the possibilities are endless. One thing that restaurateurs should never
do, though, is offer free food or even discounts for individuals who leave
positive reviews. 

While this would
undoubtedly result in great reviews on sites like Yelp, it’s also against the
rules. Review sites don’t allow businesses to solicit positive reviews. In
fact, they delve out punishments if they discover the act, and this could
result in fewer patrons at the bar tables. It is acceptable, however, to incentivize honest reviews. And in many instances, this results in positive
feedback. 

Act Professional at All Times
One of the great
things about most review sites is that they allow businesses to respond to
reviews. So whether the review is a
complaint about uncomfortable restaurant dining chairs or praise for a great
meal, culinary entrepreneurs can respond directly to the reviews for the world
to see.

Unfortunately, some
restaurant owners misuse this ability. While the immediate reaction to a negative review might be to go into
defense mode, this rarely looks good from the perspective of other potential
patrons. If someone leaves a negative
review, it’s essential to start out with an apology. Afterward, explain how things will be made
right.

It should be noted,
though, that some reviewers may have never even occupied the restaurant
furniture of an eatery. These reviews could be left by competition or
individuals who are upset about the manager’s stance on something. In these
cases, the restaurateur should report the review to the site. 

Not Claiming Their Review Page
Restaurant review
pages aren’t solely for customers to come in and leave their opinions. In
reality, these sites are a powerful marketing tool. Of course, positive reviews
will bring in additional guests, but by claiming the page rather than just
leaving it to sit, restaurateurs have a new weapon in their strategic marketing
battle.

It’s claiming the
page, in fact, that allows restaurants to respond to reviews. Additionally,
managers can correct any inaccurate information, post links to their website
and provide a host of other important information such as business hours and
phone numbers. Claiming the restaurant business page is a necessity. 

We live in a world
where the number of people at the restaurant dining chairs can be directly
affected by online reviews. This reality isn’t going anywhere, so restaurateurs
must embrace it. And as long as they’re able to avoid the aforementioned
mistakes, they should do well in the review arena.