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How online reviews can take your restaurant to the next level

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Today, diners are more engrossed on their mobile phones even when they are having food in a restaurant. Even when dining, they are either clicking pictures or fiddling with their phone randomly. However, we interpret this behaviour, they are readily available to give their feedback about the restaurant then and there on various online platforms, which are just a click or tap away. This gathering trend is not be taken lightly by foodservice operators. In fact, it’s time for restaurant managers to come to speed and match the emerging dining trends and customers’ preferences. In short, a manager should be a quick responder. Therefore, getting the customer feedback for analysing internally by the food outlet and working on it to improve quality standards has become vital, along with the changes in the menu, interiors of the restaurant and its other services alterations. The restaurant owner should be active in responding to online reviews.

How online reviews can take your restaurant to the next level
With social media, guests can not only make it known if their dining experience was good or bad but broadcast their reviews to the public at large

But the world of online reputation management is tough. It can make even the most toughened restaurant owner sweat. Reviews definitely give the opportunity to a restaurant to truly learn. With the help of social media, restaurants can identify where they need to tinker with and adjust their service. It gives them the opportunity to address customer concerns, and use the feedback to continue building an even better restaurant.

It is essential that restaurateurs are empowered to make adaptations with the changing trends and preferences. With this approach, a restaurant can become much more intuitive to its guests’ needs and at the same time be able to truly control the clientele. The paper comment card is still slipped in with every bill but gone are those days when reviews were done quietly. With social media, guests can not only make it known if their dining experience was good or bad but broadcast their reviews to the public at large.

The key to fully embracing online reviews is by creating an advance practice for executing changes in-house. There is no time to read a review and then wait for months to start implementing a change. Many restaurants believe in empowering their employees so as to be able to make adjustments on the spot. Of course, sometimes it is a difficult task for many chefs, if more responses are negative about the dish. The chef spends hours, days and maybe even months developing it and later on it comes to be criticised. The fact of the matter is that guests who have had an unpleasant experience are much more active in writing about it than those who have had a good experience. That’s because a good experience should be the norm and is expected when someone visits your restaurant. Additionally, that doesn’t mean that negative reviews should or can be automatically disregarded as mere rant. Each and every customer review should be taken seriously and given a thoughtful and constructive response. When reading reviews, it is of vital importance to note common trends in the comments and take action steps to address them.

Using Social Media Platform

One can choose the social media platform that gets the most traffic. One can have customers post their favourite dish or they can share their experience at the restaurant. The customers can express in detail about the food they had eaten and relished and they can be encouraged to share the experience among their friends as well. Restaurateurs can also host contests to engage their customers and thank them for their support. You can also make use of this contest as a way to get more traffic on site.

Highlight the Favourite Dish

If any food item receives best reviews, consider elevating it to a signature dish of the restaurant and name it as chef’s special. If customers crave about a special, then try to consider making it a permanent menu item. The reviews posted online will make others read about it and they will surely like to visit the restaurant.

Respond to Customer Feedback

It is of vital importance to acknowledge the customers’ review without taking it personally and the result will be tremendous. Make it mandatory to respond to each feedback where customers post their reviews either it is good or bad, it is important to establish yourself as a proactive business owner. The fact that customers took the time out to review the restaurant means that their experiences meant something to them. Now, the way you respond to these reviews is also important. Be respectful and customers will automatically give the respect. Try to accept negative reviews to make business much better.

Check Out the Sites

Identify which sites are most relevant and on which site your target customers are active. Try to be active on all platforms. Do check to see if those sites feature your region.

Serve Presentable Food

Social media is dominated by people telling their friends where they’ve eaten by posting photos of their food. The more eye-catching the food, the more likely their friends will be impressed and want to visit the restaurant. The food served should be presentable so that if someone sees it they also would like to go for it. This will itself generate good reviews about the food.

Get Reviews on a Continuous Basis

It’s best to get reviews in a natural way without asking the customers to submit them. At the same time, make getting online reviews a part of the ongoing business process. Make sure to pamper each customer and ask them about the food they ordered. They should feel happy when they leave the restaurant.