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Stellar Reviews: 4 Ways to Receive More for Your Restaurant

By Kim Lorang


The number of positive reviews your foodservice operation receives will significantly impact your bottom line. A study conducted by Trip Advisor found that online reviews influence 94% of US diners.

When is the last time you checked sites like Yelp, Google, Open Table, and social media to read the feedback guests have left about your restaurant? These days, even one negative review can deter someone from choosing to eat at your establishment.

So how do you earn more awesome reviews?

First, the most obvious: serve great food and provide stellar service. When it comes to reviews, people tend to fall into two categories. Either they were utterly disappointed with something about their experience, or their expectations were greatly exceeded. When you simply meet expectations, you won’t compel people to shout about you from the rooftops. However, if you blow them away at every turn and exceed expectations, they will be excited to tell others what a lovely time they had while dining with you.

Sit down and think about the experience a guest typically has when they visit your restaurant. From the time they make a reservation (how easy is that to do?) to the time they reheat their leftovers, write down everything. Now, look at that list and brainstorm ways you can go above and beyond at each interaction. Train your staff to strive for unexpected excellence. Sometimes the smallest of gestures can make a world of difference.

When you aim to build relationships with your guests, earning more positive reviews will be a breeze.

Once you create an experience worthy of earning positive reviews, it’s time to formulate your plan for turning your happy guests into raving fans.

Here are 4 ways you can get more positive reviews:

Ask for them

Often, restaurants fail to ask for what they want when it comes to reviews. The easier you make it for guests to leave reviews, the better. Consider placing call to actions on your website, on social media, and in email blasts. Before guests leave, train servers to mention how important reviews are and have them gently ask for one! Additionally, getting creative can be rewarded.

Here are a few out-of-the-box ways to ask for positive reviews:

  • Place QR codes on to-go containers so that guests can scan and leave a review.
  • Hand out takeaway cards asking for reviews on the sites you’re listed on. Encourage people to leave the card (with their name and email address written down) in a bowl on the way out once they’ve completed the reviews. Once a month, draw one card from that month’s collection to win a free appetizer or dessert (incentivizing the review process can make a big difference!).
  • If you hand out mints, wet-wipes, or other small items after guests have finished their meals, consider printing review reminders on the packaging.
  • Set up a review station near the entrance, encouraging guests to leave a review before they leave. Designate a tablet for this purpose and place clear signage around it. Remind your staff to point it out before guests leave their tables.

Keep Online Profiles Up to Date

Claim your businesses’ pages and ensure all of the information listed is accurate. Post your menu (or a link to your menu) on every site so that people looking for a new place to try can easily find it. If your hours, menu, or other information changes, be sure to update your pages immediately and make it a habit to check each page frequently to ensure accuracy and interact with visitors to the site.

Respond to Existing Reviews

Often, if you look at a restaurant’s reviews, you won’t find any engagement. This is a huge misstep! It is important to respond quickly to negative reviews to rectify the situation, and it’s equally important to respond to positive reviews. A simple “hey thanks” paired with addressing something specific about a positive review will make the person who left the review feel appreciated. It will also encourage other people to leave reviews because they know it is making an impact on your business, and it shows you care. Make checking and responding to reviews a part of management’s daily workflow.

Share Your Positive Reviews

Leveraging the great feedback you get is almost as important as getting it in the first place! Ensure you’re frequently sharing reviews on your social media channels and your website. Sharing these reviews will not only show visitors how great you are, but it will encourage people to share their feedback as well!

Positive reviews matter: 94% of consumers said they would only consider dining at a restaurant with at least a 4-star rating.

When you commit to exceeding expectations and building relationships with your customers, while also focusing on ways to ask for positive reviews tactfully, you will see an uptick in the amount of great feedback being left on your profiles.

When a restaurant focuses on their online reputation as much as they do their service, cleanliness, and food, the sky’s the limit!

Keeping your foodservice establishment clean is a key step in delighting your guests. Find out how COVID-19 has changed customer’s expectations of cleanliness, here.