Business Magazine

Why Online Reviews Make Perfect Restaurant Experiences a Must

Posted on the 16 January 2014 by Zafar @seompdotcom

Consider this: A customer sitting in your dining room right now can be posting a bad review about your restaurant simply because they have waited more than 20 minutes for their orders. Complaining is that much easier and that much more accessible with the use of social media sites as well as sites such as Yelp, Restaurantica and Trip Advisor. A customer can pick up their smart phone and post their dislike of your restaurant before your server can come back and ask if everything is okay. It is instant hate mail. Online reviews have made the need for perfect experiences more important than ever because guests don’t have a cooling off period. They simply have to post their feelings or tweet them on one site or a dozen sites and people can read them in real time.

Stats Don’t Lie

It would be nice to think that statistics aren’t science, but unfortunately in most cases customer analysis stats don’t lie. If you are wondering how much of an impact a few bad reviews can make on your restaurant here is the answer: According to dininggrader.com 89 percent of adults will complete a search online when looking for somewhere to dine. 57 percent of those same adults will visit your website online and before making a final decision 33 percent will consider online restaurant reviews. They also reported that 23 percent of those surveyed want restaurants to have ratings available on their websites. Even one bad review will be enough to stop someone from visiting although your overall rating will have a greater influence. Most people understand that everyone has a bad day and some people just like to complain. However every bad review you get will bring down your rating whether it is warranted or not. If you are still doubtful that reviews can influence your profits one way or the other, Michael Luca, an Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School was determined to find out. He chose Yelp as his basis of research and discovered that Yelp ratings alone could make as much as a five to nine percent impact on sales. Most restaurant accounting experts would consider that significant.

Accountability

One of the biggest differences with Yelp and its ratings is that they hold their reviewers accountable by asking for personal profiles in order to provide a review. This makes it a little harder to just post an angry review in the heat of the moment. However, most sites allow you to sign in using Facebook which just takes seconds. The main problem with online reviews is that anyone can post a comment or rating including disgruntled employees. Most websites with reputable reviews will assist in having such comments removed, especially ones that appear to be particularly harmful. However the fact that most sites make it easy for people to go online and wreak havoc with your reputation makes it more important than ever to ensure your reputation will speak for itself. With a stronger reputation one or two dissatisfied customers will barely make a dent in your well polished armor.

Your best defence against bad reviews is providing impeccable food and service. Your reputation is riding on what people have to say about you more than ever because it is easier than ever for people to cast an unflattering light on your restaurant. Online reviews make it easier to find you, but even easier to pass you by.

Sources:  hbswk.hbs.edu   dininggrader


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