If you were born during the 70’s or 80’s, you would remember that picking a restaurant to eat at was simple. Your choices were limited and you normally based your decision on word-of-mouth and proximity.
Times have changes.
- There are more restaurants now than ever and the more food options than you can count
- Everyone with a cell phone is a critic
- Online reviews can impact your restaurant revenue in a major way.
How The Internet Affected Consumer Behavior
The advent of social media started a craze where as people take pictures of their food. Any food – good food, bad food, half eaten food and even putting food in their mouths. This quickly morphed into comments about the food and whole business models being setup to capture this ‘feedback’ and use it grab the attention of your future customers. One of these sites does a great job of finding people who love to complain. It is appropriate there name is based on what a dog does when you step on its tail.
Consumer Decision Making and Online Reputation
We all know how most consumers react to negative reviews. In a 2015 study published by Moz, restaurants that have a single negative review on the first page of Google can potentially lose up to 22% of their customers. This increases up to 44% when you have two negative reviews. Have four or more negative reviews? Say goodbye to 70% of your potential customers.
What is a restaurant to do?
A study from Brightlocal tells us that 3 out of 4 of the people that they surveyed said that they trust a local business more if it had positive reviews online. In other words 75% of people are more likely to trust you if you have positive review…. Time to take your reviews seriously and time to make sure your restaurant is worthy of as many stars as you can earn.
How vital are reviews to your revenue? In the case of Yelp!, a well-known business review platform, 82% of the people who visit their site have the intention of buying a product or service. You can also experience up to 9% increase in revenue just from an increase of one star in Yelp! while you lose 10-12% of your customers from a decrease of one star. (we think the negative is higher but we don’t have the research to back it up)
We use Review Fire to power online reputation.
The Power of Online Reputation
In the past, it was all about making sure you make a good impression. So that when a customer walks in, they instantly see how “good” your restaurant is. In our always online society, you have to make an impression even before a customer steps inside your front door. Although you can do this through promotions or advertisements. Nothing beats your online reputation and reviews..
But what can you do? Here are some things you can do in order to strengthen your online reputation.
- Make sure all your customers leave with a smile from your establishment. Contact with customers (both current and prospective) should be done with a positive overall experience in mind.
- Google yourself. Find out what people are saying about your restaurant. If you see any negative reviews, don’t fight it. Reply to the user and tell them you will fix the issue. Then identify the source of the problem (like poor service, bad proceess, or pricing concerns) and act on it.
- Find a way to entice your customers to leave a review online. Note that customers are more likely to leave a review when they are angry. Remember that all types of review, good and bad, are important depending on how you act on it.
- Don’t leave “fake reviews” of your own restaurant online. Not only is this a in poor taste but most people can spot a fake review and your efforts will have the opposite impact of what you intended.
- Hire an online marketing agency like Seota that can help you with your online reputation.
While it is true that times have changed, one thing remains true, A good restaurant with good food and great services will always have a steady stream of diners.