Customer's Feedback Influence on the Restaurant Industry
Customer's Feedback Influence on the Restaurant Industry
Posted By
January 17, 2022

Customer feedback is of critical importance to all kinds of business. But for local businesses that rely on walk-ins, it can have a huge impact on the bottom line. Whether your online customer feedback is overwhelmingly positive or negative (or somewhere in between), the point is that it’s visible.

So, for better or worse, customer reviews have a direct impact on whether prospective customers decide to choose your restaurant from among the competition.

Do online reviews influence buying decisions?

It may seem obvious that customer feedback has an impact on whether future customers choose to walk through your doors or not. But there’s a little more to it than avoiding negative reviews.

There are four main factors that make your customers’ online feedback more impactful. When looking for a new restaurant to visit, online users are influenced by:

  • Positive reviews
  • Detailed feedback from customers
  • High numbers of reviews in general
  • Frequency and recency of reviews

The industry statistics are there to back this up. For example, 53% of customers wouldn’t even consider visiting a business with an average review rating under four stars. Consumers also spend over 13 minutes reading detailed reviews before coming to a decision. Meanwhile, 58% said the recency of reviews was the most important factor for them, and 50% said the number of reviews was what mattered most.

Many businesses, both local and international, can be affected by online reviews. But the research shows that restaurants are far and away the most impacted industry when it comes to customer feedback.

The positive impact of customer feedback for restaurants

When it comes to local businesses, particularly restaurants, a lack of online reviews makes you far less competitive in the market. Online customer feedback is now part of the extended online brand experience for consumers. You can have the best website—or even the best restaurant— around, but if you neglect your presence on online review sites, your business could be hurting unnecessarily.

An overwhelming majority of consumers— 91% according to BrightLocal—say that seeing positive reviews for a business makes them more likely to visit it. When they do see a positive review, consumers are most likely to do one of two things: either visit your website or look for more reviews.

So, by curating a positive and widespread presence on review sites, your restaurant can get customers to your website faster for reservations.

The negative impact of customer reviews on restaurants

The factors that make your review presence positive are the same ones that can have a direct negative impact on how many diners visit your establishment. If users see negative ratings, a small number of reviews, or reviews that are old, they can quickly be turned off and switch to checking out one of your direct competitors.

The same BrightLocal research referenced above indicates that 82% of consumers say that seeing negative reviews makes them less likely to use a business.

How to harness the influence of consumer reviews

Although many restaurant chains might be tempted not to focus on online reviews, their influence can’t be ignored. Restaurant managers and executives should be aware of the following stats: 90% of users in 2019 said they found a local business online in the previous year, and 33% say they do this every single day. Here’s what you can do:

Get rid of fake reviews

Users are getting very adept at spotting fake reviews online, and they can have more of a negative impact than a low number of real reviews. If you’ve previously added some fake reviews
to online profiles to boost your ratings, it’s a good idea to remove them and take the time to build real reviews from real customers.

Respond to all reviews

Customer feedback is now closely integrated into the overall brand experience consumers have with your business online. So they like to see that you engage with your customers by responding to reviews, both positive and negative. Responding to positive reviews shows that you’re an attentive and welcoming business.

Manage all your review locations online

There’s no doubt that some review sites are more impactful than others. But 70% of users take a look at multiple review sites before making a decision. So while it might be tempting to focus on the most visible review sites, such as your Google My Business profile, it’s important to cover all bases.

Managing your online reputation on multiple websites and platforms can become time-consuming, but it’s one of the most important tools in your arsenal for attracting customers to your locations.

Start managing your online reputation effectively today

Maintaining online reputation management, including monitoring and responding to reviews, can take up a lot of time and resources. Rather than logging into separate review sites constantly, you can manage everything through a single dashboard with Localyser. See for yourself how much more efficiently you can manage reviews across multiple locations. Book a personalized demo of Localyser today!

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