As a restaurant owner, your business’s reputation is one of your most important assets. It can take years to build a solid online reputation but only hours to lose it.
Reviews can make or break a restaurant, so how do you improve and maintain a positive reputation? With an online reputation management checklist.
How to manage your online reputation
Let’s look at the four points of an effective online reputation management checklist that can benefit any restaurant, big or small.
1. Perform a reputation audit
Before anything else, you need to see how the community views your brand. Here are three steps to get a better idea about your online reputation.
Check review sites. From Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor to social media platforms, see what people are saying about your restaurant. Look at online reviews and ratings on every site you can think of and take notes on the overall impression people have about your brand.
Google your company. This is one of the easiest ways to find things affecting your online reputation. Googling your company’s name can bring up reviews from smaller sites you may have missed, social media posts that mention your brand, and more.
Look for chances to improve your online presence. Write down the issues you notice. Does your brand have a lower rating on a certain platform? Does social media love your restaurant, but your reviews on Google are lacking?
It’s important to handle any online reputation issues before they become a bigger problem. You should perform a reputation audit regularly to see how everything is going, what’s changing, and what you can do to maintain a positive reputation.
2. Develop better responses to negative reviews
Negative reviews are one of the most common issues restaurant owners will stumble upon when working on their online reputation management. Some may choose to simply ignore them, but that’s the worst thing that a business owner can do—it gives off the impression that you don’t actually care about your customers.
Respond to negative reviews the right way, and keep your replies consistent. Here’s how to respond to customer reviews:
Address your customers by name. Don’t start your reply with “Dear customer.”
Thank them for their review. Show your customers that you appreciate them taking the time to interact with your brand—this is the first step to turn a negative review into a positive experience.
Offer an apology and a solution. Acknowledge that they had a bad experience, and mention the steps you’re taking to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
Incentivize them to come back. Offer them a free appetizer, drink, etc. This incentive is not to get them to change their review; it’s to encourage them to give your restaurant another chance. If they have a positive experience, they’ll likely edit their previous review on their own—don’t ask them to do so.
Ask for more details. For some reviews, you might want to get more details from the customer such as the order date and time or the staff they interacted with. Adding a contact us link makes it easier for the customer to send you their contact information and allows you to reach out for a more personal touch.
3. Work on getting more positive reviews
Crossing your fingers that a customer will leave you a positive review isn’t a good business strategy. Create a plan to encourage them to leave you a review. Here’s how:
Ask them in person. The best time to mention leaving a review is while the customer is still at your restaurant. Just ask them—most people are more than happy to leave a good review after a good meal.
Utilize social media. Customers who follow your brand likely already have a positive view of your restaurant. It never hurts to post a friendly reminder asking them for their support, and you can make it easy by linking directly to the sites you want them to submit their reviews.
Use subtle reminders. You can use table tents for more than displaying your specials. Add small signage requesting your customers to write a review. TripAdvisor, Google My Business, and Facebook all offer free stickers to businesses that you can use to encourage reviews. You can also use QR codes on your table tents to make it even easier for your customers.
4. Use the right online reputation management tools
Managing your online reputation can be challenging, but there are some tools you can use to make it easier:
Google My Business is free and a must-have for restaurants. Not only does it give your customers access to information about your business, but it’s also a solid online reputation management tool that lets business owners easily read and respond to reviews.
Google Alerts is a free Web alert tool that notifies you when someone mentions your brand. It helps you find and respond to potential issues immediately.
Localyser helps restaurants take control of their online reputation management. It helps improve your brand’s reputation by making it easy to monitor and respond to reviews across platforms while simultaneously generating more positive reviews from your customers.
Get started with your online reputation management checklist
Now that you know what an effective online reputation management checklist consists of, it’s time to start working through it! Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how to improve your restaurant’s online reputation and the tools you need to get started.
If you’re looking for an easier way to handle your online reputation management, book a free demo with Localyser and see how we can help.