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In the digital age, one thing is certain — opinions are closer and easier to read than ever before. Statistics show that 68% of millennials trust online reviews, while only 34% trust television advertising. 8 out of 10 consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. With statistics this impressive, it’s no wonder you might worry about your restaurant’s online reputation. Below, we discuss tips for monitoring online reviews in a productive, professional manner.

  1. Assign a monitor. Select someone on your staff whose job it will be to check reviews on the major review websites, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook and UrbanSpoon. At least three times each week, this person should read and respond to every review about your restaurant.
  2. Respond to all reviews, not just good or bad ones. Whether a customer has left you positive or negative feedback, when you respond, it indicates to them that you care what they think. It helps establish a personal connection and shows that you pay attention.
  3. Always respond quickly. Nearly half of all consumers expect a response within six hours of contacting a business online. If you’ll need help keeping up with your feedback in a timely manner, it may be useful for you to set up a Google Alert for your restaurant.
  4. Stay positive. When responding to a negative comment, give yourself a day to respond if you’re offended by the nasty review. Use a professional voice and never use foul language or insults. It’s a good idea to privately respond to a negative review before publicly responding to a comment. In your private message, you’ll be able to address the problem and perhaps discuss how to improve the poor experience. Always invite the customer to return — it shows an honest effort to reconcile.
  5. Get personal. When a customer leaves you a glowing review, respond as quickly as possible and thank them — but make sure your response is genuine. Don’t simply offer a canned, generic “thank you,” but try to mention something you remember about the customer or his/her visit. Tell them you look forward to seeing them in your restaurant again soon.
  6. Don’t overlook a real problem. If you receive the same negative feedback multiple times, perhaps it’s time to examine your operation. If people are complaining about poor service, you may need to reevaluate your kitchen or wait staff.

Contact us at That’s Biz for more restaurant marketing tips.