Managing your own restaurant? You’re probably already aware that in today’s age, diners can quickly become online critics. They’re posting online ratings and reviews of restaurants on multiple sites and making personal recommendations not only to friends and family, but also to whole world.
To stay competitive, you must not only be able to cook a great meal; you must also be savvy outside the kitchen and engage online with customers, protect your business reputation, and stay on top of what diners are saying on the Web.
Here are some numbers that show how reviews and ratings have shaped the restaurant and F&B industry:
- A Harvard Business School study shows that a one-star Yelp rating increase can lead to a 9 percent revenue increase.
- A half-star improvement on Yelp’s 5-star rating makes it 30 to 49 percent more likely that a restaurant will sell out seats during peak hours.
- 68 percent of restaurant owners in the US actively monitor and manage reviews on multiple review sites, and 57 percent of consumers say they will avoid a business that has negative reviews and ratings.
- According to eMarketer, 88 percent of Internet users read online reviews in order to determine the quality of a local business.
Whether they like it or not, restaurateurs and F&B executives must acknowledge the impact of online restaurant reviews and play a more active role in managing these reviews.
If you’re just getting started, let the ReviewTrackers team help. Here’s a list of the restaurant review and rating sites your business should know about, with information on how to claim your business profile or listing on each of the sites.
(Managing a car dealership or local business in the automotive sector? Here’s the ReviewTrackers guide to get you started on monitoring and managing online reviews.)
Industry-specific review sites
Founded in October 2004 in San Francisco, California, Yelp is the go-to site for diners looking to discover great places to eat. Sure, the site has a wide range of business categories, but food, restaurants, nightlife, and bars are the sectors where Yelp has made its name. To claim your business on Yelp, just visit https://biz.yelp.com/. You can also check out the ReviewTrackers guide on claiming your Yelp page.
Eat24 is a leading food delivery and pickup service whose growing network covers over 30,000 restaurants in 1,500+ cities, with reviews organized according to types of information like location or cuisine type. To claim your business for free on Eat24 and enable online ordering, just visit http://eat24hours.com/join.
A subsidiary of Priceline.com, OpenTable is one of the leading online restaurant reservations platforms today. But it’s not just for hungry diners looking to book a table; it’s also for those who haven’t decided yet where to eat, and who’ll thus turn to restaurant reviews to guide their decision. Every month, OpenTable diners write more than 400,000 reviews, and its network connects diners with more than 32,000 restaurants worldwide.
You can join OpenTable by visiting http://www.opentable.com/opentable-restaurant-management-system#/join_us_form and filling up the form. You can also read the ReviewTrackers guide on claiming and managing your OpenTable business profile.
Named after the French food critic who coined and promoted the term “nouvelle cuisine” in the 60s, Gayot is an international and professional guide to dining, hotels, travel and lifestyle, including spas, movies and automobiles. It has professionally written reviews of local businesses, but the site also allows consumers to leave their own reviews. Gayot evaluates restaurants on a specific rating system that’s based on a 20-point scale. The rating is seen on every restaurant page, with comments about décor, service, ambience, and wine detailed within each review.
Unfortunately, business owners currently do not have the ability to claim their restaurant listings on Gayot; you can, however, sign up to pay for advertising in order to gain greater visibility on the site.
One of the first-ever companies to collect restaurant ratings, Zagat – which was founded in 1979 – has quickly become one of the top restaurant review sites today, curating the best restaurants and nightlife spots in 18 major cities worldwide. It was acquired by Google in September 2011, whereupon Zagat’s data became tightly integrated into the search engine giant’s services. The site is best known for its 30-point rating scale, which covers various aspects of the dining experience, including food, décor, service, and cost. Zagat also has a dedicated mobile app (for Apple iOS and Android) that’s integrated with Google services like Google Maps, Google Street View, and Google+ Local.
Urbanspoon (by Zomato)
This leading local bar and restaurant guide – which was acquired recently by New Delhi-based restaurant portal Zomato – aggregates online reviews from professional food critics, bloggers, and diners. Urbanspoon also offers the ability to filter searches according to restaurants’ neighborhood, cuisine type, special features (BYOB, gluten-free menu, etc.), price, and nearby locations.
To claim and edit your business listing on Urbanspoon, you can perform a search on the site and check if the listing already exists. If it does, you can look for the “Is this your restaurant?” button at the top right of the listing. You will then be given instructions on how to go through the process, after which you will receive a confirmation call in order to be confirmed as the restaurant’s owner/manager.
Meanwhile, if you’re not yet listed, just visit the site and click the city that your bar or restaurant is located in. Click the “Add Restaurant” link located at the bottom of each page. On the “Add a Restaurant to Urbanspoon” page, just enter your business information. Click “Add Restaurant” once you complete the form. Keep in mind, though, that the site manually reviews all new listings before they are added, so it may take some time before your restaurant listing appears.
MenuPages, a GrubHub brand, is a restaurant search portal that aims to help users find places to eat. It also has a collection of thousands of restaurant menus that are regularly updated, along with reviews and recommendations from its community of users.
To get your restaurant and menu listed, just visit http://www.menupages.com/for-restaurants/restaurantsubmit. On this page, you’ll be given instructions on how to submit your menu information for free.
Popular review sites
Google+ / Google+ Local
Google is the world’s biggest search engine, and it has also quickly become one of the most powerful restaurant discovery engines on the Web. With services like Google Maps, Google+ Local, and Google Search, Google connects millions of hungry diners with restaurants and local businesses every month. It also publishes restaurant reviews and ratings on the Google+ platform. To create or edit your restaurant listing on Google, just visit the Google My Business page at www.google.com/business. You can also check ReviewTrackers’ guide on how to claim your listing via Google My Business.
The world’s leading social network is also home to local business reviews. In the last couple of years, Facebook has polished and enhanced its review features. Check out our Facebook Reviews guide for information on how to manage your page and enable online reviews.
TripAdvisor, the world’s biggest travel site, has made an indelible mark on the hotel and hospitality industry. But it’s also making an impact on restaurants. The site collects user-generated reviews and recommendations of restaurants in places all over the world; TripAdvisor also features multiple-category restaurant rankings as well as an online reservations platform.
To get started on claiming your restaurant’s TripAdvisor listing, go to http://www.tripadvisor.com/Owners. You can also check out the ReviewTrackers guide on claiming your TripAdvisor business page.
Once a popular location-based check-in service, Foursquare has evolved drastically into a powerful local business discovery engine. More than 50 million people are using Foursquare, discovering great local businesses by turning to location-based reviews and recommendations. Over 1.9 million businesses have already claimed their locations to connect with their customers.
To claim yours, visit http://business.foursquare.com/claim. Once you’ve claimed your listing, you can add your business name, category, hours of operation, photos, links, and other helpful information.
Yahoo! Local is the recommendation and review site of search engine Yahoo!, and it is designed to help users find local businesses and services online. Yahoo! Local can display business search results on a map, and it also pulls data from Yelp to add restaurant reviews and ratings on its business pages.
Follow our guide to get started on claiming your Yahoo! Local listing.
As you claim your listing on these restaurant review sites, make sure you follow these simple tips and tricks:
- When you can, add as much information about your business: business name, category, phone number address, cuisine type, hours of operation, etc.
- Always make sure that your listing contains information that is complete, correct, and up-to-date. Each site will have options for editing your listing in cases you made operational changes or moved to a new address.
- Don’t forget to add your menu information! Hungry users would love to see what kind of specials you serve up.
- Track those reviews! It’s a great way to find out what diners love about your business, as well as what they think you can improve on.
- Respond to reviews professionally, promptly, and politely. This shows that you’re a business owner who values customer feedback, and that your establishment takes the time to listen to what customers have to say.
- Post new content when you can. Include specials, promos, new menu items, and other types of information that would be helpful to anyone who’s visiting your business listing.
(Image credit: Hotel du Vin and Bistro)