Diners these days can quickly become online food critics. Restaurant review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon, and Foursquare have given today’s consumers more freedom than ever to talk about what they eat and where they eat, as well as share their dining experiences to the public.
If you’re a restaurateur, it’s important to monitor restaurant reviews and listen closely to what your customers are saying online. After all, these reviews affect your business reputation – and can significantly influence the thought process of people looking to decide where they want to eat.
It also goes without saying that it’s pretty important to know what diners don’t like – and what would make them criticize your restaurant and share a negative opinion of it on the Internet.
Thankfully, Urbanspoon decided to dig deeper into this matter when the restaurant reviews and information app compiled a list of what diners complain about the most. The research is based on reviews the site has collected, as well as information from experts, professional food critics, and bloggers.
Check out the below list and see if your restaurant is guilty of any of the items. And if so, make sure you resolve it ASAP to avoid the bad reviews that will blemish your online reputation.
15. Missing items: Diners don’t want to have to ask for a plate, fork, knife, teaspoon, etc. that should already have been set on their table anyway.
14. Weak alcoholic drinks: If they ordered rum coke, they have to be able to at least taste the “rum” part. Tell your bartender not to skimp on the alcohol, especially if customers are paying like 10 bucks for a drink.
13. Impossible to understand menus: Hey, people want to know what they’re ordering. If your menu items are clouded in mysterious, esoteric language, you better start changing the language, adding descriptions, and making the ordering process more accessible.
12. Noisy customers: Have a policy in place – or a muscular bouncer – for controlling noise levels in your establishment.
11. Nosy patrons: According to Urbanspoon reviews, people don’t want other diners listening in to their conversations. See if there’s something you could do about this: maybe consider rearranging your table setup?
10. Incomplete groups being unable to sit: Guests don’t like having to wait for the rest of the party just to be able to take a seat at their reserved table.
9. Dirty glasses and silverware: No explanation needed for this one. But keep in mind: your low health inspection scores can lead to really bad reviews.
8. Phone calls at the table: Like having noisy or nosy patrons, this one can be out of your control. But not totally: it’s important to implement a policy to ensure that everyone – including your customers – treats each other with respect and proper table etiquette.
7. Couples who are too affectionate with each other in public: As one would say, “Get a room!”
6. Typo errors in the menu: Maybe only grammar Nazis would be irritated with this one, but it’s still no excuse for you to be lazy. A professional-looking (and professionally written) menu is a must!
5. Long, unexplained waiting times: Hey, people want to eat. If they have to stand outside to wait and get a table, at least offer an explanation.
4. No alternatives or substitutions: Diners are more sophisticated than ever. To help improve your business reputation, ask your chef to come up with alternatives and substitutes for those who have strict dietary requirements.
3. Food that arrives too fast. Here’s the right order: appetizers, entrees, then desserts. Not all at once! If you can’t sort that out, you’re probably in the wrong business.
2. Slow service: This is certainly bound to frustrate any hungry customer. If the main entrée does take awhile to prepare, serve them free bread or whatever. And train your waiters to make sure they’re always attentive to the needs (and stomachs) of waiting diners.
1. Unsupervised, badly behaved kids: Children have to eat, of course. But if they’re running circles inside your restaurant, it’s time to talk to their parents or guardians and ask the young ones to behave.