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Farmhouse Chicago, a restaurant that’s been serving some of the best Midwestern fare in Chicago’s River North neighborhood since 2011, uses local and sustainable ingredients. The restaurant even uses their own rooftop garden as one of their local food sources.

It’s a one-of-a-kind restaurant concept that is sure to attract local customers. And when guests are craving Midwestern staples, it’s the place to go.

Why Restaurant Owners Need to Respond to Negative Restaurant Reviews

In addition to providing an experience guests enjoy, Farmhouse Chicago does a great job of responding to reviews.

The method in which consumers find restaurants today involves using online reviews as research. To attract new customers and keep loyal ones coming back, restaurants have to respond to reviews.

Customer who leave a review expect a response, but there’s a gap between what customers expect and what businesses are providing. 53 percent of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. But 63 percent say that a business has never responded to their review. 

This means that the process of responding to reviews is now a necessary part of running any restaurant. It shows customers you care.

Responding to reviews is important for your online brand reputation because it sends this message to potential guests — customers who have never been to your restaurant or who haven’t been in a few months: when current customers are less-than-satisfied, you take action to discuss and resolve their issues.

Here’s how to respond to negative reviews:

  1.     Apologize.
  2.     Explain that the issue is not okay.
  3.     Promise you’ll do better.
  4.     Ask the guest to come back.
  5.     Sign your name and leave your email address to take it offline.

Let’s dissect an example of a response from the owner of Farmhouse Chicago. The owner does a great job of responding to this negative review. 

Apologize 

The owner apologizes: “I’m sorry if your experience could’ve been better.”

Explain

“If you had any preferences with the seating, we would’ve been happy to accommodate if something else had been available. We are a tavern, but we do have an upstairs available for dining that is a little better on the ear.”

The explanation helps other readers understand from the restaurant’s perspective what went wrong and how the experience could have been better.

 

We’ll Do Better

“…You can get the kind of excellent experience we’re known for.” This part of the response tells potential guests that the restaurant can do better. It also tells the customer that the restaurant wants to show him or her that its staff can do better, too.

Give Us Another Chance

“I hope you’ll give us another chance…”

When you ask the customer to give you another chance, you are saying you care about their experience.

Sign Your Name 

The owner signs after the last sentence. The only thing that is missing from this response is an email address. 

Responding to negative reviews will help you build relationships with customers. Responses will build loyalty and inspire customer trust.

The responses will also help build a positive online brand reputation for customers to see. When a customer searches for a restaurant to go to on a Friday night, she will see you respond to reviews. The responses will factor into her decision.

Megan Wenzl

Megan is the Associate Editor for ReviewTrackers. She's a writer who is committed to finding useful information to help your business succeed. Megan holds an M.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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