Restaurant reputation management can mean the difference between a packed house or a slow Friday night with empty tables and no one on the waitlist.
Cultivating a positive online reputation helps you stand out among local competitors. Research shows that 35 percent of all search traffic is local, and those consumers are looking at a business’s digital reputation and reviews before they decide to visit.
To grow that reputation, you’ll need to perform four major actions to ensure you have a firm grip on the customer’s perception of a restaurant. They are:
- Claim listings on multiple sites
- Utilize social media platforms
- Create an amazing in-house experience
- Monitor and respond to reviews
Claim Listings on Multiple Sites
This seems like an obvious step, but it’s absolutely paramount that you claim your business listing on as many sites as possible including Google, Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. This allows you to have a larger online footprint by casting a wider net when it comes to attracting potential customers.
In some cases, you’ll even get an early head start on the competition. A 2019 report from BrandMuscle revealed that only 46 percent of its partners who were knowledgeable about marketing ROI claimed their business listings on Yelp. The percentage of business listings drops even lower on sites like Yahoo (28 percent), the Better Business Bureau (21 percent) and Foursquare (9 percent).
Claiming your listings also has the added benefit of cementing your digital authority. Customers will know that all of your online listings are officially handled by someone affiliated with the restaurant.
This means that you also need to make sure that basic information (address, phone number, hours of operation) are updated and correct across all listings. Incorrect or misleading data is more than enough to convince any consumer to look for other options.
Utilize Social Media
Simply having listings isn’t enough to bring in new customers. You also need to engage with them through social media channels. Research shows that social media is a popular medium for 75 percent of independent restaurants and 59 percent of franchises and chain establishments.
Engagement can be as simple as responding to customers or posting compelling content through photos or videos. However, it’s important that you can interact in a way that is inviting or cordial towards current and prospective consumers.
The overall tone within social media platforms is casual so make sure that your engagement efforts match that casual level. A simple exchange between you and a consumer doesn’t even need to include any marketing about the restaurant in order for them to see the business in a positive light.
Create Amazing Dining Experiences
A glowing reputation may precede the restaurant digitally, but make sure that it matches the actual dining experience. After all, a top-notch experience will turn 60 percent of diners into loyal patrons.
You can do this with a highly motivated staff that constantly engages with customers from the moment they come through the door to when they pay their check.
You can further enhance a customer’s experience and sentiment towards the restaurant with personalized approaches. This can be as simple as remembering their name or favorite drink.
These small details have a massive impact down the road and helps create a growing batch of loyal customers who can further embellish the restaurant’s reputation with rave reviews.
Monitor and Respond to Reviews
Doing so gives you the opportunity to improve consumer perceptions of the restaurant, which drives new customer acquisition. Research shows that 55.5 percent of consumers view reviews as influential when choosing a new restaurant so make sure that they see you engaging with customers.
One of the best forms of engagement comes from responding to customer reviews, but it’s even more important to respond to negative feedback. By crafting a well-written and on-brand response, you show the reviewer and potential customers that you care about the feedback and use the pain points brought up in the review to improve the experience.
Responding to negative reviews is also enough to convince 44.6 percent of customers to visit the business. With just a few words, you can turn a negative aspect of your online brand into a positive factor that attracts more customers.
The Benefits of A Great Restaurant Reputation Management
Most searchers are looking to convert within 48 hours of their initial search, and a glowing reputation for your restaurant makes it easier for them to make a purchase decision.
Creating a positive reputation isn’t easy, especially in the competitive restaurant industry, but starting and improving on the four actions above can pay off in the long run with great reviews, more customers, and higher revenue.