The Rise of Restaurant Review Websites
Managing restaurant reviews?
So you should. In today’s age, diners can quickly become online critics. They’re posting online ratings and reviews of restaurants on multiple websites and making personal recommendations not only to their friends and family, but also to the 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 about your business.
Key Stats on Restaurant Reviews
Here are some numbers that show how reviews and ratings have shaped the restaurant 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.
- People are 25 percent more likely to consult reviews from other diners than professional critics, and more than 33 percent will not choose to eat in a restaurant with less than a 4-star rating.
- 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.
Whether they like it or not, restaurateurs 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 websites your business should know about, with information on how to claim your business profile or listing on each of the sites.
If you’re managing multiple business locations, our restaurant review software can help you track, respond to, and generate reviews across all these websites.
Restaurant Review Sites You Should Track
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 Yelp for Business page, just visit https://biz.yelp.com/. You can also check out the ReviewTrackers guide on claiming your Yelp page.
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 yet decided 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. You can also read the ReviewTrackers guide on claiming your OpenTable business profile.
Google is the world’s biggest search engine. It has also quickly become one of the most powerful restaurant discovery engines on the Web.
With services like Google Maps and Google My Business, Google connects millions of hungry diners with restaurants and local businesses every month. It also publishes Google restaurant reviews and ratings on its own 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 guide to Facebook Reviews and Recommendations for information on how to manage your page. You can also read our more comprehensive guide to Facebook Business Manager.
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.
Eat24 (now part of GrubHub)
Eat24 is a leading food delivery and pickup service whose growing network covers over 30,000 restaurants in over 1,500 cities. Reviews are organized according to varying types of information like location or cuisine.
In 2017, GrubHub bought Eat24 from Yelp. However, GrubHub plans to remove the Eat24 brand in the near future. Most of the listings that are part of Eat24 will be available on GrubHub.
You can join GrubHub by visiting http://get.grubhub.com/eat24.
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 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.
Zomato (previously Urbanspoon)
Urbanspoon, the leading local bar and restaurant guide, was acquired a few years ago by New Delhi-based restaurant portal Zomato.
The platform aggregates online restaurant reviews from professional food critics, bloggers, and diners. Zomato also offers the ability to filter searches according to restaurants’ neighborhood, cuisine type, special features (BYOB, gluten-free menu, etc.), price, and nearby locations.
If you don’t yet have a business listing on Zomato, visit: http://www.zomato.com/business#add. Or if you already have a listing and would like to claim it as your own, visit: http://www.zomato.com/business#ads.
MenuPages, also 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 https://get.grubhub.com/.
One of the first-ever companies to collect restaurant reviews and ratings, Zagat – founded in 1979 – has quickly become one of the top restaurant review sites today.
The website curates 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. This scale 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 and Google Street View.
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.
Best Practices: Restaurant Review Sites
As you claim your listing on these restaurant review sites, make sure you follow these simple tips and tricks.
Submit complete and correct business information. When you can, add as much information about your business: business name, category, phone number address, cuisine type, hours of operation, etc.
It’s extremely important that your listing contains information that is complete, correct, and up-to-date. Each site will have options for editing your listing in case you made operational changes or moved to a new address.
Manage restaurant reviews. Be active in monitoring and reading restaurant reviews posted by diners. It’s a great way to find out what they love about your business, as well as what they think you can improve on.
Also be sure to 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.
Stay responsive to customer needs. Restaurateurs who keep their fingers on the pulse of evolving diner demands and expectations are the ones most likely to succeed. Carefully manage your customer feedback. Then make adjustments based on what you learn. This can spell the difference between dining experiences that delight and experiences that don’t.