What is the connection between online reviews and your restaurant's success? Below, I will show you exactly what online reviews are, why they matter, and how they can impact the success of your restaurant.
Back in the old days, word-of-mouth was the primary form of marketing used by restaurants to get new customers. With technology literally at our fingertips, we can leverage the internet to figure out just about anything in a few seconds, like finding online reviews to that new restaurant down the block. This is our new version of word-of-mouth marketing.
We can all agree that online reviews affect our decision making as humans for good or bad. With the rise of online review sites, such as Google and Yelp, now is the most important time to maintain your restaurant's online reputation. This will make or break the customer's buying decision. In fact, studies have shown that consumers will spend around 31% more on services and products that have good reviews, versus competitors who don't have great reviews. Let's jump in and see what actually are online reviews, why they matter, and how you can maintain your business's online presence with ease.
What Exactly Are Online Reviews?
Online reviews are past customer's personal feedback that they share with other future, potential customers through various sources on the internet like Facebook, Yelp, and Google, that influence the possibility of further transactions to your restaurant. As you can tell from that definition, they're really critical to your restaurant's success. These reviews can either be positive or negative and usually, come with a star rating that can give customer's an easy way to skim over multiple restaurants to figure out which are good enough (or bad enough) to go eat at.
Why Should I Care About These Online Reviews?
In today's society, everyone you know is reading multiple online reviews a week. 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 68% of these people form an opinion by just reading one to six online reviews. And then 93% say online reviews influence their purchasing decision.
We live in an age where we constantly crave more information to save us time and money on making decisions in our day to day life. Online reviews are one of the easiest and simplest forms of personal recommendations to look at before making a decision.
Okay, I know that was a lot of stats. Now I'll show you the impact of what good reviews do for your restaurant, and what bad reviews do for your restaurant. The impact of bad reviews might surprise you, but just know that you can leverage bad reviews to win over your potential customers, let's take a look below.
Impact of Good Reviews on Your Restaurant
Great online reviews are your best friend in the restaurant industry. I'm sure you're aware of how crucial they are already, but if you're not, I got a treat for you. Below is a list of reasons why your restaurant has to have good reviews.
#1 Increased Revenue
Good reviews = more butts in seats. Customers eat up good online reviews (no pun intended). A one-star increase on Yelp leads to a 5 to 9 percent increase in a business's revenue. That stat is eye-opening. By collecting great, online reviews your restaurant can go from $250k/year revenue to $273k/year revenue. What could your restaurant do with an extra $23k per year?
#2 Specific Customer Feedback
Now before you read the title and think about all the Karen's you've had in your restaurant leave bad reviews on Yelp, hear me out. Most of the time, you get very high-quality feedback from online reviews that you need to hear to improve on practices at your restaurant, or just have customers praising your restaurant to other potential customers.
For the customer to take time out of their own day to leave you a review is a good sign, especially when they're good reviews. This is huge for social validation on letting other cool customers know that your restaurant is the spot to go to in town. Especially since 97% of these people use an online media presence to shop locally in their area.
#3 High Search Engine Rankings
The number of reviews, the quality of these reviews, and the diversity of them affect where you appear in Google's search engines. In a study done in 2018, it showed that just those 3 factors with online reviews are 6.47% of your local search ranking factor. To sum it up, all you need to focus on is getting more and better reviews from multiple customers, which can allow you to push up a few pages on Google's search engine and rank higher than the other local restaurants in your area.
Impact of Negative Reviews on Your Restaurant
The cons of negative reviews far outweigh the pros of good reviews. You need to manage these bad online reviews and deal with them or your customers will go elsewhere to seek out a better experience. Here are a few reasons below we've found that have the most impact on your restaurant with negative online reviews.
#1 Potential Customer's Won't Show Up
3.3 stars is the minimum amount that customers would even consider doing business with. 57% of people filter restaurants that are at least a 4 star. Basically, if you have multiple bad online reviews, customers won't show up to eat your food. That's why you obviously want more good reviews than bad ones. A general rule of thumb you should try to aim for is at LEAST an average star rating of 4 out of 5 to keep potential customers running through your doors.
#2 Potential Customer's Will Change Their Mind
This is similar to the one above but a little worse in my opinion. These customers will plan on going to your restaurant and before they get there, will notice you have bad reviews and turn right back around to another restaurant. To prove my point, 4 out of 5 consumers will change their mind just from bad reviews. Not all of these reasons can be terrible though, and this next one I'm going to talk about will most likely shock you.
#3 Negative Reviews Can Be Where You Beat Your Competition
Not all of these impacts are negative. I wanted to give you a little more clarity on these negative reviews, while most of the time they're not good for your business, you can also leverage them into customer's who will love you. You see in the restaurant industry, customer service is absolutely crucial to your restaurant's success.
It's inevitable that your restaurant will mess up a time or two, and a customer will leave an unhappy review online. You can use this opportunity to respond in a fast manner and help the customer. Here are a few tips I'll give you.
- Write like you're a person, not a business
- Be real and admit your mistakes
- Take it offline (give the customer a gift card, discount, free meal, etc.)
- Correct the problem
And the last one which is one of the most important...
#5 Manage all of your Online Reviews Quickly!
This can be a little hard, especially since managing a restaurant is extremely time-consuming. Checkle makes this really easy by managing all of your online reviews in one place.
Why Use Checkle for Online Review Management?
We take all your reviews and put them in one place so you can easily find them. This is helpful for people that manage one venue, but even more helpful for places that have several different venues. Every venue has 8 different profiles on average (think Google, Facebook, Yelp, OpenTable, etc) and we bring them all into one place. This scales quickly with every venue you are managing. With 4 venues you'd have 32 different profiles to keep up with. With Checkle, all 32 profiles come into one feed so you never miss any reviews.
We import reviews from 13 different places.
- Yellow Pages
If you want to get started just go to Checkle.com and click the orange "Start For Free" button on the home page at the top. Our on-boarding is quick and can be done in less than two minutes. Try it for free for a couple weeks!