Earn Digital Applause: 5 Ways to Improve Your Restaurant's O

Earn Digital Applause: 5 Ways to Improve Your Restaurant's Online Reviews

Earn Digital Applause: 5 Ways to Improve Your Restaurant's Online Reviews

In the competitive restaurant industry, online reviews are more important than ever. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 77 percent of consumers “always” or “regularly” read online reviews when evaluating local businesses. 

When it comes to restaurants, several factors—such as the quality of food, server attentiveness, and order precision—can affect reviews. With the proliferation of off-premise dining, customers might also review online ordering and take-out experiences associated with a brand. 

Reviews should be a strategic part of any restaurant brand’s marketing and growth plans. Not only do they spread the word about your business, but also they can improve your overall search engine rankings. The more positive reviews you amass, the less impact the inevitable negative review will have. Google, Yelp, and Tripadvisor are the major players to consider, but savvy diners also use sites such as OpenTable and Resy.  Reviews can also come in the form of “@” mentions on social media (but more on that later). 

Here, we share a few pro tips to help restaurant operators get more—and better—online reviews. We’ll also show you how having the right POS (Point of Sale) system can support your efforts to impress customers. 

1. Make it easy for customers to review your business 

If you’re looking to gather more positive online reviews for your restaurant, it’s critical to make it easy for customers to find and rate you. An easy-to-navigate, user-friendly website is an essential tool in this endeavor, and it should be optimized for mobile experiences. 

Make sure your website has clear links to whichever online review sites you would like to be rated on (you should at least be on Google and Yelp). Keep your Google Business profile—which you can create for free—updated with accurate contact information and hours of operation. You can also remind customers to review the restaurant on receipts or via QR codes on your tables. 

2. Don’t forget about social media influence 

Your website and menu should also contain links to your restaurant’s social media accounts since many customers prefer to leave “reviews” in the form of “@” mentions or user-generated content such as photos and videos. 

If your atmosphere and your presentation are “Instagram worthy,” users will be more likely to snap up pics or videos to share with friends — this is one of the best ways to promote your business. In fact, 45% of US diners said they’ve tried a restaurant for the first time after seeing a social media post. Beyond that, consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by brands.

SEE ALSO: How to Use Social Media to Increase Sales

3. Capitalize on compliments in real-time 

When customers take the time to praise the food or service at your restaurant—either in person or over the phone—ask for a review right then and there. You can say: “Thank you. We’d greatly appreciate it if you could spread the word and leave us a review when you have a chance.” 

Remember, the foundation of a positive review is rooted in good service and food. Focus on providing the best experience possible—whether that be in-store, in-app, or delivery—and favorable reviews will follow. 

4. Ask, and you shall receive  

Many restaurant operators and managers don’t think to ask customers directly for reviews, but this is actually a very effective strategy. Don't hesitate to invite your most loyal customers to contribute honest online reviews. Additionally, consider training your staff to extend the invitation. It's important to note that offering incentives like complimentary food or beverages in exchange for positive reviews is discouraged, as it may be perceived as an ethical breach. 

5. Respond to reviews promptly (even the bad ones) 

Although it is never fun to receive negative feedback, it happens to even the best restaurateurs eventually. Make time to reply to each and every online review if possible, even if it is just a quick “We’re glad you enjoyed your time here.” When the inevitable negative review does come, respond promptly and honestly to those, too. It shows that you care, and you can always invite bad reviewers back to make up for their experience. 

Responding to negative reviews builds trust and shows that you value customer feedback. Eighty-nine percent of consumers are ‘highly' or 'fairly' likely to use a business that responds to all of its customers, while 57 percent say they would be 'not very' or 'not at all' likely to use a business that doesn't respond to reviews at all. You can choose to respond publicly or privately—just remember to keep it diplomatic and professional.

BONUS: Using the right POS can improve operations and increase positive reviews

A powerful, flexible, and robust POS (Point of Sale) system wears multiple hats in the journey to enhanced online reviews, bolstering restaurant operations in these diverse ways:

Improving the precision of orders: The accuracy of customer orders takes center stage. A robust POS system meticulously tracks and processes orders, effectively minimizing errors that often result in dissatisfaction and negative reviews. 

With a Kitchen Display System, for example, the risk of bottlenecks and mistakes in the kitchen is drastically reduced as there is no physical chit that can be misread, damaged, or lost. Instead, BOH and FOH staff can see orders and order status on a screen, ensuring that everyone knows what is happening and which orders are falling out of the goal time range. 

Making it easy to provide excellent customer service: Efficient management of customer needs rests at the core of a POS system's capabilities. With seamless online ordering, effective table management, and enhanced communications such as real-time text and email updates, a POS can pave the way for an elevated customer experience, fostering more positive reviews.

Optimizing staff performance: with a POS that collects data, you have a full picture of your guests’ experience, even a breakdown of their length of stay and the average time each server spends on a table. Using this data, you can see which servers need additional training. Because the data also includes back of house, you can also pinpoint bottlenecks in the kitchen that may be increasing overall wait times and work to rectify them.

Offering personalized experiences: POS system's adeptness in tracking customer preferences allows for a tailored dining experience. This personal touch resonates with patrons and subsequently heightens customer satisfaction.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, online reviews hold immense power. However, restaurateurs can be proactive when it comes to enhancing their digital reputation. 

A fast, flexible, and reliable POS system—equipped with a wealth of insights and tools—stands as a robust pillar of support for restaurants aiming to deliver exceptional customer experiences. This elevation in performance plays a pivotal role in fostering a surge of affirmative online reviews.

For over 20 years, RPOWER POS has been a leader in the restaurant software industry, supporting countless businesses to improve operations and enhance their profitability. If you want to learn more about our powerful POS solution and how it can help your business, please contact us today.

Have any questions? We are happy to help!