Monthly Archives: June 2017

Bad Restaurant Reviews

Bad restaurant reviews can really hurt a nice established restaurant when trying to entice potential customers. Bad restaurant reviews can often be placed online to try and slander the owner of a business: maybe an ex employee or one upset customer out to revenge an isolated bad incident. Many times the complaint may have not surfaced online if it was properly managed prior to it making the web.

The good news is, bad reviews online of restaurants can be properly addressed. The best way to fix these is to actually have a plan in place to first, handle them when they come and secondly, try to prevent them from surfacing where other people can see these reviews like online reviews sites and social media sites.

You may want to offer your customers a way to express their opinions and give input in the way of review type cards. It is going to take some careful planning and a system set in place, though, to insure that the bad ones get handled in a timely manner so that the unhappy customer does not have a chance to get out of the place of business and the bad experience brews and brews within them. This is how bad opinions make it to the public or to friends and relatives of that customer.

Many times the customer who left the bad review just wants their input valued and just wants to know that the situation is at least attempted to be resolved. The worst thing an unhappy customer can feel is that nobody is listening or cares about their complaint. There are many customers and consumers out there who just want to be heard. By offering a way to try and make it right you have already fixed part of the problem and have offered a solution.

The first part kind of aids the second part of the equation: preventing these bad reviews from surfacing where the public knows about them or the recipient of the complaint tells others – creating bad word of mouth for your establishment.

If you are really proactive in the first step: handling the bad reviews when they come in, you could very well automatically improve this 2nd step. However, it is not always possible to catch people with a solution before they leave your establishment.

The best way you can prevent these types of bad restaurant reviews from showing up to the public is to have a system where you are handling them when they happen and to some how direct the good reviews to where people will actually see the reviews: most likely on online review sites like Yelp, Google plus, Trip Advisor etc.

A Good Restaurant Review

Are you one of those restaurant diners who are looking for a reliable restaurant review and are often confused by the myriad of different restaurant critics and diners comments that are out there on the web? Or, have you found that your expectations created from a restaurant review have not lived up to the diners comments or critics reviews?

With over 23,000 restaurants in New Jersey alone to choose from, and approximately 80 percent of the new restaurants failing in the first 3 years, it’s no wonder restaurant diners are having a difficult time choosing where to dine. This process becomes especially difficult when attempting to choose a fine dining restaurant where the preparation and quality of food is to be taken into account along with the decor, and/or atmosphere, and service.

Here is what to look for when searching the web or reading a publication that rates and reviews a restaurant.

The Five Most Important Points to Look for in a Good Restaurant Review.

  1. Recognize that all restaurants have off-nights and that all restaurant critics and diners have had experiences that may or may not be representative of the restaurants performance.
  2. Seek out and research the opinions of the different components of the dining public. The dining public includes the serious restaurant diner, the casual restaurant diner, as well as the professional restaurant critic. These are the very people that get out to eat at restaurants and who ultimately determine the performance and success of a restaurant.
  3. Be aware of outdated reviews of restaurants that have since changed owners, executive chefs, and wait staffs that render their reviews valueless.
  4. If you are researching the web and/or publications, try to find a consensus amongst the reviews and give little value to the review that is way out of line with the consensus, good or bad. Weigh the quality of the comments as well as the quantity of the comments.
  5. Many restaurant owners say that they don’t take much stock in restaurant reviews. However, they are quick to put up plaques at the entrance of their restaurant that provide favorable commentary from restaurant critics, or post these reviews on their restaurant web site. Be careful to note the date on these reviews and to check for restaurant owners and executive chefs who are no longer there.

How to Write Restaurant

Not only can writing restaurant reviews be an enjoyable experience because you can try all sorts of different foods, it can also be a creative way to express your opinion. There are a number of different rules to follow when writing a quality review. It is important that you understand how to determine the quality of food as well as the restaurant.

The following list highlights a number of tips on how to write a restaurant review:

1. Restaurant Selection: Pick a restaurant that you find interesting and make a reservation. Make sure that it is food that you normally eat and like.

2. Restaurant Features: When you dine at the restaurant, note the decor, atmosphere, wait staff, kitchen staff, parking, cleanliness, other diners, and location.

3. Write Review: Right after dining, find a place to write a review.

4. Describe your Impression of the Style and Decor of the Restaurant: This includes color scheme, decorations, themes, and seating arrangement. Describe the arrangement of the table. Also, you should discuss the exterior of the restaurant. Is it in an accessible location? How was the parking? Was the exterior attractive?

5. Dicuss the Patrons and Staff. What types of people were dining at the restaurant? (Professionals, families, informal diners) Was the staff helpful and nice? Did you have to wait long to receive your food? Did you have to wait long for a server?

6. Discuss the Food: What type of food does the restaurant serve? (Italian, Mexican, Fast Food… etc.) Provide a few of the different foods they offer as well as the cost. Was your food the right temperature? How did the food taste? Was it fully cooked? Was the plate of food appealing to look at? What did you like? Was there anything you did not like? Was the food mushy or have a nice texture? How fresh was the food? Did the food have a nice aroma? Was the review worth the price you paid? The food must have the most words in the review.

7. Organization of the Review: Structure the review chronologically. Write about the moment you entered the restaurant until you paid and left. Write with clear and concise words. Keep topic discussions together and not scattered throughout the review. Use vivid words like amazing, breath taking. Discuss the ingredients. Write using your own personality to make it unique. Don’t make your review a story about your visit to the restaurant. What makes the restaurant so unique? Make sure you provide a recommendation.

8. Writing Mechanics: Describe the restaurant in the present tense. Write in the second person or using a passive tense. Do not make the sentences too short. The review should flow when one is reading it. Avoid pronouns as much as possible.

Writing a review that includes a variety of features about the restaurant will make your review very professional. By implementing a number of writing tips, your review will educate and inform the consumer. Writing a review is an enjoyable way to express your view.

Easily Get Restaurant Reviews

These days, people don’t buy anything without reading reviews first. Amazon.com is the world’s favorite shopping mall. Visitors look for an item that is both heavily reviewed and has a mostly positive rating. There is suspicion of items that have no reviews, as that means to most folks that the business is probably new and the item they’re looking at is of questionable quality. Positive customer reviews weigh in big time within the consumer psyche and the convenience at which reviews can be posted means that every interaction with a customer is a potential opportunity to make or break many future sales. These ideas began with the retail industry, and they’ve spread like wildfire to restaurants.

So, should you ask for reviews or not? Let’s review the pros and cons:

PROS

Incentivizing is a great motivator for everything in the world. If you want reviews from your customers, offer them something of value. Asking for reviews isn’t bad as long as you’re not flat-out paying for them. Put something fun together: drop review submitters’ names into a monthly raffle for a free lunch, pick a top reviewer and send them to an exotic themed vacation (think Olive Garden sending families to Italy), have your top chef prepare dinner for a certain special patron. There are tons of ideas that involve a thematic approach to incentivized rewards versus just handing out cash. Get your patrons involved and excited and reap the benefits of a truly passionate reviewer!

If you choose to nudge patrons in the right direction, make it easy for them. Offering them a comment card is one way to go, and you can put that review up on your website, but how can you get the word out on UrbanSpoon or Yelp, two of the most popular restaurant review sites? You’ve got to tell customers where to submit their feedback. “Search for us on UrbanSpoon!” is a quick, easy and non-pushy way to let people know you’re active on that site. Make sure to develop a way to track your review-submitting patrons so that you can reward them. You’ll generally receive an email notification when a review is submitted to either one of those sites.

Posting restaurant reviews can be fun! Think about the power of mobile Smartphone applications: a patron can take a picture of your menu (or their meal plate) on their phone and post it online instantly, even while they’re still eating their Southwest Quesadilla Special. They can then immediately “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” your business based on their experience. This is incredibly helpful to other customers. PRO TIP: Consider taking clear pictures of your menu and your location and uploading them to review sites before someone else does. Doing so helps potential new customers decide if they want to eat at your establishment by taking the guesswork out of what you’ve got to offer. The more information that’s readily available about your business, the better.

CONS

The first question you need to ask yourself honestly is this: “Is my restaurant ready to be reviewed?” Many restaurant owners get antsy and jump the gun, so to speak, in taking steps to force reviews. They may have had a slow grand opening and think that getting “good press” on sites like UrbanSpoon and Yelp is the only way to stay operative. These sites are dynamite for influencing potential customers, but hard selling reviews is not the way to go. If your restaurant isn’t 100% where you want it to be at, incentivizing reviews could also mean reminding people that they can post negative reviews, too. As many small business owners have learned, one negative review that’s boosted to the front page of Google can spell doom for their business. Just like a positive review can encourage new folks to try an unfamiliar restaurant, a negative review can drive just as many away. Lesson: don’t force reviews if you’re not ready for them.

Positive reviews from non-incentivized customers will almost always feel more “real.” So although it may take longer to get a review, it may be worth your wait.

Have you ever read a restaurant review and just known that it was the owner writing it, or one of the company’s employees? How did that make you feel? Most consumers who feel like they’ve experienced a fake review will immediately go elsewhere, with a permanent sense of distrust in that business.

Some review databases (like Yelp) frown on incentivized/paid reviews. They’ll go as far to delete over-zealous, fake sounding reviews in order to keep their site “honest.” In this case, it may not be worth the investment to reward a reviewer.

If your restaurant is outstanding on both service and menu fronts, you may not have to encourage review submittal at all. A new patron should be so floored after having left your establishment that they want to share their experience with the world. Have you ever been to a restaurant where the server was “on it,” the food was excellent, the wait was nonexistent, and the atmosphere was just fun? I bet you wanted to tell people about it. This same theory applies to restaurant reviews: provide an entirely excellent experience at every point of contact and expect to be rewarded for your hard work.

The answer is up to you. If you can solicit reviews in a fun, creative way, that plan might work out well for your business. Beware of over-incentivizing; remember you want honest reviews, not a bunch of fluff. No doubt, reviews are a superb way to generate new business. You might even say they’ve become essential in today’s world of infinite information. Keep in mind that consistently great service will be rewarded with words of praise, so keep your bar set high, your plates clean, drinks full, food hot, and staff friendly. You’ll eventually get to the point where you don’t need to solicit reviews anymore, they’ll just come naturally.