Restaurant online reputation management (ORM) is not limited to your online presence; it has everything to do with your overall operation, from the kitchen to the dining tables.
Everything you do impacts your reputation.
If you believe your restaurant is faring well without ORM, you could do so much better by practicing it. In this blog, we talk about how you can go about online reputation management for restaurants. We also provide tips on general restaurant housekeeping practices that ultimately influence reputation:
- Claim Your Listings on Industry-Related Platforms
- Encourage Positive Restaurant Reviews
- Monitor Your Online Reviews
- Respond to Reviews
- Be Present On-Site and Online
- Serve Good Food at the Right Price
- Keep Your License and Permits Updated
- Equip Your Employees With Customer Service Training
- Have a Budget for Complementaries
- Hire a Restaurant Reputations Expert
Let’s look into each of these restaurant online reputation management tips:
1. Claim Your Listings on Industry-Related Platforms
Taking charge of your listings is about managing your online identity with precision, to make it easy for your potential customers to find the essential details about your restaurant.
On top of social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, here are some websites to consider to manage restaurant reputations:
To make the most of your listings, below are restaurant online reputation management example approaches:
- Business information: Make sure your restaurant’s name, address and phone number are spot-on across all platforms. Consistent and accurate information builds trust and helps customers locate your establishment effortlessly.
- Operating hours: Provide detailed information about your operating hours and any special hours, especially during holidays or events. This transparency aids customers in planning their visits and reduces confusion and disappointment.
- In-platform features: If there’s a way for people to book a table, make sure it’s set up. Use the menu space to show off your offerings, and take advantage of features that allow you to post updates or promotions so your customers are informed.
2. Encourage Positive Restaurant Reviews
Reviews are strong social proof that tells a lot about your restaurant and the quality of your offerings and service. Even if your restaurant is generating reviews every now and then without a real restaurant review management strategy, you can take a more proactive approach for a regular stream of positive reviews.
On top of using a restaurant reputation management software to run campaigns, other ways you can generate positive restaurant reviews are:
- Ask in person at the right time, such as when diners are settling their bill or when you receive a compliment.
- Put in-store signages like QR codes that lead customers directly to your preferred platform when scanned.
- Highlight your reviews on social media, so others know which other platforms your restaurant is active.
3. Monitor Your Online Reviews
A restaurant review management strategy allows you to identify both opportunities and potential threats to your restaurant’s reputation. Restaurant review software is key to comprehensive review monitoring, so you don’t have to manually monitor brand mentions.
Here are reputation management example approaches to help you effectively navigate positive and negative feedback:
- Positive reviews are opportunities to shine. Showcase them proudly on your profiles, reinforcing the positive image of your restaurant that attracts more patrons.
- Negative reviews may pose a threat but are also a chance to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction. Turning a negative review into a positive customer engagement can leave a lasting impression.
If you’re dealing with fake reviews, make sure to report them to platform administrators.
4. Respond to Reviews
Not every positive review requires a detailed response in a restaurant review management strategy, but a simple “thank you” can go a long way. If the platform allows, utilize features such as “likes” to acknowledge appreciation.
For responding to negative reviews, we’ve listed some pointers below:
- Re-narrate your customers’ experience to show them you understand. This demonstrates that you’ve carefully considered their perspective.
- Apologize for your shortcomings. A genuine apology further acknowledges their concerns and expresses your commitment to improvement.
- Stay professional, even in the face of the most irate customers, by focusing on addressing the issue constructively.
- Offer to continue the conversation offline by providing contact information or suggest moving the discussion to a private channel.
5. Be Present On-Site and Online
Maintaining an active presence, both on-site and online, is vital for your restaurant’s reputation. While the core of restaurant operations involves face-to-face interactions with customers, an active online engagement strategy is equally important.
Below are some ways you can be more accommodating to your customers:
- Ask diners questions: Regularly make rounds to the tables to inquire about the dining experience, ensuring customers feel attended to and valued. Asking about the quality of the food and overall satisfaction demonstrates a commitment to customer satisfaction.
- Answer telephone calls: Whether it’s reservations, inquiries or feedback, a responsive approach over the phone enhances the overall customer experience. Clear communication and a friendly demeanor during interactions contribute to a positive perception.
- Engage online: While not every restaurant may require a website, having a presence on platforms like social media is indispensable. If you haven’t done so already, prioritize growing a social media presence. This allows you to promptly respond to inquiries, comments and reviews.
6. Serve Good Food at the Right Price
Behind any successful restaurant is the quality of its cuisine. Apart from making sure you offer delicious, well-prepared dishes that meet customer expectations, you also want to practice consistency in your cooking standards. This approach encourages positive word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat business.
When it comes to pricing, here are a few points to consider:
- Price your menu accordingly: Understand your target market and align menu prices with the value of your offerings. Factors like ingredient quality, preparation methods and the overall dining experience should guide your decisions. Fair pricing cultivates trust and a positive perception of your restaurant.
- Charge more for premium dishes, if any: Customers anticipate paying more for unique, high-quality dining experiences and specialty dishes. Clearly convey the value of your exotic dishes, emphasizing distinctive ingredients or culinary techniques justifying the higher price point.
- Try to experiment with your pricing: Periodically assess market trends, customer feedback and the performance of specific menu items. Then, experiment with promotions, discounts or seasonal pricing to gauge customer response and optimize your pricing strategy accordingly.
7. Keep Your License and Permits Updated
Ensuring your licenses and permits are up to date is more than a bureaucratic task – it’s a commitment to adhering to the rules and regulations governing the restaurant industry. It involves strict adherence to local, state and federal codes, regulations and safety standards that govern the entire spectrum of restaurant operations.
Here are a few key aspects of restaurant compliance:
- Food safety: It’s a non-negotiable to implement and consistently follow practices that ensure the safe handling, preparation, and serving of food. Compliance with these standards not only protects the health of your customers but also safeguards your restaurant’s reputation.
- Staff conduct: The behavior of your staff directly reflects on your restaurant. Compliance in staff conduct includes guidelines for professionalism, customer service and ethical behavior. Training your staff in this area contributes to a positive dining experience and fosters a welcoming atmosphere.
- Labor compensation: Fair and lawful employment practices include adhering to minimum wage requirements, overtime regulations and employee classification. Ensuring that your staff is compensated fairly fosters a positive work environment and mitigates associated legal risks.
8. Equip Your Employees With Customer Service Training
Effective customer service training goes beyond operational knowledge; you must equip employees with the skills and mindset to handle customer interactions positively, contributing to an enhanced overall dining experience that boosts your reputation.
To approach customer service training in a way that positively impacts online reputation management for restaurants, you must:
- Provide a handbook: Your employees should have a handbook outlining customer service protocols alongside operational procedures like food handling. It will be a reference guide, ensuring consistent and informed interactions with customers.
- Offer role-specific training: Different positions may require distinct customer service approaches. By customizing training, employees can better address the unique challenges and expectations associated with their roles.
- Implement regular training refreshers: Customer service skills benefit from regular reinforcement. This allows you to update employees on best practices, address emerging challenges and reinforce the importance of delivering exceptional customer experiences.
- Encourage internal feedback: Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable providing feedback on customer service training. This two-way communication ensures that training remains relevant and effective, addressing any evolving needs or concerns.
9. Have a Budget for Complementaries
Comping a meal is a gesture extended by restaurant owners, operators, managers, and occasionally servers to cover the cost of a guest’s meal, typically as an expression of hospitality. It is often employed in response to an issue that has arisen during the dining experience, although not always.
While comping can be a valuable tool in addressing challenges with customers, it should not be the default solution, as frequent use can significantly impact profits.
Many restaurants often comp meals for their loyal diners or “regulars,” here are more instances you may want to consider comping:
- Unreasonable delays for orders or service, be it due to kitchen or service issues.
- Kitchen errors encompassing undercooked dishes or incorrect orders.
- Sanitary concerns, such as the presence of foreign objects like hair or insects.
- Rude service, in case a staff member falls short of providing a satisfactory experience.
- Celebratory occasions, including birthday freebies, graduation, and other special days.
10. Hire a Restaurant Reputations Expert
As with any tool, using a restaurant review software may imply a steep learning curve. While you can subscribe to access restaurant reputation management software, it may be wiser to have a professional assist you. This way, you can start growing and protecting your reputation.
Bringing expertise to your team always results in better returns. Just as you would hire a chef who knows their craft, you can take a similar approach and hire experts on online reputation management for restaurants.
Rize Reviews employs restaurant reputation management software without neglecting the human touch in our messaging.
Talk to our team if you want more reputation management example tips and tricks.