67% of restaurant goers look at reviews before choosing where they will dine out. There’s no doubting that reviews are important for the success of your restaurant, and having a strategy to ensure you are number one, or at least on the first page of results, is essential. The problem is that there is a myriad of review sites out there: Yelp, Facebook, Google, Trip Advisor, Zomato, UrbanSpoon…how does one keep an eye on all of these sites?
Here are 5 tips on staying at the top of review sites.
1. Choose where to focus your energies
TripAdvisor, Zomato, UrbanSpoon: while it is incredibly important for searchability and SEO to be listed on these sites, they are less used than the big three (Yelp, Facebook, Google). When just starting out with reviews be sure to claim all of your pages on the various sites, but set your sights on the Big Three. Be sure you get email and/or push notifications when a new review comes in so you can address it quickly.
2. Optimize your listing
SEO isn’t just for your website. Be sure you have the right keywords in your description and fill your profile out. This will help your searchability within the review platform so when a potential guest is searching for their next bite of breakfast, you’ll pop up.
3. Respond to every review
We already wrote an extensive post on How To Respond To Bad (and good) Reviews. You’ll learn how to craft a message, when to respond, how to respond, and how to keep your cool when it’s a bad review. That can’t be stressed enough: keep your cool.
4. Ask for reviews
Pro tip: the more reviews you have, the less harmful a one star review will be to your overall rating. If you have only 15 reviews and you get two one star reviews in a row it could potentially knock you down a star. But if you have 200, one star reviews are just a drop in the pond.
You can put a Yelp badge on your window or put a QR code on a caddy card that links guests directly to your Yelp page. Let your customers know you’re on Yelp. Develop a strategy for asking for reviews and put it into your training for new employees. Incentivize them to ask for more reviews. Have a reward if they are mentioned positively in a review. Be sure you aren’t breaking any of the platforms’ terms of service in how you are asking for reviews though!
5. Use the reviews wisely
Reviews are an excellent form of customer feedback. Sometimes it can feel like all you get are complaints, but take those complaints and use them as a tool for improvement. Getting customer feedback will make your establishment stronger and develop return guests. We wrote a great article on How To Get Customer Feedback For Your Restaurant if you’d like to learn more.
The bottom line is simple: claim and optimize your pages on as many platforms as you can manage, ask for reviews, and respond to those reviews. A simple three step process. Ranking high on review sites will help drive new customers into your restaurant and develop longer term relationships with returning guests.