How Online Reviews Can Attract Or Drive Away Restaurants Potential Customers

Short Description
With technological invasion in the F&B market, businesses are becoming totally digitalized.
  • Shahram Warsi
Restaurant India

The culinary industry is running on the word-of-mouth marketing which is by far the most powerful form of marketing tool for restaurants. Restaurants need more than advertising strategy or campaign in order to create awareness for their brand in the market. Getting informed about a venture from a friend or family goes a long way in the business.

With technological invasion in the F&B market, businesses are becoming totally digitalized. Restaurants are getting a lot of opportunities along with challenges to sustain in the market. One of the biggest challenges is to keep negative customer feedback posted on various social platforms at bay. Restaurants should learn how to deal with negative reviews for an effective brand presence. “In the age of social media, negative feedback is emerging as one of the biggest challenges for restaurateurs. People are one click away before building or ruining a brands image,” says Puneet Khurana, Owner, For God’s Cake.

Indian food industry is evolving as per customers' expectation and demand. People are trying new restaurants all the time. But before trying a new venture, they ensure whether the finalized destination is a good option or not by switching to social media platforms. Apart from checking the location and other important key points, they also check other customer reviews on the social platforms.

Online reviews range from positive to neutral to negative in some cases, depending on the mood and experience of the customers. With millennials being socially active, online reviews have become the key towards attracting or driving away potential customers. A negative online review is a big threat to a restaurant’s reputation which can ultimately cost the business. “We are trying to get live feedback from our customer’s in order to eliminate negative feedbacks on social media. And if people still put a negative comment, we are instantly reverting to them making them realize that their concern matters,” explains Anubhav Dubey, Co-owner, Chai Sutta Bar.   

Even though 10 positive reviews can encourage a person to eat at a specific restaurant, just one negative review can change their mind completely. Such is the impact of negative reviews. Thus, the reason why restaurants need to handle and effectively deal with negative reviews. Restaurants usually don’t understand the impact negative reviews bring to the business or lack the knowledge to properly deal with it. Thus, it is essential to plan in advance to eliminate such mishaps. Developing a plan with a digital marketing strategist for managing the online reputation and dealing with them is a smart business decision.

Developing instant feedback channels

People generally publish negative reviews about a restaurant when they can’t find a way to voice their concern with the business. If a restaurant starts providing its customer with instant feedback channels, the number of negative reviews is surely to decrease substantially. Restaurants should train their servers on the basis of asking customers about their dining experience. When asked sincerely, serious and honest feedback can be seen by the customers which will be beneficial for the restaurant’s business. Also providing an easy way to contact the management can further help in reducing negative online reviews. Some restaurants are using paper feedback forms which have been an effective way of knowing a customer’s problem and also eliminating negative reviews online. Introduction of restaurants tablet is another innovative approach which can aid in this issue.

Responding to online reviews

Many review platforms provide mechanisms to contact reviewers who post negative comments on social platforms. Restaurants should take advantage of this opportunity to respond to as many online reviews they can. Thus, making the people realize that their feedback is a matter of concern for the restaurant. Restaurants should thank customers for publishing good reviews and tend to the issues placed forth.

Therefore, it is mandatory that instead of getting distracted by negative reviews, one doesn’t let their time get monopolized.

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