A Few Ways Restaurants Can Use Online Reviews to Increase Sales

One of the biggest issues with promoting your restaurant is understanding your customers, and how they think and feel. Traditionally, in the field of marketing, there has been an attempt to capture this with surveys, but this method has limited effectiveness. Many people whose opinions may be the most important are not captured by survey results because they are not likely to take a survey. These are usually the people who have a lot of criticism. Surveys often capture the thoughts of your happiest customers. However, in today’s world of social media, online reviews are easy to do and represent the most accurate response of you customer base as possible. The problem is how to capture, analyze and utilize these online reviews. To this end, there are online review management firms that can do this work for you. The following are just a few things that they can accomplish.

They can gather data
One of the biggest issues with online reviews is gathering them and then having the ability to sort through them. Naturally, this can be done manually, but a firm will have software that can do all of this automatically. You can then look at your reviews in a variety of ways. Most likely you will want to focus on criticism. Although many people complain about things that you can’t change or are simply reviews expressing displeasure over the cuisine you serve, which is simply a matter of taste, there are many improvements you can make. Perhaps customers like your food but are consistently complaining about the time it takes to get their food, or maybe the service is quick, but the food is not as hot as it should be. Quite often with a restaurant, there will be certain dishes that customers are fond of but other dishes they will tell others to avoid. With this information, you will be able to attempt to improve the dishes that are most criticized on your menu, or perhaps make changes to your menu. The type of criticism contained in reviews can lead to an improved restaurant. However, it is with review management that can help sort these criticisms and quantify them, so you will know which problem is considered the biggest issue and which of them the lessor issues.

Reviews can be monitored for each location
If you have more than one location, it is critical that you understand customer responses for each restaurant. It is not uncommon for a restaurant to be popular at one location but not as much as another. Sometimes your clientele may like a new location because it is more comfortable than your older locations, but sometimes it is the older location that is favored because the recipes for your dishes are not being repeated properly at the new location. This can be a quality control issue that you may be able to fix, but it is the customer reviews, when properly analyzed, that will give you this information.

You can respond to customer reviews
Often this type of management company will allow you to respond to reviews. Although this is something that you can do yourself, by having everything sorted and easy to read, you can focus on responding to certain reviews quickly. This is especially important if there has been a recent problem in one of your restaurants, and you have been able to rectify the issue. In a response, you will be able to explain how this issue was resolved. This type of quick response to a bad review due to a recent problem can often help to prevent losing any of your current customers.

The most important and effective way to understand and respond to the restaurant customer experience is through online reviews. There are now online review management companies that have robust software to capture all of the reviews on the most important review sites, and then process them so that this data becomes easy to use.

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