The Dos and Don’ts of Online Reviews

Online reviews can be intimidating for any restaurateur. While running a successful restaurant requires managing every aspect of the business, online reviews can seem like they’re out of your hands. And while you can’t write your own reviews, there are a number of best practices you can rely on to encourage positive reviews and reduce the impact of negative online comments.

How to Increase Positive Online Reviews of Your Restaurant 

Hungry diners often read online reviews as they search GrubHub for a restaurant that will deliver the goods. Here are some helpful tips to get more positive, sales-boosting reviews of your restaurant.

  • Identify your power customers. Nearly everyone who dines at your restaurant will have a great experience and a small percentage of customers will be over-the-moon about your establishment. These advocates always recommend your restaurant to friends, and they are more likely than anyone else to write a glowing online review. Get to know these folks, and point them out to your staff. Every time they walk through the doors, they should feel right at home.
  • Pay attention to details. The food is always important, but diners tend to remember the little things about your restaurant that make it so special. Whether it’s a waiter who had the perfect recommendation for a gluten-free diet or a tastefully curated playlist in the dining room, your customers are much more likely to share what made your restaurant special.
  • Thank your customers who write positive reviews. While you must do everything you can to deliver a memorable experience to your customers, it’s also important to actively manage online reviews. Taking the time to say “thank you” to reviewers who took the time to praise your restaurant will strengthen the relationship even more. It also shows the public that you are in touch with and appreciative of your customers.

How to Manage Negative Online Reviews of Your Restaurant

Negative online reviews are a reality for every restaurant. Here are some do’s and don’ts to manage them effectively.

Do:

  • Keep it in perspective. You’re never going to please everyone and keep that in mind when you read negative reviews. Have faith in the democratizing power of the Internet. If you’re delivering quality food and exceptional service, positive online reviews will outweigh the negative ones.
  • Address the issues internally. At the same time, some negative reviewers might actually have a point. Whether it’s the service, the food or the décor, consider whether there are ways you can improve your restaurant. Then communicate those points to your staff to ensure that the problem is fixed.

Don’t:

  • Don’t take it personally. Unless the negative online review calls you out by name, resist the urge to take it personally. Your business might feel like your baby, but your customers are hungry, which can make them feel like babies, too.
  • Don’t ignore them. While you shouldn’t take negative reviews of your restaurant negatively, you shouldn’t ignore them either. Assure the reviewer that the problem has been addressed, and even thank them for providing their feedback. Negative reviews should not be ignored, instead they’re an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.

Because GrubHub is a popular Web and mobile destination for hungry diners, we also feature a huge number of online reviews so that the diners can find the restaurants they crave. Visit our Restaurant page to learn more.