Harnessing the Power of Restaurant Reviews

Positive reviews from diners and well-known critics can help bring your restaurant revenue to the next level. After all, more than half of all 18- to 34-year-olds reference online reviews before making a dining decision.
But while such feedback is valuable, how you use it to improve your restaurant can prove to be even more important. These three tips will help you make the most of feedback from critics and diners alike. Keep a record From the quality of your restaurant’s food to the performance of your front- and back-of-house staff, both positive and negative reviews can provide useful insight into your restaurant’s dining experience. Sorting that feedback by the date it is submitted along with which aspect of your restaurant it addresses can make it easier for you to identify concerns and suggestions that come up repeatedly. Maintaining an Excel spreadsheet, for example, can help you pinpoint specific reviews within seconds. Rather than piecing together dozens of handwritten and online reviews each time you want to take stock of how your restaurant is doing, you can easily gauge feedback by referencing a spreadsheet that features reviews you’ve collected – or found online — from both critics and diners. Consider using color coding to organize the spreadsheet based on a variety of factors, such as positive versus negative and food quality versus customer experience feedback. Embrace change Although criticism can be tough to swallow, it often highlights key areas for improvement. Use negative reviews as an opportunity to enhance your restaurant’s dining experience. If diners consistently complain about the time it takes to get dishes from the kitchen to their table, consider hiring a few extra front- and back-of-house staff members to help speed up the process. Positive reviews can also give you a few ideas about how to improve your restaurant. Say you’ve recently spiced up your menu with a few new dishes. Rave reviews from critics and diners can offer a clear indication of which recipes you should keep around for the long haul. Share internally By bringing attention to what’s working and what’s not, restaurant reviews can provide your front- and back-of-house staff with the feedback needed to push their careers forward. Spend a few minutes every few weeks discussing both positive and negative feedback with your employees. One-on-one coaching sessions will give you an opportunity to outline specific steps for improvement while company-wide meetings can be used to address questions regarding your restaurant’s overall performance. Not only will your front- and back-of-house staff get a better understanding of how they’re performing, but you’ll also learn what it takes to make each individual employee successful. Want to learn more about how reviews can impact your restaurant’s bottom line? Download our whitepaper, “A Guide to Restaurant Reviews.