Managing reviews for multiple restaurant locations comes with unique challenges. Which begs the question, do local reviews matter in the restaurant industry? What your customers are saying about you is indicative not only of their own experience but can influence whether others are willing to dine with your restaurant at all.
How can you ensure consistency in responses to both positive and negative reviews at scale?
Who will be responsible for monitoring new reviews, and will that person also tasked with answering each one?
When should an issue raised in a review be escalated, and how will your team make use of all of the data these interactions produce, anyway?
These are important questions and they are worth getting right. Local reviews are an extension of your customer service channels but can also have an oversized impact on the restaurant’s search visibility and conversion rates from online to offline. In fact, UC Berkeley researchers found some time ago that even a half-star rating increase on Yelp translated to a 19% greater likelihood the location’s seats would be full at peak meal times. Over on Google, reviews are the second-most important Local Pack ranking factor and influence organic local search rankings, as well.
We asked enterprise marketing experts to share the importance of reviews for restaurants as well as a few tips to get you prepared for the upcoming holiday season 2020. Here’s what they recommend:
Cook up a delicious local listings profile.
Your search presence across engines, directories, and networks sets an expectation for customers before they ever set foot in your restaurant. Inaccurate store hours, a misplaced map pin, or outdated business description information can taint a customer’s experience before they have a chance to be wowed by your delicious eats and killer service—and that experience can result in a negative review, too.
- Claim and verify all available locations, whether they are franchises, corporate, etc. Clean up any duplicate listings and resolve ownership issues.
- Stay current with trending keywords and phrases for restaurants and use these to optimize listings and local pages.
- Get our Definitive Guide to Managing Online Listings for Restaurant Chains (free download) to learn more.
Make the most of those tasty GMB reviews.
Google reviews are incredibly impactful, but don’t worry if you don’t have a perfect five-star rating. Even the Great Wall of China gets negative reviews. In fact, as of today, one of the world’s most astonishing engineering marvels has a 4.2 overall rating on Google.
“I wanted to play catch with a foot ball (sp) but they would not let me,” says Tanner, while Catherine mistakenly believes it’s a Chinese restaurant and is upset that her GrubHub order hasn’t arrived.
You can’t please everyone.
What matters most is that your brand has the tools, team members, and technology in place to monitor and respond to reviews at scale in as near to real-time as possible.
- Don’t leave your diners hanging; 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week, but 63% have experienced a business simply not responding at all. Check out the do’s and don’ts of responding to negative reviews here.
- Even if you had a review management strategy in place before, it’s important to update your policies and templates in keeping with the current environment of physical distancing, enhanced sanitization, curbside pickup, and more
Dig into the entire buffet of local review sites
Of course, Google My Business isn’t the only local reviews game in town. Although 63.6% of consumers say they are likely to check online reviews on Google before visiting a business, many use multiple sites to validate their dining decisions.
Yelp has over 28 million monthly users, for example, and 18% of the reviews on its platform are for restaurant businesses. What’s more, a one-star increase on Yelp can boost a restaurant’s profits by up to 9%.
Your brand must be present and engaged when and wherever consumers are talking about your restaurant locations.
- Make sure active networks are part of your local marketing strategy, particularly as your market shifts and changes due to the pandemic.
- Optimize Yelp and your other social and local reviews profiles for social distancing terms to speak directly to consumers searching for specific types of services.
- Not sure where conversations are happening around your brand? Get a free local audit so you have a seat at the table where consumers are interacting and mentioning you outside of your current purview.
Want to learn more?