Both positive and negative online customer reviews matter greatly to every business, especially those in the hospitality industry, such as restaurants and catering services. But the process can be complex. Restaurant business owners often wonder how to start seeking reviews from customers, influencers, and critics. 

For growing businesses, Google reviews are the best place to start. Google has the largest market share in global internet searches, guaranteeing high brand awareness and momentum for the business.  This blog post discusses how restaurants can grow their business and get more customers with Google reviews. 

More reviews
More revenue

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How to earn more Google restaurant reviews

More than 50% of customers will read between two and six reviews before purchasing. That means you need to source reviews from various places before seeing a significant increase in conversion rates. 

This section covers all the essential steps a business must take to earn more Google reviews. 

Example of how Google restaurant reviews appear on search
ultimate guide to online reviews guide

Set up Google Business Profile 

To start getting Google reviews for your restaurant, start by making sure that you have an active Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) account. You might have already set one up for your restaurant or franchise. If so, that’s great; you’re already one step ahead.

The profile must have all the information to start sending review requests and managing customer Google reviews. Fill information regarding location, contact information, website, menu, operating hours, etc. 

Check our detailed guide on setting up Google Business Profile if you have not already done so. 

gmb guide

The easier the review writing process is, the faster you can collect a large number of Google reviews from your customers. You must have the Google reviews link handy to share with customers via different marketing and communication channels. 

You can get the Google reviews short link from your restaurant’s Google Business Profile. 

Check out our video for a step-by-step guide to generating the short link: 

Step 1: Access your Google Business Profile dashboard by signing into your Google account. 

Step 2: Next, click on the ‘Promote’ tab. 

Step 3: Click ‘Ask for reviews’ from the available options.

Step 5: The URL that shows up next is the one that you can copy and send to customers. 

You can also turn this into a vanity or cleaner link with an online tool, if necessary. 

Train employees how to ask for reviews

Once you’ve set up your profile and review generation process, start training employees on asking for reviews correctly. That means training all of your customer-facing staff. 

Your staff, such as a Barista, waiter, restaurant manager, or others, are talking to all your customers. So, customers are more likely to entertain a review request from them than from an email or SMS. That can follow after the discussion. 

Image showing businesses can send review requests via Birdeye

Help your team talk to customers and get the ball rolling before they send individual review requests. Incentivize generating reviews and help them see the significant picture impact of this process. 

You might not want to start asking customers directly for reviews straight away. Maybe it’s the first time they’ve visited your restaurant, and they haven’t even sat down yet. They won’t know whether your food, atmosphere, or service is good enough for them. Or they would not want to be interrupted during their meal. 

So, what’s the solution? Well, if you have a website or use an app for your business, then the first thing you can do is add a review link there. This will help customers find a place to leave feedback easily instead of searching for it on Google. 

Use email to encourage customers to leave Google reviews

Don’t forget about email when asking for reviews. Start by using the email addresses you’ve gained from customers who signed up to your online newsletter or made repeat orders through your delivery service. These are likely to be your most loyal customers.

That means two things in this case. First, they won’t mind receiving your email; second, they might even have some positive feedback. Even if the feedback you receive is negative, you can use it to improve your services.

Use the short link here for ease of writing a review. 

Pro Tip: Not everyone knows how to write a Google review; help your customers by sending an easy-to-refer guide. We have just one for you in our detailed Google reviews guide

Reward customers for their feedback

Some customers want an incentive before they leave a review. It doesn’t have to be extravagant; a popular strategy is offering a small discount on repeat purchases. This will help you get positive reviews and satisfy your customers, too. 

Think about the last email you received with a review request. It could be a takeaway, a delivery service, or any item you bought online. It probably offered you a 10% off coupon or a code to redeem with your next order, right? This could boost your response rate. 

It doesn’t have to be limited to emails, either. If you get customer feedback from your contact center, then you can offer surveys with rewards. If you’re collecting online feedback through your website, you can simply activate a discount code on the spot.  

Benefits of Google reviews for restaurants

So, what are the most direct benefits you’ll get from Google restaurant reviews? It’s a fair question when you’ve got so many online review options. These three factors are the biggest impacts of Google reviews on your restaurant business.  

Increases local foot traffic

If you create one, a Google My Business listing comes with a Google Maps listing. That means your business is visible when anyone searches Google Maps for your local area or your business by name.

If you’ve already added opening hours, contact information, and everything else you need for your listing, you’ll start seeing more foot traffic to your restaurant. That’s because it’s information from a source your customers can trust. Take a look at this example. 

Image showing how reviews help restaurants

It’s easy to see why people trust Google for these searches. The sponsored link is clear, and the local options are highlighted on the map.   

Boosts revenue

Your increased foot traffic and linking your services directly from Google will boost your revenue. They encourage people who are looking for a new restaurant to try yours. This leads to more people through your door and more sales being made.

You’ll be able to track this through your accounting software. With monthly reports showing cash flow analysis, you can identify if the more reviews you have, the more sales you make.

Image showing how to use accounting software to grow business

This might sound like the most significant impact that anything could have on your business. Yet, there’s one more impact we need to consider.

Builds customer trust

Customer trust and how to build it is one of the cornerstones of sourcing popular reviews. Building trust requires building every part of your business to be trustworthy. That means, from the start, you should aim to provide your customer base with the best prices, services, and value. 

Google restaurant reviews help showcase your best practices and impress potential customers. And even if customers share negative reviews, you respond professionally and show the world that your business cares about feedback. That builds trust too. 

How to capitalize on good reviews

Once you’ve got your business up and running and you’re bringing in good reviews, it is essential to leverage the power of those reviews. Make sure that these reviews can attract local customers and boost brand awareness for your business. 

Creatively promote positive feedback 

How do other customers know about your best reviews? One of the most popular ways is to put glowing testimonials on your website, visible to every visitor. Make sure it’s easy to tell at a glance that these are reviews from real customers. 

You can include a reviews widget on your website that showcases honest reviews about your business. 

Image showing Birdeye helps businesses promote their reviews

Sharing positive reviews on social media can also help you spread the word about your business. 

Analyze restaurant capacity 

Make sure you know your restaurant’s maximum capacity. You would already know your physical capacity (i.ehow many people you can safely and comfortably fit in your restaurant at once.) But restaurant reviews can show you how customers perceive the arrangements. 

By actively monitoring Google restaurant reviews, businesses can make sure that they modify or optimize their establishment for customer satisfaction. 

Image showing Birdeye helps understand customer feedback

Reviews can also help plan for various scenarios such as how many additional take-out orders you can satisfy if your physical restaurant is fully booked.  

Consider staffing additions 

If you find that your current staff can’t handle the increased business your new reviews are bringing in, don’t panic. Consider adding more staff before canceling orders. 

It might be challenging to add permanent staff quickly, but you can always hire temporary staff with a view to fully training them. This is one area where you’ll have to carefully analyze your accounts before deciding.

If you struggle to find the time for in-depth accounts analysis, you might get help from your business software. Make a full-featured payroll and accounting software system a regular part of your day-to-day operations. Then, you can rely on the software to do the heavy lifting when analyzing the numbers.     

Listening to feedback from reviews can help businesses steer their restaurant in the right direction with the right tools. 

Final thoughts

Google restaurant reviews can help promote your business and attract local customers. They help build customer trust and encourage people to try your restaurant, boosting your revenue. 

To earn more Google reviews, set up your Google Business Profile and send review requests to all your customers. To keep the stream of reviews going, it is also essential for businesses to manage the reviews that come in by responding to them and sharing them online. 

Birdeye is an all-in-one review, reputation, and customer experience management platform that helps you boost your business growth.