07 Nov Why Restaurant Growth Depends on Online Reviews
Customer feedback defines a restaurant’s reputation.
With the increasing prevalence of review sites, everyone can be an online food critic, and thanks to social media and mobile devices, most people are. A study in the Economic Journal revealed that just an extra half-star rating makes a restaurant 30-49% more likely to be fully booked at peak hours. In this study, there were no changes in the quality of food or service–the only difference was star rating.
Perception is everything.
Together, customers and search engines define your brand’s perception. Customers research online to build an informed opinion before choosing where to dine out.
They want lots of accurate information without much effort on their part, so rarely do they venture past page 1 of online search results. You have only a few seconds to stand out against the competition. Local search results rank restaurants based on rating, volume, and recency of reviews. When left to their own devices, customers either say nothing at all or wait until anger fuels their feedback, resulting in skewed average ratings that do not necessarily reflect the restaurant’s performance. Plenty satisfied customers don’t think to jump online after a meal, and leave licking their lips instead of using them to spread the word.
How do you get new reviews? Make it easy for your customers to write them.
Generating new reviews from across your entire customer base can balances the scales. BirdEye’s in-moment SMS feedback tools prompt all your customers for reviews immediately following a visit, meeting customers where they are–on their phones–and capturing sentiment while it’s still fresh. With such a convenient outlet, even customers who wouldn’t normally post online are inclined to share.
Not only do reviews put restaurants on the map; they’re also invaluable business development tools. Insights from customer feedback help all departments, from owners and management to servers and kitchen staff, learn exactly where to improve. Restaurants can highlight positive reviews on their website and social channels to use authentic experiences as promotional material. Testimonials from happy customers will help online searchers get a feel for what a restaurant is like far more effectively than menus and professional photographs.
Manage reviews, book more tables
To help restaurants streamline review management, BirdEye’s automated feedback collection process pre-qualifies sentiment, directing happy customers to post on top review sites like Google and Facebook. BirdEye’s integration with OpenTable allows restaurants to easily collect new customer reviews on OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations. This review site alone has over 15 million reviews.
Claim your restaurant on OpenTable to reach more diners, instantly book reservations, and get new reviews. What about unhappy customers? BirdEye routes them directly to management to share feedback in private, enabling quick issue resolution and preventing problems from escalating into public view. Respond to negative reviews promptly and thoughtfully to turn frustrated customers into loyal ones.
With the ability to solve issues in a pinch and sprinkle praise across major review sites, restaurants have the recipe for that 5-star online reputation that hungry customers crave.
With BirdEye, it’s easier than ever to get new authentic customer reviews, building trust that leads to more sales. In today’s reputation economy, BirdEye provides the eyes, ears and algorithms necessary to create the five-star customer experiences that keep your business at the top.