Running a restaurant can be a tricky business. Not only are you having to manage the production of high-quality food from your team, along with the great customer service you’re providing, you have to maintain your online presence as well. Even if your restaurant doesn’t provide online services, customers now share their experiences on the internet more than ever and their feedback can either encourage others to visit, or it can deter them from ever stepping foot in your establishment. We understand that restaurant managers like you can feel the strain if you're left negative feedback out of the blue - so here’s how to turn a negative online review into a win for your restaurant.
In your eyes, your restaurant might be perfect. You always have customers walking through the doors, you’re always fully booked and you go out of your way to make sure everyone receives an experience they can’t get anywhere else. To your surprise, though, you go online one night to your online page and find that somebody has left a massive red negative review explaining why they won’t be coming back ever again. The fact is, you can’t satisfy everybody regardless of how hard you try. Some will leave a scathing negative review if the food they get is cold or the service was rude and slow, but then you also might get some negativity aimed at your restaurant if a plate was slightly cold, they didn’t like the decor or that the lighting was too bright.
A negative online review isn’t the end of the world, and the worst thing your restaurant can do is delete all negative feedback from your page. It’s important to remain honest, and there are several ways you can turn a bad into a win for your restaurant. These include:
- Know What’s Being Said About Your Restaurant
- Showcase Your Customer Service Commitment
- Turn Unhappy Customers Into Loyal Ones
- Acting On Negative Reviews = Long-Term Benefits
- Don’t Remove Negative Reviews
Reviews are all about giving customers a platform to provide an honest recap of your restaurant, so you need to implement a review strategy that will be able to uphold your reputation, let’s look through them all in a little bit more detail.
Know What’s Being Said About Your Restaurant
Positive feedback is always great to hear, but it’s equally as important to know about the negative comments people are making about your restaurant. More importantly, it’s best to find out why they’re saying it. Any type of feedback is better than none, and removing negative comments just shows that you don’t value their feedback and experience, and it could infuriate them further.
A negative online review gives you the opportunity to correct your mistakes. You can note down all of the faults and what stopped customers from having a good experience and work on them so that either the same customers can write a review highlighting the improvements you’ve made if and when they visit again, or other customers can end up writing positive reviews on the same aspects to turn it into a win for your restaurant.
Showcase Your Customer Service Commitment
There’s always room for improvement and customer feedback is a great way for restaurants to understand what they can improve on, but it’s also a way for customers to check whether or not they would want to engage with you. In the UK, 88% of customers read reviews to determine the quality of the experience of other customers and 76% of customers view customer service as a test of how much a company values them.
Interacting with all types of feedback is important, as your response might end up addressing the issue a customer has, and then visitors are more likely to visit your restaurant as they’d know that you’re on hand to sort out any issues, as opposed to completely ignoring it. This method can also help turn negative reviews into positive reviews, as they’d be aware that you and your restaurant care about your customers and their thoughts, and everyone else viewing the feedback will also notice that which can end up as a huge plus for your restaurant.
Turn Unhappy Customers Into Loyal Ones
If customers are leaving your restaurant unhappy, then they have two options. They can either share their disgruntled opinions with each other and never come back, or they can share their frustration online. If they pick the second option, then that means they’re trying to catch your attention and are hopeful that you can rectify the situation. Then your fate is in your own hands, either you can ignore it and let it damage your reputation, or you can issue a response that will turn a negative into a positive and change their mind.
Do you what you need to so you can retain their loyalty; apologise if you need to, offer them a free meal or a discount and promise to turn their bad experience into a great one so they give you another chance. If you’re taking their comments on board and are giving customers solutions that will benefit them, they can alter their review and that reflects wonderfully on your restaurant and your customer service.
Acting On Negative Reviews = Long-Term Benefits
Having negative reviews can be a great learning curve, as it will help you correct your mistakes in the future but it can also have an impact on training your staff. The negative reviews might not all be about the food, it might be because service was too slow, or that one particular waiter didn’t smile enough. Little tips like that allow you to implement training so you can put together a winning team in the long-run.
Negative reviews provide you with fresher insights that you might not have understood before, but correcting the flaws will only help your restaurant down the line.
Don’t Remove Negative Reviews
The worst thing you and your restaurant can do is remove all of the negative online reviews, as it just makes you come across as untrustworthy and it doesn’t look natural. You’ll have to do a lot of searching around to find a restaurant with 100% positive feedback, and those with genuine negative feedback tend look a lot more trustworthy than those that come across as perfect.
Negative online reviews help provide balance, and it’s a chance for you to use this as an opportunity and not hide behind your reputation. Owning up to your errors and mistakes by kindly responding to negative reviews will make customers want to give you an opportunity, so your restaurant could be the big winners at the end of the day.
Keep Your Restaurant Staff Safe
While your restaurant staff need to do what they can to provide excellent customer service, it’s important that kitchen and restaurant staff are safe on their feet. Slips, trips, and falls are the most common workplace incident, so it’s important to put procedures in place to avoid this hazard. Along with slip-resistant mats, make sure your staff are wearing the safest slip-resistant shoes in the industry. At SHOES FOR CREWS (EUROPE) Ltd., our shoes will get you home safe.
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