It is difficult to overstate the importance of reviews in running a modern business. Everyone has constant access to handheld computers, and with the click of a few buttons, we can find out what our fellow consumers have to say about almost any business on the planet.
When prospective diners search for information about your restaurant, you want to make sure they are greeted by good reviews, and plenty of them. That is why we have assembled this guide to getting more reviews for your restaurant.
Follow our tips to maximise your chances of securing excellent reviews for your restaurant and convincing customers that your venue is worth their time and money.
Why are reviews important for your restaurant?
If you have not yet grasped why online reviews are important for your restaurant, consider your own dining habits. With 24/7 access to the internet in your pocket, who among us doesn't plug a restaurant into Google or another search engine before checking it out?
Google knows just how important restaurant reviews are, which is why it prominently displays reviews on search engine results pages for hospitality venues. Yelp claims that it receives 92 million unique mobile visitors every single day, while TripAdvisor lays claim to 490 million unique monthly visitors.
Customers have made it clear that they care deeply about reviews for the restaurant industry. Therefore, restaurant owners should too. Finding a great restaurant online is easy thanks to the ubiquity of online reviews, so you need to ensure customers can discover how excellent your venue is via these channels.
Not convinced? Here are some statistics which illustrate just how significant online reviews are for your restaurant:
- Customers read online reviews about restaurants more than they do about any other industry.
- More than 33% of diners will choose to not eat in a restaurant with less than a 4-star rating on sites like Yelp, Google or TripAdvisor.
- In one survey, 60% of customers reported reading reviews before heading out for a meal.
- A one-star rating improvement on Yelp can result in as much as a 9% increase in revenue.
On top of being one of the most important marketing tools in your arsenal, great online restaurant reviews can have some other benefits to your business, including:
- Search engine rankings: With Google taking in 8 billion unique searches every day, your restaurant needs to do everything it can to maximise performance in Search. While Google is reluctant to reveal any explicit information about its algorithm, industry experts agree that online reviews have a positive effect on search engine performance.
- Chance to get feedback: Don't view online reviews purely as a way to enjoy benefits for your business. A key purpose of reviews is the chance to get feedback from your customers and find out where your restaurant could be doing better.
- Impact on employees: Great reviews don't just attract customers. Prospective employees who are passionate about hospitality will also be interested in working for a venue that is well-regarded. You can also show off your high review scores to improve morale among your current employees.
6 ways to get more restaurant reviews
You may not realise what steps you can take to increase your restaurant's reviews. Taking an active role in doing everything you can to secure more reviews for your restaurant can be highly effective.
We have assembled 6 strategies you can employ to get more reviews for your venue and enjoy all the benefits that come with them.
While online reviews are taking on an increasingly important role in influencing the decisions of consumers, you should still incorporate the world of traditional reviews into your strategy. For more information on the importance of these styles of reviews for your venue, check out our complete guide to what makes a restaurant 5-star.
When it comes to securing reviews from sources like magazines or online blogs, there aren't too many shortcuts to be taken. It all comes down to building up the reputation of your venue and becoming worth the time of professional food critics and other reviewers. Once you are well established, you can extend an invitation to the individual or publication of your choosing.
Securing traditional forms of reviews can have a symbiotic relationship with online reviews, as more customers become aware of your restaurant and feel incentivised to check it out and share their own thoughts.
Your most loyal and satisfied customers will generally be happy to help out if you ask them to leave a review of your restaurant.
You might request a review from customers in person, immediately after they have had their meal. Alternatively, you can ask for one via text or email, if your business has acquired this information. Just make sure to not come across as overly pushy or "spammy" in the process.
Remember to follow the relevant guidelines when requesting reviews on specific platforms. For example, Google's guidelines state that you must not "selectively solicit" positive reviews from customers or incentivise reviews through discounts or free goods.
If you don't want to go through the process of verbally requesting a review, you can simply leave QR codes around your restaurant asking for reviews. These are an unobtrusive way to guide your customers towards leaving reviews of your business.
A QR code is an attractive way to secure reviews as it is very convenient for your customers. All they need to do is whip out their device, scan the code and quickly leave a review on a platform of your choosing.
Capitalise on social media
Another excellent way to secure more reviews for your business is to seek out social media mentions of your business. Hopefully, you'll find plenty of glowing appraisals of your venue.
All you need to do now is thank them for their kind words and encourage them to share their sentiment on a review platform. You can even include a link to make it even easier for them, and direct them to share their thoughts on your chosen site.
Optimise for Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile – formerly known as Google My Business – is a function of Google which allows restaurants and other businesses via Google Search and especially Google Maps. Maps is where Google Reviews are housed, and is a popular search engine in its own right.
A well-optimised Google Business Profile improves your visibility on the platform, making it easier for customers to find your restaurant and post reviews. Obviously, this also has the benefit of improving visibility for new diners searching for local restaurants.
Here are a few ways to optimise your Google Business Profile:
- Provide as much information about your business as you can
- Regularly update your profile
- Add the best photos you can
- Highlight positive reviews and testimonials on your profile
Reply to every review
Any marketer worth their salt knows just how important engagement is. Creating active profiles on Google and other review sites helps to build a positive rapport with your customers and encourage them to leave more reviews. If customers can see that you are engaging with and implementing feedback they will feel more encouraged to provide their evaluation.
When replying to positive reviews of your restaurant, thank the customer for their positive feedback and express your happiness that your restaurant was able to deliver a positive experience for them. You can also take the opportunity to invite them back.
Replying to negative reviews requires a bit of extra consideration. Accept the negative feedback and try to learn from it. Always take on a professional attitude, no matter how uncivil the review is. Conclude by letting them know how you plan to implement their feedback in your operations and try to set up a follow-up chat to more comprehensively address their concerns.
Top 5 best restaurant review sites
Now that we have established the importance of restaurant reviews, you need to discover the top restaurant review sites. Knowing which online review sites can offer the greatest benefits to your restaurant business is crucial for implementing an effective strategy.
Here are 5 of the most popular restaurant review websites your business should target. Rack up great scores on these websites and watch your business reap the rewards.
For most customers, using Google is virtually synonymous with the Internet itself. The search engine processes more than 8 billion queries every day. Google restaurant reviews are integrated into Google Maps, a service that has over 1 billion monthly users.
Considering its sheer ubiquity, there is no other review site you'd rather enjoy a strong presence and high score on than Google.
Yelp enjoys a dominant global presence with more than 92 million unique users every day. It is one of the first platforms that comes to mind when one thinks of restaurant reviews.
One study found that 78% of Yelp users are active on social media daily. This means that if you can establish your venue on this platform, it is possible to gain the approval of highly engaged social media users who may discuss your restaurant on many other sites.
With high levels of traffic around the globe, a strong presence on Yelp could also help your restaurant stand out to international visitors planning their itineraries.
This global giant is a one-stop-shop for travellers and locals alike looking for the best hospitality venues. With 490 million monthly visitors, a positive presence on TripAdvisor can be extremely significant for your venue.
Similarly to Yelp, TripAdvisor is an excellent choice to appeal to international visitors you would like to draw to your venue, as it is well-known for containing plenty of information about popular travel destinations.
Facebook might not be a website that initially comes to mind when it comes to restaurant reviews, but it is a popular platform for this very purpose. It is a great idea to have a business page set up on Facebook, and a positive selection of reviews is the perfect complement to it.
User bases don't come much bigger than Facebook, with just under 3 billion users as of Q1 2023. Its status as a social media platform means pages and reviews can be easily shared between users.
Usefully, your Facebook business page can also be easily linked to an Instagram account, both of which can be controlled via Meta Business Suite. This makes it easy to enact a social media strategy involving these 2 giant platforms.
FourSquare is a popular platform with over 50 million active monthly users. It allows users to locate and leave reviews for a wide range of businesses, including restaurants.
As a search-and-discovery app, a strong presence on FourSquare can serve a somewhat different role to sites like TripAdvisor. Customers may walk throughout their city and be presented with a recommendation for your restaurant. If this recommendation comes with a high review score, they will have every reason to check out your venue.
Best of all, you can take control of your business’ presence on FourSquare and optimise it for maximum visibility. Combined with a high number of positive reviews, your business can enjoy great benefits on FourSquare.
Improve your restaurant's profile with ResDiary
Ultimately, the best way to boost your restaurant's online reputation is by delivering incredible service time and again. ResDiary can help you do exactly that with exceptional table management systems and a wide array of integrations to boost your operations in a plethora of ways.
ResDiary also helps boost your restaurant's visibility, with solutions to promote your venue and integration with Dish Cult, a diner-facing booking platform featuring reviews. We also help you encourage loyalty with an easy-to-use gift voucher system.
Book a demo today and discover how ResDiary can help your venue become the restaurant of your customer's dreams.