How to collect more reviews and get a packed restaurant every night: 6 tips

It’s not only about quality: also the quantity of online reviews your restaurant gets is relevant.

Having more reviews is helpful for two reasons.
First of all, your venue will gain more credibility (read more about the importance of online reviews for your business).

Check out this data:

  • More than 75% of consumers say to look at online reviews before going to a restaurant or cafè
  • As much as 69% would not trust reviews older than 3 months. The 15% consider the reviews written within 2 weeks the only relevant ones.

So, in order to improve the online reputation of your restaurant, you not only need to monitor and respond to reviews, but it is also important that you develop strategies to get always recent feedback.

The second reason is that getting more reviews will definitely improve your search rankings and boost your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). As a consequence, you will obtain more online search visibility. This is particularly important for small businesses to differentiate themselves and remain competitive against big chains.

So, what are you waiting for? Here are 6 helpful tips to get more reviews – and turn your restaurant into the popular hangout every night of the week!

1. Don’t be shy: dare to ask!

In this business climate, customer satisfaction is the new proven metric to define your brand. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with online review requests. Many hospitality business owners like yourself struggle with the exact same thing: how can you politely ask for a review?

First, you always have to ask for online reviews. The chances customers will leave a review spontaneously are a lot lower than you think, especially if they were generally satisfied with your service or product. That’s why you need to ask for reviews when they are the happiest and their visit to your venue was still top of mind. When you explain to your guests how their review has a positive impact on your business, they will be happy to help you out.

2. Drop it like it’s hot

Generally, the best moment to ask your guests for a review is just when they are leaving your restaurant or cafè, and the service you provided is ended.
Determine your guests’ satisfaction at the very moment they are leaving. Check how their experience was: in case it was positive, ask them to leave a review on review sites like TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook or Yelp. In case it was negative, don’t worry: you have reached the customer at the right moment, and you can still fix it. To learn how to turn a bad experience into a positive review, keep reading.

3. How to fix a negative experience

It is possible that your guests’ experience is not the way you expected, and that they were not happy with your service or product despite you doing your very best. First of all, try to identify the source of their discontent. Is the complaint about someone from your staff? Maybe about a particular dish or drink? Use the feedback as an insight to close the gaps and improve the overall quality of your business.

Ask them what you can do to resolve the issue. Try not to take their comment personal, address the customer politely, and make them feel heard. Show you really want to help them out. Remember: how you react to negative feedback determines whether a bad experience can turn into a positive review.
The damage is already done? It’s not too late! Read 10 tips to respond to negative reviews.

4. Send them an e-mail or a text

As your service contact has ended, send your guests a review request mail or text message and ask them how their experience was. Make it easy for them: add a call-to-action field (like: ‘How do you think we did?’) by which you redirect your customers to a specific review site. This practice creates a funnel that leads your satisfied guests to write reviews on reliable sites easily – boosting the credibility (and overall reputation) of your business.

4. Choosing the right review site

Review sites are growing by leaps and bounds. But which one is best to collect reviews for your business? Track the technology habits of your clientele. Do they use social networks? Then Facebook is a great option: it’s easily accessible (since most of the time users are already logged in), and mobile-friendly (according to statistics, in 2018 52% of all website traffic was generated through mobile phones).

On the other hand, listing your business on Google puts it in front of a massive audience, and this is surely a positive thing. Another plus of using Google for collecting online reviews is that the more reviews you get, the better your visibility gets across different features (search, maps) of the platform.

5. Do not incentivize reviews

You should ask customers to review your business, but you should not reward those who actually do. The reason is simple: people trust online reviews because they are authentic and personal experiences. Once you offer an incentive to give positive feedback, your business will lose credibility. Moreover, most people can actually spot a fake review amongst real ones. Also, did we mention this is practice is in fact considered illegal by the Federal Trade Commission? (This may vary per country, but really, just don’t).

6. Say thanks!

Make your customers feel important even when their contribution to your business is already given. Always thank them for the review. Show them you really value their opinion, and express the desire to have them come back.
Remember: a satisfied customer is more likely to become a repeat customer!

Want to learn more about the benefits of online reviews for your business? Leave your email below, we’ll get in touch with you.