Online review sites have transformed the way we do business and the way your customers make decisions.
Why the appeal of review sites? They offer consumers the ability to rave about your restaurant or talk bad about it. It makes them feel better to post it online.
Additionally, review sites help your potential customers weed out their choices. Reviews help them decide if they’re going to stop into your restaurant or the competition’s.
Public opinion has taken over the Internet, and if you aren’t currently perusing review sites, it’s time to find out what your customers think. (tweet this)
Today’s article is titled, “Find out what your patrons think – 7 restaurant review sites owners can monitor.” We’re going to look at top restaurant review sites and show you how to use them to your benefit.
Yelp isn’t just for restaurants, but about 20% of the reviews on Yelp are about dining establishments. This makes restaurants the number two rated category behind shopping.
With more than 102 million reviews, Yelp gives you the ability to respond publicly or privately to reviews.
Assuming you’ve set up a Yelp page for your restaurant (and this is a must), you go to the “reviews” tab after you’ve logged in to respond.
This well-known app is all about the business of helping people find restaurants.
Plus, restaurant owners can claim their listing on Zomato by clicking on “Claim your listing,” link in the lower left hand corner of the page.
We recommend you claim your listing so that your restaurant is found on Zomato. You can also participate in online advertising on Zomato to increase your exposure.
Also available to you is the ability to showcase your listing page on your website and social media. You can highlight your ratings and reviews as well as take reservations.
Zomato allows you to reach out to customers who leave negative reviews. They do have guidelines, including, “These customers are always right, even when they are wrong.” They invite you to take the constructive feedback and use it as an opportunity to fix the problem whether you agree with the review or not.
One caveat – you can’t edit your response after posting it, so be sure you are happy with it before posting.
OpenTable lets customers who use their online restaurant reservations system share their dining experience, so this is a place you should monitor.
About 24 hours after diners eat at your restaurant, they receive an email from OpenTable inviting them to provide feedback.
If you want to be included in their directory, you have to sign up for their online reservations service that charges you monthly fee.
You aren’t allowed to respond publicly to customer reviews, but you can contact the author of the review directly via a private message.
With nearly 2 million Twitter followers, Zagat was started in 1979 by Tim and Nina Zagat as a printed dining guide. Acquired by Google in 2011, you’ll now find Zagat reviews for free online.
Because it is owned by Google, it integrates with Google business pages. Restaurants are encouraged to set up a Google Business Page to increase the chances of being listed on Zagat, providing the restaurant is in one of Zagat’s cities.
While Zagat only covers restaurants in 16 select cities, it’s a highly-regarded restaurant review site where anyone can post a review.
Local editors can create a list of notable restaurants in a particular city to be included on Zagat.com. If you are in one of these cities and not yet Zagat-rated, you can learn more about getting on the list here.
How does Zagat come up with its own ratings? Your customers can visit the site to vote in a featured survey. They are asked to rate restaurants on food, décor and service on a 0-3 scale. They are asked to provide comments as well. The ratings are averaged and presented on a 30-point scale.
The Zagat editors also post restaurant reviews that include a mix of comments from user reviews.
Trip Advisor is the largest online travel site, but it also features reviews on restaurants.
Your ranking on this mammoth website is based on your individual ratings and how many reviews you’ve gotten and how recent they are.
As long as you register with the Management Center, you can post public responses and send private messages regarding reviews. You can also dispute reviews you deem inflammatory.
Gayot bills itself as the leading worldwide authority on the “good life.” Millions of people turn to their reviews on dining.
The reviews on the Gayot website are two-fold – some are written by professional food critics while others come from restaurant patrons themselves.
Gayot uses a 20-point scale, and their critiques include not only the food, but décor, service, ambiance and wine.
As a restaurant owner, you should know that you can’t claim your own listing. You can advertise on the Gayot website, though, to garner more notice.
With a multitude of high profile advertisers, Gayot claims to have more than 100 million impressions on their website each year.
Dine, one of the oldest reviews sites, says it’s a site for restaurant reviews and ratings written by you.
It provides site visitors personalized recommendations based on food preferences. Customer reviews and ratings are included in the recommendations.
This is another site where you can claim your listing, add photos and menus. You can also post messages and elicit feedback from your customers.
Why and when do people leave reviews? According to one source, 33% of people leave reviews when service was either extremely good or extremely bad. Another 25% said they leave reviews when service was really good.
The results from a recent study show that 67% of people say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions. More than half of the people also said online reviews are absolutely part of their decision-making process.
This means they are reading your reviews – both the good and the bad. And, this is why it’s so important to monitor your reviews and respond to them when possible.
If you can turn a negative review into a positive one, you’ve shown you respect and appreciate your patrons. (tweet this) This leaves review-seekers with a positive feeling about your restaurant and might make them willing to give your restaurant a try.
Lastly, try to stay on top of what patrons are saying about your restaurant online. Check out the review sites and sign up for Google Alerts so you’ll be double sure to notice when something is posted about your restaurant online.
Another place to include reviews is on your website. Let us help jump start your online marketing today. Take a tour of Restaurant Engine and launch your restaurant website this weekend!
We build responsive, mobile-friendly restaurant websites with dynamite online menus. Contact us today for your free website consultation. We are here to help you update your website and stand out in the crowd so you can stay ahead of your competition and grow your positive online presence with your restaurant website.