As a restaurant owner, Yelp should be a keystone of your digital marketing strategy.
Yet, you’ll learn in this article, there’s another big reason to be on Yelp – reservations.
Let’s look at how to use Yelp to increase reservations at your restaurant, leverage reviews and ultimately grow your profits.
You’re probably familiar with Open Table, and perhaps you even use it.
But, did you know that Yelp has a very similar reservations service?
Consider these statistics about Yelp’s reservations service:
In addition to procuring reservations online through Yelp Reservations, you can also manage your tables with their system.
Yelp allows you to keep track of your floor and service teams from any device and manage your wait list from anywhere in the world at any time. You can configure the system to work with your floor plans and shift times.
As an added bonus, you can send text messages to your customers when a table opens up.
You also receive a warning if the customer wait time exceeds the quoted wait time.
Let’s sum up Yelp Reservation’s offerings before we look at how to use Yelp reviews to increase reservations:
Yelp Reservations drives business to your restaurant and makes it easy for customers thus increasing your business. But, there’s one important piece to Yelp that you want to leverage – reviews.
Now let’s look at how to increase reservations through reviews.
Social proof has never been more important. With the advent and continual growth of social media, it’s also never been easier for people to shout out to the world and let them know what they think of your restaurant.
One of the best ways to use Yelp to increase your reservations is through your Yelp reviews. (tweet this)
A Harvard review study asked the question, “Do online consumer reviews affect restaurant demand?”
Interestingly they found that just a one-star increase in Yelp ratings leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
So, you can see how Yelp reviews can drive your restaurant business. Just consider the competition down the street with three-stars. If you have four or five-stars, you are the big winner.
The more stars you have, the more likely your potential customers will be to use Yelp Reservations to reserve a table at your restaurant.
Your restaurant customers trust online reviews, of this you can be certain. The question then becomes how to get them.
Yelp specifically tells restaurants not to ask customers for reviews by promising something, and they go on to say that offering discounts or freebies in exchange for reviews is not appropriate.
But, you certainly can tell people to find you on Yelp, and you can ask them for reviews as long as you are doing it professionally and without a promise of goods.
Here are some best practices for getting reviews:
Bottom line – you can easily use Yelp to increase reservations without spending a fortune.
The benefits of using Yelp Reservations are many.
You can increase your total covers (a cover is a diner who eats a meal – this is different from the table as it represents a single person) because you can accept reservations over the phone, in-person, on your website and through Yelp.
What’s more is that you don’t pay per cover or per reservation. You know just exactly what you’ll pay each month because the price never waivers. Whether you take 100 reservations or 1000, the price is the same.
With Yelp Reservations, you save money.
Another great benefit is that Yelp Reservations helps you reduce no-shows because the system confirms seating times and party sizes through email and text message.
So, you know ahead of time if you’ll have open tables. You can even take credit card holds for large parties or busy weekend evenings.
Most restaurants find that combined with positive Yelp reviews, Yelp Reservations not only helps increase reservations, but it takes care of all your table management needs.
Yelp helps you save time and money so you can run your business more smoothly.
At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but you can integrate the Yelp widget on your website so you can take reservations. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online menu, blog and beautiful photos? Get your free website consultation today!