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3 Steps to Successful Restaurant Reputation Management
hen you are managing a restaurant, you focus on providing guests with an outstanding experience. All boxes should be checked: great food, great service, great atmosphere. But what you must not forget is how your restaurant is perceived online.
Before booking a table, customers check the information available on the Internet: the menu, pictures, and online reviews. In the last few months digitalization has become even more important in the restaurant business, which requires that every restaurant manages its online reputation.
To improve customer experiences and be ahead of the competition, implement these steps into your restaurant reputation management strategy.
1. Monitor and respond to online reviews
Online reviews are the most prominent factor which drives your ranking in local search. Reviews play a major role when customers decide which restaurant to visit. Whether you want it or not, your business is reviewed online. Monitoring online reviews gives you a better understanding of your guests’ expectations. It helps gather important insights and improve your operations.
The easiest way to monitor your online reviews, especially if you have a multi-location business, is by using a reputation management software that collects reviews from different sources and presents them in one dashboard. While there are many providers who offer this service, choose a tool that combines different tasks such as review collection and monitoring, review content analysis, and responding to reviews.
- Monitoring online reviews helps you stay informed and gain control of what is written about your restaurant online. With email notifications and alerts you know whenever a new review is published and can react accordingly.
- Content analysis of negative reviews shows restaurateurs the areas for improvement, while positive reviews can help shape and refine your communication strategy. The keywords mentioned by your satisfied customers can be used in your Search Engine Marketing and Optimization activities. More about the benefits of analyzing the content of your online review you can find here.
- By responding to online reviews, you show your customers that their opinions are important to you. Dealing with negative reviews professionally will turn bad experiences into outstanding ones, and in your responses to positive reviews, you can throw in a little marketing and promote your restaurant. We have prepared a guide on how to respond to online reviews with templates of responses to positive and negative reviews.
re:spondelligent app allows you to take care of your restaurant’s online reputation with minimum effort by offering the mentioned functions and more. Not only can you respond directly from our app, but you can also outsource this task to our team of professional writers (in 8 languages). We adapt our solution to the needs of a restaurant and constantly develop new features for successful restaurant reputation management.
2. Be active on social media
Social media is the best way to engage with your customers. According to a recent study, in 2020, more than half the world’s population (appr. 3.8 M people) use social media. On average, people spend 144 minutes (or two hours and twenty-four minutes) on social media per day, and this number is likely to grow in the future.
While people may not be searching for a particular restaurant in social media, this is where they get inspired. By scrolling down Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook feeds with beautiful pictures and friends’ recommendations, customers first get an idea and then decide to book a restaurant.
Having Facebook and Instagram profiles are prerequisites of any restaurant marketing strategy. Facebook is important because customers can post recommendations that you can and should respond to. It is also possible to book a table directly on Facebook.
Since nothing inspires people to visit a restaurant more than a beautiful photo of food and drinks, Instagram is the place for restaurants, cafes, and bars to grow their brand and attract customers. 69% of diners photograph their food before they eat it, so don’t only post photos on Instagram but also re-post your customer photos. This helps build community and increase the engagement of your followers who are likely to tag other people in their post and, thus, increase brand awareness for your restaurant.
3. Manage your online presence
Let us start with a question: what is a good homepage for a restaurant? There are certain criteria that we find important:
- A restaurant’s homepage should be appealing. The restaurant business is very emotional. Just like social media, your homepage should inspire customers to visit your restaurant. It is recommended to use the photos of the restaurant’s interior and food you offer, as it gives your future guests a feeling of what to expect.
Another good idea is to display positive reviews and/or your social media feed with authentic content created by you and your guests.
- You don’t need a complicated homepage but it has to be functional and have a clear structure. The main elements it should contain are menu, online booking tool, contact information with your restaurant’s address, phone number, and opening hours. Keep this information up-to-date and accurate.
- Page speed matters. Your homepage should be fast and mobile-friendly.
Your homepage is one place where you can fully control the content on it. A well-optimized homepage is an asset in the online world and allows you to boost bookings and fill tables.
One of the most important platforms for a restaurant is Google. Having a Google My Business listing defines your presence on Google and especially your appearance in local search. Google has been investing a lot into this free tool; by now, it gives users enough information about a restaurant to decide and book directly without leaving the platform.
Check out our complete guide on how to manage and optimize your Google My Business Listing.
TripAdvisor is the largest travel website on the Internet and is a great source of user-generated content. Having a listing on TripAdvisor attracts a lot of protentional customers and strengthens your online presence. If you want to optimize your TripAdvisor profile, please read this article.
Following these steps will help to put you in a stronger position compared to your competitors. Proactive restaurant reputation management costs time but is worth it in the long run, as it not only keeps you from getting damaged but also drives conversions and increases customer engagement.
Do you have any questions about restaurant reputation management? Leave a comment below.
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About the Author
Natalia is a Co-Founder of re:spondelligent. She is passionate about helping businesses manage and respond to their customer reviews and loves sharing her industry and marketing knowledge to help brands succeed.