6 Ways Your Restaurant Can Overcome a Negative Online Review

Restaurant Reviews

As a business, you always want to make sure that your customers have a great time while in your restaurant. Unfortunately, there will be instances when a customer is unhappy, and with the popularity of online review sites like Yelp available to everyone, you may find your restaurant receiving a negative review for all to see.

Negative reviews are a part of the online review community. No matter how great your think your restaurant is, you will find a negative review every now and then. Instead of thinking that the world is over, you need to know how to overcome it. The following tips will help you learn how to manage and bounce back from a negative online review.

1. Take a good, hard look at the review.

Read the review a few times and take note of what is being said. Use all of this information to determine what problem areas are being mentioned. If you notice that you’re receiving complaints for cold food or poor service, take a look at your restaurant and make sure that you’re fixing these issues. It’s possible that these reviews are doing you a favor and making you aware of a situation you didn’t know existed.

You should also try and determine whether or not the review is fake. It’s possible that you may have a disgruntled employee who turned to the review site as a way to vent. Take a look and see if you can prove the validity of the complaints. It’s also a good idea to look at the profile of the person who left the review. If you notice that every review they’ve ever left has been negative, it’s possible that all of their reviews are fake. If you spot a fake review, let the review site know.

2. Apologize.

A negative review is bad, but a negative review that sits on the site without any acknowledgement from you is worse. Whether you think the review is real or not, it’s a smart idea to apologize for the unsatisfactory experience and offer to fix it. Make sure that you tell the reviewer exactly how you plan on fixing the issues they mentioned, and welcome them back to your restaurant to see for themselves how you’ve made changes.

3. Learn from it.

Embrace the negativity that is being mentioned and make the necessary changes needed to fix it. If the reviews complain about poor service, hold a staff meeting and let your employees know what you expect of them. If an employee was mentioned by name, keep a close eye on them to determine if they really are performing in a less than stellar way. Think of negative reviews as a place to learn about your restaurant.

4. Keep working on improvements.

Your business is important to you, and in order to stay as a successful business, you need to keep working on your business and making the adjustments that keep your customers happy and coming back for more. When you prove that you are actively working to provide a great experience to your patrons, they will take notice.

5. Don’t lash out.

Though it may be hard, you need to respond to negative comments in a professional way. Do not attack the reviewer, even if you believe their review to be false. Not only is attacking and the use of profanity against the rules of most review sites, but it also looks poorly on your business and opens the floodgates for more attacks from other patrons.

6. Remember that it’s still publicity.

You know the saying, “there’s no such thing as bad PR”? Keep that in mind when you read negative comments. Even though this customer was unhappy, they are helping you learn how to improve, and they’re still talking about your company. Plus, since it’s online, each review of your company helps your company’s search engine optimization, so by reviewing your site, these customers are improving your online rankings.

When your business sees a negative review, your initial reaction may be to sound the alarms and worry that your business will fail, but don’t. Negative online reviews are a part of business, and you can’t lose sleep over them. Use them as a learning experience, apologize and make the necessary improvements, and you’ll still find yourself in business.

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