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How to Respond to Online Negative Reviews of your Restaurant

Updated on July 19, 2013

Social Media + Restaurants = Pictures

Restaurants and Social Media

If you are a restaurant owner and you aren't using social media to benefit yourself and your business, then you are pushing away a lot of clients. Everyone is on Facebook/Twitter, so why not you and your business? Those platforms offer cheap way to get closer to your clients and attract them to your restaurant. Not using them is costing you a lot of money, but if you still don't want to use them - this article is not for you! This is an article about Online Reputation Management for restaurants and how to handle the only way a social media can harm you. But first you should find a reputable Social Media Optimization company to help you build a qualiy audience in these social networks.

ORM and your Restaurant

People leave reviews about your business in social media websites. If it is positive and they are happy with your service and food - that's perfect! But sometimes, for some reason, your client(or even your competition) leaves a negative review. If not handled correctly even that single piece of text can harm your business and negate all the money and work done on marketing. Here comes the ORM specialists, whose sole job is to handle those negative reviews and encourage happy clients to write positive reviews.

Follow the media!

The most important thing is to react ASAP.If you haven't answered to the negative review in 3-4 business hours, you have just made your life harder. Use every media coverage tool you have on your disposal - Google Alerts, every day make a Twitter/Yelp/Facebook/Google Plus search for new reviews and opinions, and say thanks to new positive ones, eventually it could be a good idea to give a freebie too. You can't go wrong in answering to a positive review, though answering one will make the reviewer happy.

How to React to negative review

It's harder with answering negative reviews though. There isn't any all-time-working strategy out of this and here comes the creativity and apologizing sincerely, but most importantly act on that feedback. If you can fix the issue, fix it, talk with your employers, if the mistake is on their side. But first thing you should do is note down their feedback and write an apology. Try to be creative, but don't push it too hard. Giving them a coupon for a free meal is a good way to get another chance to make a first impression. Avoid making excuses, as no one cares about them and instead work on fixing the issues.

Sometimes people will acknowledge your answer and delete the review, but sometimes they will not. If that happens don't stalk them or threaten them to remove the review. Just move on, fix your issue and if you haven't received an answer in 2-3 weeks, send a friendly mail with more information how you fixed the issue. This usually will be enough and hopefully your negative review will be removed and why not be replaced with positive one.

What if you cannot fix the issue?

But if all those are not enough, then there is only one thing you can do - encourage more of your happy clients to write positive reviews and things about you. If you have 99 positive and 1 negative review, it won't harm your restaurant, but don't expect any clients if it's the opposite way. In my experience, having a positive 10:1 is good, because a lot of negative reviews come from our competition and you cannot do anything towards this except reporting them to web moderators, of course, but still sometimes those reviews slip in.


I don't have time to do this by myself!

As you can see it's not like the world is over, but in reality it's not an easy task and it takes a lot of time. If you are a restaurant owner and try to do this yourself it will take 4-5 hours per day, just trying to follow the reviews and things, written for you in the internet. This is why Smirk Design included ORM tools in our Platinum plan of SmirkPress. It will search full time about the latest things for your restaurant online and will send them to your email/phone immediately. We also have creative in-house ORM specialists, who can handle answering to those reviews too and if you need this type of people just contact us.

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