So You Got a Bad Yelp Review … Now What?

 In Marketing, Social Media Blog Archives

Let’s say you operate the most spectacularly well-run restaurant in the history of the food service industry. Your food is affordable and always perfectly prepared. Your servers are charismatic and uniformly efficient. Your location has ample, free parking within driving distance of everybody in the tri-state area.

Unfortunately, you will still occasionally get negative reviews on internet sites like Yelp.

The simple fact is that with so many social media options out there it is inevitable a customer will at some point write something unflattering about your bar or restaurant. And regardless of whether the critique is valid, what truly matters most is how you deal with the situation.

Here are a few tips on what to do when you get a negative review:


For starters, figure out if the complaint is actually valid. If the review cites a specific problem, do your due diligence and figure out if there is an issue on your end. Talk to your employees and make sure you have a firm grasp on what took place.


Based on what you find, decide how you want to handle the situation. Is there a faulty policy that needs adjusting? Does an employee need reminding of how you like to do things? Make sure things are handled on your end.

At this point decide how you’d like to handle the person who made the complaint. Depending on the size of the complaint, you may want to extend an offer of a free entree or meal. In more minor situations a simple apology for the inconvenience may suffice.


Reach out to the customer through the platform on which they lodged the complaint. If you can establish their name, determine whether or not they’re a regular customer.

Regardless of how dubious the complaint, do your best to seem genuinely concerned. Explain that you have taken their issue seriously and are interested in making sure they are satisfied with the resolution.

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Since this whole endeavor is as much about attracting new customers as it is making this one person happy, do your best to make this public customer service as public as possible. Post positive feedback on your website or social media profile, retweet any “thank you”-type correspondence you happen to be sent, etc.

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