Tips to Maximize Your Bar & Restaurant’s Review Site Listings
For the most part, bar and restaurant owners and managers don’t have to be reminded of the importance that online review sites and listings have on their business. A customer can now be as critical to success as that newspaper critic was a decade ago. Local listings and review sites can be an essential cornerstone of your online presence.
In 2012, Angelsmith conducted a survey to understand how “food aficionados” influence the dining decisions of others and in turn how their personal restaurant choices are made. The survey found that nearly half (48.9%) of survey respondents seek information from trusted friends first, more than eight of 10 (80.1%) respondents go on to do additional research after receiving a restaurant recommendation. So even when a friend or relative passes along a good experience, a restaurant still may have to pass the additional “online” test in order for that customer to bring their business in the door.
So how do you improve your online presence as a restaurant or bar? A key is focusing on local review sites like Yelp and Google+ Local (the artist formerly known as Google Places). Here are a few tips for maximizing your presence on the online review sites.
Check those profiles.
The silliest way to cost yourself business is through an inaccuracy on your restaurant’s review site profile. If your kitchen is open until 11pm, customers need to know it. Are there amazing photos of your restaurant available? Can potential customers find a link to your website or menu? Your profiles should be as up-to-date as possible.
Ask for help.
Encouraging customers to leave you a review provides feedback and helps engage your customer base. As Janelle Vreeland writes in lonelybrand.com, reviews “not only reflect well on your restaurant, they help boost your Google visibility.” Google+ Local and Yelp both have apps for iPhone and Android smart phones, so you should have in-store signage with instructions for how customers can find you at those sites.
There are a number of social media sites that allow for customers to quickly post photos, the most well-known of course being Instagram. While Instagram requires customer use of hashtags to indirectly connect with your business, Google+ allows users to post pictures right to your profile. Using customer photos will help diversify your profile and can build on customer relationships.
You’re likely to find reviews of all sorts written online about your bar or restaurant. And the worst thing you can do is to ignore them. Good review? Thank them for taking the time to write and tell them you can’t wait to see them again. Bad review? Apologize for any inconvenience and make an effort to correct the mistake. You want other readers to see just how important customer service is to your restaurant.
When those rave reviews inevitably start to roll in, you want make sure you shout it from the rooftops. If someone passes along a particularly great experience, make certain you’re sharing it in other places (including your website). Don’t let that falling tree land in the woods without anybody hearing it.
The observational component of review sites is one restaurants occasionally miss. Through the use of sites like Yelp and Google+ Local, one can accomplish potentially valuable research from the comfort of a living room. Finding out what local customers like about your competition and whether those are areas upon which you can improve can make a big difference to your bottom line.
How are you getting the most out of your local listing? Are there any tips we didn’t mention? Chime in!