The community obsession with reviews is not some short-term fad that will come and go like other trends in commerce.
This is a major alteration to the old model of rating a restaurant for quality, bypassing many of the professional critics who published their opinion in tabloids, broadsheet newspapers and high profile blogs.
In the current climate, everyone is a critic and their opinion matters just as much as anyone else.
Here we will argue why this data matters and why restaurants have to be savvy and attentive about the process.
Reviewing Activity More Commonplace Today
The trend of reviews has become an industry all unto itself. A shared economy app like Kevsbest or Yelp is proof of that concept, allowing participants to rank and comment on restaurants that they love or hate depending on their personal user experience. This is in large part due to the expansion of WiFi access, 4G and 5G networks and the ease of access to smartphone devices where patrons can comment on their meal and dining experience right then and there.
Free Form of Advertising
When customers leave positive feedback, restaurants don’t necessarily have to rush out and spend thousands of dollars on advertisement campaigns. That flood of 5-stars through Google and Facebook will be the currency to drive more business through the doors rather than relying on traditional marketing measures that don’t always target the right demographics. If the customer has searched for the business, then they are already half of the way there to making a reservation, so this online status truly counts when converting that interest to sales.
Other Customers Value Public Feedback
Men and women who are on the fence about a certain type of restaurant will commonly scan the online reviews in the hope that this information will make up their mind. From the shocking 1 and 2 star outlets to the excellent 4 and 5 star eateries that are hard to secure a booking, community members want to know what their neighbours and travellers have to say about the location. They understand that this data is independent, it is objective and entirely honest. Why rely on a piece of marketing from the business when others have already made their judgment?
Increases Digital Exposure
A flood of reviews that are left on sites like Google, Facebook and Yelp! will allow the restaurant to increase its exposure. Thanks to their individual algorithm platforms, they will preference brands that receive a larger volume of feedback against their competitors. Once customers decide to run generic searches like “Spanish restaurant” then those who win over more ratings from their consumers will enjoy a higher grade of exposure.
Improves Business-to-Customer Engagement Levels
Reviews can be a means for owners and managers to actually open the lines of communication. Once those comments have been published, staff can open up a direct message or rely on the public thread to respond in kind and establish a back-and-forth with their constituents. Of course this is an exercise that could be abused, but if it is utilised in good faith then people can see that the business is transparent and willing to engage with locals and outside visitors who leave reviews.
Helps to Drive Positive Change
Ultimately restaurants should take customer reviews seriously because it is an opportunity to make change for the better. There have been countless horror stories of owners and managers refusing to respect these opinions and even going as far to attack their credibility. However, for those who are humble enough to realise the intention behind the review, they can alter their menu, improve on waiting times, create efficiencies with customer service and ensure that the dining experience is everything that the community hopes it can be.