The process of collecting and leveraging online reviews for your restaurant should not be a backburner marketing project. It’s a critical customer engagement strategy that should always be top of mind. 

Here’s why: 

  • Unlike any other industry or business type, 90% of consumers go online and research a restaurant before deciding to dine there (or not.)
  • 92% of consumers read restaurant reviews 
  • 77% admit they prefer peer restaurant reviews over critic reviews
  • 33% say they would never eat at a restaurant with less than four stars

As you can see, online reviews strongly influence diners, and that affects your business. Whether you’re a franchise with multiple locations or operate an independent restaurant, the following strategies will help you engage guests and increase positive feedback in the form of online reviews.

Timing is Everything

Asking guests for a review in a thoughtful and meaningful way should be done at the appropriate time. To be successful, send a post-reservation survey within 24 hours of the customer’s visit. Most consumers are likely to react to a survey request during lunch breaks or in the evening, so it’s important to be mindful of that timing as well.

Automate Requests

Yes, the manual effort of asking for feedback and generating more reviews can be automated with the right technology. A leading reservation management system like Libro gives your restaurant the ability to export reservation lists, add them to a database, and easily send diners an email with a post-visit survey. 

Respond to All Reviews

Promptly responding to both glowing reviews and unfavorable criticism speaks volumes about your restaurant. When you express gratitude to customers who leave a positive rating, you are encouraging repeat visits and brand engagement. Actively and publicly responding to negative reviews will show diners that your restaurant values feedback and acknowledge room for improvement. 

Share Positive Reviews 

Don’t be shy about re-posting positive guest surveys. Share customer photos and testimonials that showcase your dining room’s service and ambiance. In addition to sharing your best reviews on social media, include them on your website and within marketing campaigns. This effort will increase your credibility and keep your dining room full!

In today’s digital age, restaurants that proactively pursue online customer reviews will be better equipped for long-term success. If you want more tips on how to future-proof your restaurant and grow your business, read this.