Negative and fake restaurant reviews can have a devastating impact on a business’s reputation. Just a few negative reviews can deter customers from dining at your restaurant, and the effects can be long-lasting.
Online reviews have never been more influential. Statistics show that 97% of consumers search online for reviews when considering a product or service. And 93% say that online reviews directly impacted their decision. This is all very well for businesses regularly garnering four or five-star reviews and glowing comments about their business, products, services, and customer care. Or for businesses with a robust online review management strategy in place that are actively investing in managing their company reviews.
But what about businesses that regularly receive negative restaurant reviews? Or worse still, fake restaurant reviews? Negative and fake restaurant reviews can have a devastating impact on a business’s reputation, leading to decreased profits, fewer customers, and even closure in extreme cases. In this article, we will explore the impact of negative and fake restaurant reviews on business reputation, and offer some tips on how to manage them.
The impact of negative restaurant reviews
First things first, it’s important to remember that not all reviews are created equal. Some customers may simply have had an unpleasant experience, while others may be deliberately trying to harm your business. Yet, it’s important to take all reviews seriously and take steps to mitigate the damage they can cause.
Negative restaurant reviews can have a serious impact on a business’ reputation for several reasons. First, they are often highly visible, appearing prominently in search results where potential customers are looking for information about restaurants. Second, they are often taken at face value – even when they are fake – and this can be difficult to counter or refute. Also, negative and fake reviews can have a ripple effect, with one negative review leading to others as disgruntled customers mays share their experiences online.
In terms of the financial impact, a study by Harvard Business School found that a one-star increase in rating on Yelp resulted in a 5-9% increase in revenue. But when businesses were hit by fake negative reviews, they saw a decrease in revenue of up to 20%.
Here are some ways negative and fake reviews can impact your restaurant’s reputation:
- They can make potential customers reconsider dining at your establishment.
- They can drive away repeat customers.
- They can lead to a loss in revenue.
- They can harm your relationship with suppliers.
- They can damage your relationship with employees.
- They can make it difficult to attract new customers and employees.
If you’re dealing with negative or fake restaurant reviews, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage and protect your business’s reputation.
- Monitoring sites for reviews and responding to them promptly is crucial.
- Encouraging customers to leave reviews on your site or on third-party sites can help offset the impact of negative reviews.
- Asking customers for feedback via surveys can help you identify potential issues before they become problems.
- Investing in a reputation management strategy can help you proactively manage your online reviews and protect your business’s good name.
Negative and fake restaurant reviews can have a serious impact on your business. But, by taking steps to monitor and respond to them, you can help protect your restaurant’s reputation.
How to respond to a bad restaurant review?
Consumers rely heavily on reviews in order to discover great new restaurants to dine in. This is why it’s extremely important for your restaurants to learn how to respond to the reviews, especially in situations where the reviews might damage your brand reputation.
Responding to negative reviews is difficult, as bad reviews hurt and can be cruel. And while it’s natural to get upset about your negative reviews, you should remember not to reply angry nor lose your cool and never ever retaliate. Here is a simple framework for you to use when responding to negative restaurant’s review.
- Thank the reviewer (by name) for visiting your restaurant
It’s important to show gratitude because at the end of the day out of all the restaurants in the area, the customer spent their time and money at your restaurant.
- Apologise and sympathise
You need to say sorry – this shows that you care about your customers and you’re not too proud to own up to your mistakes. Even if their negative experience was not your fault, you still need to say sorry. This also establishes trust between your restaurant and the customers. Apologising also “humanises” the restaurant – no one wants to eat at a restaurant that refuses to accept its shortcomings.
- Acknowledge the problem
The first step in solving a problem is acknowledging that it exists. In order to show the reviewer (and other potential customers reading the review) that you’re taking their complaint seriously, you need to address the issue directly.
- Take responsibility
There’s nothing worse than people and companies making excuses, which is why you shouldn’t. Even if what happened was an isolated incident, you must acknowledge the customer’s experience and reassure them you hold yourself and your restaurant to high standards. Everyone makes mistakes, but it is important to own up to them.
- Make things right
Customers review restaurants to help others make better buying decisions. 62% of diners said that reviews were the top thing they considered when deciding which restaurant to book with. So you should use this to your advantage when you’re thinking about writing a response. You should explain what you’re doing to fix the problem. But it is important to remember not to give empty promises, as this can break the trust between your business and the customers.
- Try to take the conversation offline
Your response should be short, and straight to the point, but you should always try to make the conversation offline to gain more information about what went wrong. Provide your email address or other contact information to encourage a private discussion with the review. This shows that you’re willing to spend as much time as necessary to resolve their complaints.
Negative and fake restaurant reviews can have a serious impact on your business. But, by taking steps to monitor and respond to them, you can help protect your restaurant’s reputation. By monitoring sites for reviews and responding to them promptly, encouraging customers to leave reviews on your site or on third-party sites, asking customers for feedback via surveys, and investing in a reputation management strategy, you can help protect your business from the negative effects of bad reviews.
By following these steps, you can help turn a negative review into a positive customer experience and preserve your restaurant’s excellent reputation.