If you own a restaurant, you want your diners to be happy. A bad review can ruin your day and make you doubt what you’re doing. However, you need to remember that a bad review isn’t the end of the world. One could present an opportunity for organic places to eat if restaurant owners take the effort to respond properly to it.
If you’re going to respond to reviews, respond quickly. No one wants to wait months to have their concerns addressed. Keep a close eye on Facebook, Google, and Yelp, and also take the occasional look at travel sites. If you see a negative review, get ready to respond quickly.
Remember People Want Solutions, Not Excuses
People want their issues addressed. They don’t want a bunch of excuses from you, no matter how new the host was or how busy the restaurant was that day. Make it clear that you appreciate what a reviewer has experienced and that you are doing everything that you can to hold yourself to a higher standard.
Always Use Proper Grammar and Punctuation
You also need to make sure that you come off professionally when you respond to reviews. That means using proper grammar and punctuation. You want a response that’s easy to read, one that shows that you took your time to respond. Firing off a poorly written response in a few seconds won’t help you.
Don’t Take it Personally
Don’t get mad and start taking a review personally. This was a diner talking about their experience with your restaurant, and it can feel personal as a result, but reviewers are rarely going after you in particular. Stay calm and stay on topic, responding to the actual content of the review itself.
Learn from Reviews and Adapt
In some cases, a review might have useful information in it. If you see a variety of reviews that harp on the same issues, like long wait times, do your best to address that. If some dish isn’t landing with most reviewers, maybe they’re right! Don’t instantly disregard the content of bad reviews.
Don’t Just Use a Form Response
If you respond to each review in nearly the same way, people will be able to see that. Don’t just respond to bad reviews with a form letter. Instead, personalize responses with details from the review itself. Show the reviewer you read their review and that you listened. This can make diners realize that you’re trying to improve.
Invite Reviewers Back
At the end of your response, invite reviewers back. Maybe offer a discount as well. If you act in good faith, many diners will be willing to take you up on such an offer and give you another chance.
If you want to learn more about dealing with customers and offering the best possible experience, the Organic Restaurants blog can help. It’s full of advice that restaurant owners can use!