Boost Your Reputation and Restaurant Sales: Three Ways Your Staff Can Get More Online Reviews

Online reviews are perhaps more important to restaurants than any other industry. We look at three easy ways your staff can get those reviews for you, boosting your online profile for increased restaurant sales.

It’s no secret that your restaurant’s reputation can live and die on the merits of your online reviews. In fact, according to GoDine, 62 percent of diners said that reviews were the top thing they considered when choosing a restaurant. 

And it’s not just whether your reviews are good or not, it’s how many reviews you have. The search engines will rank you higher above your competition if you have more reviews. In the eyes of Google, more reviews means more people are talking about you, making you more likely to be relevant to the user’s search.

We take a look at three ways you can get your staff to get more reviews out of your customers, to boost your presence online and get more customers through your door to increase your restaurant sales. 

1. Just Ask

Yes it seems absolutely obvious, but honestly, you’d be amazed at how often customers just simply aren’t asked to leave a review. Bake it in to every table turnover [1] just as you would asking if they would like another drink. 

From restaurant marketing experts Placepull: “People love to have their opinions heard and validated. And in 2019 with everyone plugged into the internet, they have a voice that can reach literally thousands of people. Really make an effort to appeal to their ego in that you genuinely value their input. Make them feel like an expert and they will absolutely jump on their phones ASAP to give you a review”.

Don’t forget to have added touch points to remind your customers you’d love their review. That could be a few words on the napkin, or even an iPad at the register that has Yelp loaded. More reviews equal more exposure for an effective way to increase your restaurant sales. 

2. Make It a Competition

“Do you want fries with that?” is that cliche up-sell that is so played out you can feel the boredom in the voice of the person asking it. If asking for a review is simply part of the sales process, you risk your wait staff overlooking it as just a formality. 

Have a competition with your staff each week or month to see who can get the most mentions in Yelp reviews. A meal/drink voucher or even a paid night off can be in the offering for the winner. All they need to do is have customers review the restaurant and mention the staff member’s name. The staff member with the most mentions wins.

Trust that your wait staff are very skilled in sales and will quickly find the best pitch to get what they need out of the customer. 

The added bonus, according to DCR Strategies, is that 77 percent of employees would work harder if they were better recognized. More reviews, harder working staff and improved restaurant revenue – it’s a win-win-win. 

3. Encourage Complaints

No, we haven’t lost our minds here. Remember, we want more reviews, not just good reviews, to be in favor of the search engines. So why not ask your customers if there was any nit-picking they could think of? If so, tell them that’s a wonderful observation and they should share it online in a review, as that would be super helpful.

There are also other benefits of a bad review:

  • According to consultancy Glance, 70 percent of unhappy customers whose problems are resolved are willing to shop with a business again.
  • An objective perspective should always be appreciated – after all it is the customer you are trying to please.
  • By fixing the problem, you genuinely make your restaurant a better business.

When answering the review, say something like “Thank you, Bryan your waiter approached us about this when you left our restaurant. We’ve already done x and y to rectify the situation and we sincerely appreciate you observing this so we could make Restaurant Z a more enjoyable dining experience for everyone”. 

You’ve just increased your reputation, your dining experience, and ultimately, your restaurant revenue. 

It’s natural to think that you’d only want good reviews; it makes you look good and reassures you that everything is going well. But if you want more reviews (and you most definitely do), you need to embrace getting all the reviews. Pull out all the stops to get more reviews and watch your reputation amongst customers and search engines–as well as your sales– soar.