How to respond to Yelp reviewers
By: dtallent
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When And How To Respond To Yelp Reviews

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Many restaurant owners find review sites like Yelp incredibly intimidating. Especially considering the fact that many people tend to only leave Yelp reviews when they are negative. Yelp allows business owners to respond to Yelp reviews of their establishment. This is a good tool for restaurant owners to address concerns, correct misinformation, and attempt to get to know their customer base a little bit more. We’re going to give you situations where you should or shouldn’t respond to Yelp reviews and how to respond. 

When To Address Yelp Reviews 

Starting Up

When you are starting up your business you want to respond to more reviews than usual. If it’s a positive review, thank them for their review and say something along the lines of: “Hope to see you again soon!”. If it is a negative review, again thank them for the feedback and try to address their concerns (more on this later).  

Misinformation 

There are some cases where internet users will leave a review for the wrong restaurant, or will blatantly make up information just to hurt a business. The key here is to understand that negative opinions are NOT misinformation. However, if your menu is vegetarian and someone claims that you serve meat, you should respond to correct that misinformation. 

Damage Control 

You always should respond to reviews if there is something extraordinarily bad that happened that night. For example, if the kitchen equipment stopped working and caused huge delays in food being served. The key here is not to sound like you are making excuses. In fact, you should first apologize for the bad service (even if it was not the fault of the restaurant) and then, explain the situation and how it will not happen in the future. 

When Not To Address Yelp Reviews 

Negative Opinions

Many restaurants make the mistake of defending themselves from reviews that are merely based on opinions and perceptions. For example, if someone gives a bad review saying they didn’t like the food, there is nothing you can say to change their mind. Thank them for their feedback and move on. 

How To Respond To Yelp Reviews 

Take The High Road

Your restaurant is a source of pride which makes negative reviews particularly hard to read. However, you need to stay as neutral and unemotional in your responses as possible. Always thank the customer for leaving the review and then address any misinformation. 

Short and Sweet

People tend not to want to read long walls of text and seeing them might make a viewer think the restaurant is getting overly defensive. Keep your responses short and to the point. 

Prove Your Points

If you are correcting misinformation, make sure it is something that you can easily prove. For example, if someone complains about every meal costing $20.00 or more, have a menu that shows your prices are not that high. If you can’t prove it, it’s best not to try and argue with negative reviews and instead thank them for their feedback. 

Hopefully, this article gives you a better idea of how to navigate review sites like Yelp. For more info on running a successful restaurant business, check out our sales and management blog.

Do you qualify for a
small business loan?