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.
But that shouldn’t intimidate you, you should take advantage of it to strengthen your restaurant and create a stronger bond with your customers.
This site allows business owners to respond to Yelp reviews. 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.
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.
But, you should not always answer Yelp Reviews. Keep reading to find out how to handle the most common situations.
When To Address Yelp Reviews
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).
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.
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.
Be Careful about Negative Opinions
Many restaurants make the mistake of defending themselves from reviews that are merely based on opinions and perceptions. The truth is that many bad reviews cannot be considered as constructive criticism, but just as a subjective opinion or, in other cases, as people being mean.
How should you react to bad reviews?
If someone says they didn’t like the food
The truth is that there is nothing you can say to change this client’s mind. Just to be polite, thank them for their feedback (and maybe invite them to give your restaurant another shot) and move on. Don’t make a big deal out of it.
Sometimes people have a bad experience and, instead of voicing their problems, they lash out in your Yelp profile. While we recommend you to not engage with this type of negative review (you don’t want to start a fight online), that doesn’t mean you should leave the review untouched.
You can just leave a short and simple answer letting the reviewer know you’ll take their input into consideration or that you’ll work to fix whatever’s wrong.
This will show other people reviewing Yelp that you do care about what customers think. If the person answers your answer with more negative comments or hate, just let it be, don’t feed into their negative banter.
Mean negative reviews
Sometimes you’ll just find comments that are negative for the sake of being negative. Other times maybe you’ll just find someone that just wants to hurt your restaurant for no apparent reason. We recommend you to just ignore these reviews.
Your Yelp Profile IS a Marketing Tool
Hopefully, this article gives you a better idea of how to navigate review sites like Yelp.
Just know that Yelp is an amazing resource, so it’s crucial that you use it and stay active answering reviews. Yelp is a great marketing tool and you should take advantage of it, after all, it’s free!
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