The Impact of Online Reviews on Restaurants

Customer leaving a review for a meal at a restaurant

Online reviews have very rapidly become an important part of restaurant management. Dining is an experience, and it is evaluated constantly by guests who are providing valuable feedback about the food, atmosphere, and service they experienced. Just how great is the impact of online reviews on restaurants and eateries nationwide?

Online Reviews Are Important in the Restaurant Industry

Research studies have shown that online reviews on restaurants are very important to potential customers:1

  • 61% of customers read online restaurant reviews.
  • 34% of diners say they choose where to dine solely based on online review sites.
  • 53% of 18–34-year-olds report that online customer reviews are important to their choice of restaurants.

Why Do Potential Customers Read Restaurant Reviews Online?

Customer reviews online have the same effect as word of mouth once did in determining the popularity and protecting the reputation of a restaurant or eatery. Younger diners trust positive reviews on popular review sites and use them heavily in deciding where to spend their entertainment dollars, for these reasons:

  • Reducing the risk that their dining experience will be disappointing, or reducing the severity of possible disappointment and buyer’s remorse
  • Reducing the amount of time it takes to look through individual websites in the face of an abundance of options, by using reviews to sort and filter restaurant listings
  • Perceived approval by their peer group, which is reflected in the popularity of a restaurant online and the expectation that they will have a positive experience themselves if they visit

How Businesses Can Benefit from Google Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant owners and managers can leverage the power of online reviews to attract new customers with a higher rating for their business in Google listings or on popular review sites like Yelp. Make it easy for satisfied customers to share positive reviews about food quality and service. Highlight the best reviews on your social media or website.

How Do Negative Online Reviews Impact the Restaurant Business?

A single negative review of a restaurant can cause a significant loss in business, and losing a star rating has been shown to impact restaurant sales dramatically. If negative reviews are legitimate, they should be addressed immediately at the manager level, and the customer should be notified of steps taken to prevent what they experienced. If the customer is willing to amend their review, it demonstrates that the restaurant takes feedback seriously and works to address it.

Most review site algorithms are designed to weed out fake reviews, whether they are positive or negative. It is not advised to attempt to rig the system or flood it with glowing reviews from paid sources. Doing so can lower your star rating. If negative reviews displayed about your restaurant are false or misleading, the best steps to take are to work with the review site to have them removed or flagged as inappropriate.

Managing Your Restaurant’s Online Reputation

5 star restaurant review

The importance of online reputation management is apparent across the industry, and dedicating time and resources to maintaining a positive brand image and online presence is a solid step toward protecting the financial health of a restaurant or eatery. The most effective way to gain visibility into online reviews is with review management tools like ReviewInc.

Using ReviewInc’s review management software, you can immediately achieve:

  • Real-time monitoring allows your team to respond to positive customer reviews immediately
  • More visibility as highly rated restaurants with a high number of reviews are favored on search engine rankings
  • The ability to manage negative reviews quickly to prevent damage to your reputation by addressing concerns to raise the level of customer satisfaction
  • Increased sales, which can be as much as 9% per star on sites like Trustpilot2
  • Boosted click-through rates by as much as 35% with each review star increase2
  • Time saved with a single dashboard to monitor and manage your online reviews quickly and efficiently

With the power of comprehensive review management software across all major review sites and sources, ReviewInc allows your restaurant to use the power of online reviews to your benefit and avoid the pitfalls of ignoring this primary driver of the new food service market. Contact us today for a free demo to find out how easy it can be to drive new business and improve your bottom line with online review management from ReviewInc.