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Online reviews can have a major impact on your business and helpt determine its success. When it comes to restaurant reviews, managing that is a beast and can be a full-time job on its own. Maybe you can dedicate a full-time person, or maybe you’re doing it off the side of your desk, either way, it is important to make managing your reviews and reputation a priority.

Negative Reviews

Everyone isn’t perfect, mistakes happen. Every review is an opportunity to enhance your guest experience.

Be Present
The most impactful thing you can do is be responsive to all reviews. You’re not just responding to the person who wrote the review, you’re responding to everyone who looks at that review. Regardless of the tone of the review, your response could have a bigger impact than the original review. Potential guests will see you care, you listen, and you’re passionate about your business, which generally flows through to the guest experience.

Create a Response Matrix
Whether you are personally handling replies, or you have a member of your team, creating a response matrix will make the task easier, and it will help take emotion out of it, its a cheat-sheet so to speak.
This tool will let you choose how you reply based on the tone of the original review, message, post. Quite often a negative review could trigger an impulsive response, and lead to an argument, follow your cheat-sheet and don’t let that happen.

Negative Reviews Happen
Every business has negative reviews – don’t let this get you angry, at least in an online world you can respond, think about how many reviews you get and can’t respond to, in-person, dark social (messenger platforms), it is essential to make the most of every opportunity you have to respond positively, even to the negative posts.

Own It
Sometimes negative reviews are legitimate – whatever the reason is, if you know it’s true, own it, and make it right. People make mistakes, and everyone knows it. Taking responsibility for those mistakes shows potential guests that you want to earn that guests return visit, and learn from the mistake so it won’t happen again.

Never Argue
Going back to taking the emotion out of it – never argue online. Provide ways for the reviewer to contact you offline. If your brand is loved and has passionate advocates, quite often they will take up that argument for you and show how passionate people are about your product, which means it must be great!

The 5-Star Secret
It’s not really a secret, you’ve probably seen people try to game the review system, forcing their team to post reviews. This works to a point, but it becomes pretty clear to most that these are fake reviews. Often a couple of clicks and you’ll see that reviewer is part of the staff.
The real secret isn’t a secret at all – provide great service, great products, and a great experience. Simple isn’t it?


Travis Talbot

Author Travis Talbot

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