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What Restaurants Should Understand About Review Sites

Yelp. TripAdvisor. Google Local. Restaurants and food business are receiving online reviews, both positive and negative, from customers every single day. Often, these reviews are some of the first search results that pop up when a new customer begins conducting research about a restaurant online. But how much emphasis should owners and managers be placing on review and reputation management, when they’re already juggling several social media profiles, working on offline advertising initiatives, and, uh, also finding time to cook?

The answer may surprise you. Thanks to this new infographic that aggregates statistics from AdAge, Nielsen, Marketing Sherpa, and some of the biggest names in online behavior and metrics, we have a much clearer picture of what online reviews mean for restuarants. For example:

  • 70% of people consult reviews/ratings before purchasing.
  • 75% of reviews posted on review websites are positive.
  • Nearly 84% of people said they would trust a friend’s review over a critic’s.
  • Reviews drive 18% higher loyalty, and 21% higher purchase satisfaction
  • 71% agree that consumer reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product/service
  • Perhaps most significantly, 95% of unhappy customers will return to your business if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently.

There are two key messages here which are overwhelming:

First, that online reviews are an absolutely vital part of the decision making process, when it comes to attracting new customers or driving sales. Consumers are actively looking for reviews of restaurants online; in fact, these reviews make up a huge part of an establishment’s overall online identity. Most of the reviews being written by these consumers are positive, and there is overwhelming evidence that these reviews can drive new business.

The most important message, however, is that even negative reviews online can be used to a restaurant’s advantage. If a restaurant works hard to address a negative reviewers’ concerns, 95% them will return to that business, and they may even update their review, provide followup, or take to Twitter or Facebook to share their (now positive!) experience with that particular brand.

Online reviews, both positive and negative, provide opportunities to interact with existing and potential customers, and turn even critics of a restaurant into loyal brand ambassadors. Any reviews that appear online provide an opportunity, and we only wish more restauranteurs would devote more time and attention to cultivating these reviews.

About Malcolm Bedell

Malcolm is one-half of the blogging team at From Away, an Alexa-ranked top 100k most trafficked website about cooking, eating, and food culture in Maine. His writing and photography has been featured online on Serious Eats, the Huffington Post, BlogHer, and Foodista, as well as in print for Downeast, Indulge, and Cigar Snob magazines.

Comments

  1. Michael says:

    Hello all, I am the owner of FoodPinup.com. I appreciate that it was mentioned in these comments. We are still in our infancy state and the site is growing fast. I will plug everyone who lists on my site and feature you on the first page for one week. Register and post your food. Share a link to your site, you can even post it in the photo if you like. We are open to new ideas and new partnerships.

    Thank you and I look forward to your post.

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