How to Respond to Negative Restaurant Reviews - The Ultimate Guide
Negative customer reviews are common for restaurants. However, they can be especially damaging to those with already low ratings.
We often come across restaurants with low ratings on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Most of these restaurants have negative reviews from customers. Unfortunately, they fail to respond to these reviews appropriately.
This guide will offer valuable tips to restaurant businesses looking for the best ways to respond to negative reviews. So, let's find out.
How to Manage Negative Customer Reviews?
The most effective way to respond to negative restaurant reviews is by taking the reviewer's complaints seriously, apologizing if necessary, and working towards resolving the problem as soon as possible.
While you should always strive for excellent customer service in your responses, there are some tips below that will help you respond to negative restaurant reviews to keep your response professional and polite.
How Bad Reviews Affect Your Restaurant
The consequences of bad customer reviews can significantly impact your restaurant and drive away customers. Negative reviews will make customers less likely to visit your restaurant frequently, thereby affecting your revenue. In addition, the more negative reviews you get, the harder it will be for you to establish a positive brand image.
Customers often leave reviews to tell others how they feel about your business but also to warn others. People judge a restaurant by its reviews. If the negative feedback is more than positive, it probably means that your restaurant provides terrible customer service and food.
Examples of Bad Customer Service in A Restaurant
People don't just leave reviews for the food or service. They also do it when there is a genuine problem with their dining experience. Some of the bad customer service examples in a restaurant are:
Rude staff: Staff rudeness may include bad attitudes, not greeting customers, ignoring them, and treating them poorly.
Waiting time: Do you have limited space for guests? If your customers have to wait for prolonged periods and there is no sitting arrangement, they are more likely to post a negative review.
Slow food delivery: The slower your restaurant delivers food, the more likely the reviewer will use foul language or insults in their review.
There are many other examples of poor customer service, leading to negative reviews. Just remember to respond to every complaint quickly, so the customers feel valued.
What Customers Want to See in Response to Bad Reviews
Customers don't care whether you think that their complaint is valid or not. Instead, they are more interested in knowing how you plan on resolving the issue.
Customers often leave bad reviews because they are already upset over something else, and they need a reason to vent. Still, addressing all reviews is important because they can affect the reputation of your restaurants.
How to Respond to Negative Restaurant Reviews
When responding to negative reviews, you should be mindful of the medium you are using and adjust your responses accordingly.
How to Respond to Negative Reviews on Google
1. Acknowledge the Reviews
The best approach to managing bad reviews acknowledging that customers are not happy with your service or offerings. While it's ok to have one or two bad reviews, anything beyond that can be a problem. Second, think about how you can improve your services so they will result in fewer complaints.
2. Support your Answers
Support your response with reviews from satisfied customers. Investigate the matter to know how and why the customers did not like your food or services.
3. Request Feedback
Thirdly, ask for feedback regularly and create a process to engage these customers through email or social media.
4. Don't Respond Rudely
Fourthly, try not to respond in anger when people voice legitimate complaints against your restaurant. That will only worsen the situation for both your business and your customer base.
5. Avoid Deleting Negative Reviews
Finally, don't delete negative reviews. While it seems like you are getting the problem off your site, this practice is very harmful to your reputation. That's because it suggests that you have something to hide. More importantly, deleting a review doesn't remove its original URL or link from Google. Hence, the search engine will still know about it.
Check out this excellent example response to a bad restaurant review:
How to Respond to a Bad Review on Yelp
Your business is likely to have a page on Yelp, and this is where you'll find most reviews. It's essential to keep tabs on what people are saying about your company to address any issues as soon as possible to grow customer loyalty and maintain a positive online reputation. Take every negative review seriously and offer a response that keeps your customer base happy.
When someone leaves a negative review on Yelp, the best way to respond is to offer a quick apology. Your customers may not want to hear your justification at this point. Instead, begin with an apology to address the issue and offer a solution to rectify the situation. For example, invite them again to order from your restaurant with a voucher to enjoy discounted rates.
So, the best way to respond to a review on Yelp is by being brief, apologetic, and getting straight to the point. You want to win your customers again, so they don't give any unhappy comments, in future. Thank them for visiting your restaurant and guarantee them a pleasant experience.
How to Respond to a Negative Review on Facebook
A negative review can be the start of an uncomfortable situation if you do not take it seriously. Facebook is where your customers explore different options, but they also like to express their opinions on businesses and products publicly. As a business, you need to make sure that you keep tabs on what people are saying about your restaurant.
Here is how you can respond to a negative review on Facebook:
First, respond to negative reviews quickly and professionally. Don't get defensive, and don't make excuses.
Don't delete the review, as this will only create more of an issue. Google can still find it, and the reviews will likely show up in your friends' newsfeeds.
Engage with unhappy customers until they become your most loyal brand ambassadors.
Thank the customer for their feedback before addressing any specific complaints. That shows that you value their input and want to resolve the issue.
Maintain a good reputation with your customers by responding quickly, professionally, and politely. An excellent way to do this is through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. These mediums are perfect for maintaining communication.
Best Practices for Responding to Negative Reviews
Here are some general tips to follow for responding appropriately to negative reviews. These tips will help you keep your clients happy.
1. Respond Quickly to Bad Reviews
When someone posts a negative review, respond as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more people will see and comment on those reviews. Reacting promptly shows that you care for your customers and are willing to work with them to improve your restaurant services and menu.
2. Don't Be Defensive
If you make excuses or act defensively, it can come across as a one-sided conversation. Instead, try saying things like, "I'm sorry for the bad service you received at our restaurant." That lets the customer know that you are dedicated to improving your services.
3. Offer a Solution
Asking the customer what went wrong helps you figure out how to fix the problem. It also shows that you care about improving the situation and want them to come back. For example, if you serve a cold or bad meal, apologize and offer something in return, like a discounted offer.
On the other hand, if customers had a great experience at your restaurant, remember to offer them a free dessert in exchange for a positive review on Yelp or Facebook.
4. State the Facts
Adding a comment like 'I'm sorry you were upset by our service, but we had limited staff that day’ can go a long way to repair your reputation and satisfy the customer. You don't want them to think that your restaurant is any less than your rivals.
Negative Review Response Template for Restaurants
Thank you for bringing this to my attention!
I'm sorry to hear that you are disappointed in our restaurant. That is certainly not the type of experience we want to provide for our customers, and we take full responsibility for what has happened.
Please allow me to assist you so we can make things right. Please reach out to me directly at [phone number/email] when convenient so we can discuss a solution.
In the meantime, in the hopes that you will give us a second chance to provide you with a flawless customer experience, please check your email. You will find a voucher for enjoying $20 off on your next visit.
Best Practices for Responding to Positive Reviews
1. Thank your Customers
When you get positive reviews on places like Yelp, Twitter, and Facebook, be sure that you thank your customers for their patronage. Then, offer a small reward or bonus in return. That will improve your brand reputation and encourage your customers to revisit.
2. Be Professional
Maintain a good reputation with your customers by responding quickly, professionally, and politely. Be courteous, and your customers will appreciate your response.
3. Encourage them to Visit Again
When thanking customers for their feedback, please encourage them to visit again and try your menu items.
How you respond to customers' reviews can make a big difference. Not only can your responses save your brand reputation, but they can also do wonders to increase your clientele. Follow our guide to ensure that your customers post happy reviews on every platform. Contact us to find out more about how to improve your online booking order system and services.