If you are a small business owner of a restaurant, you likely know that word of mouth is one of your greatest assets. The different in our world today is that word of mouth reviews can happen instantaneously online, and one reviewer can reach hundreds or thousands of potential visitors.
In fact, the statistics are eye-popping. Over 86% of all consumers and 95% of those aged 18-34 read online reviews before deciding upon a good or a service, and that would include which restaurant to visit. Everyone laughs when they hear, “I read it on the internet, so it must be true,” but this may actually be truer than everyone believes when it comes to online reviews.
Do you think that your restaurant will get more business from one person telling a friend? Not nearly as much business as that same person posting a positive review on the internet. In fact, 91% of those aged 18-34 trust them as much or even more than a recommendation from someone they know. These reviews can translate into actual profit. Increasing your Yelp star rating by only one star can increase your profit by 9% according to a study done by the Harvard Business School.
Ask for reviews, and ask often. The absolute best time to ask for a positive online review is when the customer has just experienced an amazing time in your restaurant. Offer an incentive such as a coupon or small item for them to review the restaurant before they even leave. These reviews translate into actual profit quickly.
Any press is not good press when it comes to online reviews. Negative reviews can destroy a restaurant or small business. Unfortunately, those who are least satisfied are even more likely to leave a negative review. The bad news is that only 57% of consumers will even attempt to visit a business or purchase a product if it has fewer than 4 stars.
However, you can try to turn a negative review into a positive by responding to every negative review you see regarding your business, and being polite and offer assistance, or a coupon, or something to make up for their bad experience. Studies show that an apology or any type of goodwill gesture on behalf of a company can truly change the mind of those reading the reviews. Additionally, if you lack the time to review all of your online comments left by your customers, you can hire several different companies to monitor your reviews online and respond to any negative comments left by unhappy guests.
Contact a California Food Law Attorney
Online reviews are just one part of how to build a profitable business if you are in the food industry. At De Cárdenas Law Group, we make it our mission to help you with your business. Give us the opportunity to show you how we can help you stay compliant with our legal services. You can schedule a meeting with our legal team in San Francisco or South Pasadena by calling (626) 577-6800.