Four ways to ensure that your restaurant gets reviewed
Good reviews are crucial to the success of any small business. It’s been noted that positive reviews can effect your sales by an 18 percent increase and customers will spend up to 31 percent more because of positive reviews. A negative review can take up to 70 percent of a business’s potential customers away. Even David Chang admitted in an interview with Eater, “I’ll tell you this: I believe Yelp is probably going to be one of, if not the only, source of food criticism.”
If your restaurant takes reviews seriously and encourages a culture of positive reviews, the chances of success can significantly increase. There are several ways to ensure that you get restaurant reviews, which ultimately lead to publicity, buzz and an influx of new customers.
One way to get your restaurant’s name out there is to have it reviewed by a food critic. It’s not hard to get in touch with a critic, simply contact one in your community via email or telephone, or even through Facebook or Twitter. Give the critic a reason to come and visit; explain to him/her why you want a review, hype up your restaurant, talk about your chef. A way to increase your chances of a critic agreeing to visit is if you ask for the review within the first year of opening, that way he/she is one of the first to experience and review your restaurant. It’s a critic’s job to review restaurants, so it’s likely that one will be interested.
Another way to get restaurant reviews is through food bloggers. Whether they use an online blog or Instagram as their platform, food bloggers and trend followers are more often than not looking for content for their feeds and will want to come experience your restaurant. Bloggers have many followers and, because their entire platform is on social media, those followers see your restaurant instantaneously. A tip to attract bloggers is to have great lighting in your restaurant, as well as unique, pretty or artsy seating areas and décor, as one of their main focuses is the pictures they take. A different way to capture a blogger’s interest is to invite him/her to collaborate with you or your restaurant. This gives the blogger greater incentive to come, as he/she is not only gaining content to post, but a potential business opportunity, too.
Create Your Own Buzz
As a restaurant owner, you have power! Make an Instagram, Twitter and Facebook account for your restaurant and post pictures of anything from food and place settings to behind-the-scenes of your chef preparing the dishes. Tons of people look-up restaurants on social media, especially Instagram, before visiting a restaurant, so featuring your dishes online will draw in more customers. In order to connect with customers before they even arrive at your door, spend some time making innovative and inviting captions for your posts. Giving details about the dish shown or the chef cooking in the picture will make potential customers a good feel for both the food and atmosphere of your restaurant. Always include a link to it on your social media pages to generate more traffic on your site. Critics, bloggers and customers all pay attention to social media and will likely be more inclined to visit your restaurant and write a review if they like what they see online.
Create Profiles on Review Sites
There are tons of review sites out there, key ones include TripAdvisor, LinkedIn and Yelp. By creating profiles on these sites, it makes it easier for customers to review your restaurant. Today, 60% of customers check online reviews before going to a new restaurant, so having online profiles on customer-reviewed websites will aid in attracting more people. Although reviews on Yelp and other like sources are not “professional reviews”, they are reviews by customers who are often unbiased and honest when writing reviews, so a strong base of positive customer reviews will go a long way to attracting others.