The #1 Way to Improve Patron Restaurant Reviews

 In Restaurant Tips, Reviews

Who doesn’t want to improve patron restaurant reviews? But the trick is twofold: how do you get stellar reviews, and get more of them? Your goal is to max out your performance while staying grounded in customer experience. You also know that when people want to check you out, they’re going to the Internet first. Your online reputation has got to be robust.

What’s the #1 way to do this? We’ll break it down for you, but we’ll also keep the suspense. Let’s start at #5.

To improve your patron restaurant reviews:

#5 – Ask for them.

Your initiative sets the tone. When you sincerely ask for feedback, you are telling patrons that you want to know what they think, how you can improve, and how their next visit can be even better. Though you also need to score online reviews, feedback is not ultimately about numbers and stars. It’s about leveraging those numbers and stars with questions and complaints to make your restaurant the best it can be.

#4 – Cut out the middleman.

The most effective way to get reviews is to provide a way to capture them before patrons leave the restaurant. The most effective way to lose reviews is to expect patrons to add an extra task to their already busy day. If you cut out the middleman and capture reviews in-house, you’re not only getting immediate feedback, but you’re getting more feedback because more patrons are likely to respond.

Original Review users go from seeing a few online reviews a month to hundreds of reviews a month. With OR, the restaurant takes the initiative and then makes it supremely easy for customers to leave feedback quickly. The option to leave a review comes with the check, on a handheld device, tucked inside the bill holder, and captures feedback in 3-5 simple questions.

#3 – Customize your ask.

Language matters. You’re setting the tone. Some restaurants may want to be formal, some may want to be casual, but your ask is always sincere. And you never beg. You want reviews because you need them, but the key is to invite.

“We’d love for you to leave your thoughts for us.” “We’ve got a quick customer survey for you with the check. Feel free to let us know how we did today.” These are both great examples.

Original Review keeps your ask consistent and discrete, and gives you the option of customizing up to two additional review questions, so your customers leave exactly the feedback you need. Reviews post straight to your online review page, where the only reviews are real reviews, from real customers, in real time.  

#2 – Make it the easiest thing they’ll do all day.

When people are asked to leave reviews, most of what you’ll see will be positive. Asking for a review already orients the patron to your restaurant in a positive way. Taking the initiative to ask for feedback can help cool a temper or resolve an unspoken grievance. In short, most solicited reviews will be positive reviews.

But people are busy. “Multitasking” is an understatement. That means you need to make it as easy as possible for someone to leave a review once you ask for it.

Some restaurants use an at-the-table review platform. Others slip feedback cards in with the check. These can be good ways to make leaving feedback convenient for your diners, as they only add a moment to their time in your restaurant, and dovetail with what they’re already doing: paying the bill.

But remember that you want to both improve your restaurant and keep your online reputation squeaky clean. Feedback cards can provide the first, but not the second. And Original Review is the only feedback capture platform that sends reviews directly to your own site.

Now, drumroll, please. The best thing you can do to improve your reviews is:

#1 – Know the customer’s mind before they walk out the door.

This is Relationships 101. You won’t have time to get to all the tables on a given day to check in, but with Original Review, you get to the strategic tables.

As you watch reviews come pouring in, your dashboard automatically sets up metrics for you, so you can know how operations are flowing when customer satisfaction seems to be the highest, and who your happiest customers are. Now instead of troubleshooting, you’re on the offensive. You know where to be to improve workflow, encourage staff, and meet face-to-face with patrons who have left you great reviews. It’s all about leadership and person-to-person contact. Besides food and service, these are the most powerful tools you have for restaurant growth and fantastic reviews.

Just as importantly, you also know which of your patrons are not happy. For every review below a certain number of stars, you can receive an alert, so that you can immediately solve a problem, repair a misunderstanding, or build a new relationship before customers leave the table. Know what’s on your customer’s mind, and you will constantly be operating with honesty, authenticity, and material for improvement, building strategic relationships face-to-face.

Every adventure in owning a restaurant comes with its own amount of serendipity and risk. And who wants to control every aspect of that wild ride? You need simple, unobtrusive tools for success that can tell you exactly what you need to know when you need to know it and help you build relationships instead of keeping your head in the numbers.

Original Review not only knocks your patron reviews out of the park, but it works with you to customize options to your restaurant’s needs. And did we mention it was oh-so-simple to implement? Check us out or request a free demo today.

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