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Run A Bar Or Restaurant? Make Review Sites Work in Your Favor

Waitress serving customers

F&B operators across the country are increasingly familiar with websites that are solely dedicated to reviewing establishments. If you have yet to browse sites such as Urbanspoon or TripAdvisor, you might want to take a look to see what people are saying about your bar or restaurant.

As you are reading, keep in mind that even the best watering holes or dining places will have a negative review. You can actually use these websites to grow your customer base. Here’s how:

Check for Accuracy.

If your phone number or address is incorrect on the listing, you can easily edit it. The first step will be to claim the profile. Just about every site that has unclaimed profiles has a very visible button asking you if you want to claim it.

Read Every Review.

It can be difficult to read negative things about the place you poured your hard work into, but these reviews give you an opportunity to provide good customer service. Once you read the complaint, you can respond right there on the site. Apologize when appropriate, and provide your work contact information and an offer to discuss the matter further. Not only may this satisfy the reviewer, but other customers will see your interaction and think more of your business for it.

There may be times when a review is completely unfounded or downright mean. You might have an initial reaction of anger, but keep in mind that you should not respond with negativity. Remaining kind and professional will show that you care about customers. At the same time, you can thank the people who leave positive reviews as well.

Beef Up the Listing.

Most of these review sites will list your address, phone number and website, which is good information, but your bar is much more than just some basic data. Check to see if the site charges for adding features such as pictures. In most cases, there is no fee and you can give potential customers a glimpse of your establishment. You might also consider adding things like:

  • Sales or promotions
  • A menu
  • A map or directions

Keep in mind that this is an age of visual stimulation and quick interaction. Photos are great and information should be kept brief and easy to digest. Here are some additional ways to engage your customers and earn their loyalty. 

Tell Your Customers About It.

Don’t be afraid to tell customers that you are on Yelp or another review site. When customers are particularly pleased with their experience, you can mention to them that you have a listing and would appreciate their reviews. Positive reviews will improve your ranking and hopefully get more people into your establishment.

Revisit the Site Regularly.

Hopefully, you have a steady stream of customers walking through your door. That means every day, there is an opportunity for someone to go online and review you. Make a note to regular visit popular sites at least once a week so you can respond to any reviews in a timely fashion. Some sites will even permit you to register an email address so you can be notified when someone leaves a review.

At first pass, review sites can seem overwhelming, especially if you notice negative feedback about your bar or restaurant. With a little time and effort, however, you can turn these sites into a great tool for getting more customers in the door.

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