Unfortunately, there are times when bad reviews can be justified; but in some cases, they might just be written by someone having a bad day, and they decided it should be taken out on you.
Thankfully, as the act of leaving reviews has become more popular, people tend to take the outrageous ones with a grain of salt, especially if they are few and far between amongst a sea of positive feedback.
Whether you seem to have a strong hold on your online reputation or not, reviews tend to hold tremendous weight on the success or decline in business at many food service establishments. Below are some of the most common reasons a negative review might be left about your restaurant.
1.) Poor Customer Service.
The customer wants what they want, when they want it; And although some may not meet you with dissatisfied remarks right then at the table, if they feel that their service was lacking in any way, they very well may leave a review about it — and more often than not, never return.
You are running a well-oiled machine and you have a lot of happy regulars. They are regulars for a reason — you’re doing something (or everything) right! The problem can arise however, if someone has visited your restaurant a few times to experience stellar food and service, and sporadically get met with a night where things are just “off”.
Maybe you are understaffed, the fryer broke, a table of 15 just walked in and are slowing up the kitchen… whatever it may be, your customers won’t care about your problems if they don’t know what’s causing delays with the food or have to wait to be seated. They are there for THEIR meal, THEIR time, and THEIR enjoyment. If the service is not consistent, or the food somehow isn’t how they remember, they may not return.
In addition to this, many often choose that one poor experience to review. Customers tend to be more apt to share the negative before raving about the previous few occasions in which they left your restaurant happy and full.
Sometimes transparency is key. Let your customers know, while they are still in your restaurant, that it’s a bit of a rough night and it doesn’t reflect the norm. You may just earn some hospitality points right there with your honesty!
3.) Food Quality
People dine out for a variety of reasons. Some, simply never cook at home, while others view dining out as something that is done on a special occasion. Either way, the food you serve should be a reflection of you, your standards, and the business you run. If the quality of your food or how it’s presented to your guests is causing it to be sent back or not eaten, you bet someone will not only write a review sharing their experience, but you can be sure that there will be photos attached to the post for all to see.
The point here, is that the food you serve should be as high of a priority as customer service. Guests may even choose to return somewhere with less-than-stellar customer service, just because the food is so amazing.
So consistency, quality, and pride in what comes out of the kitchen is a MUST if you want to remain successful, and avoid negative reviews.
This really goes without saying. If you don’t run a clean restaurant, chances are your customers won’t be the only ones giving you a poor review — the board of health won’t be far behind.
It is common however, that customers will point out dirty floors, greasy looking kitchens, and even unorganized hostess stations. So for the sake of safety, the health of your customers, aesthetics, and of course preventing a review pointing out that you’re a complete mess… keep things clean!
As we mentioned, not all of this is entirely in your control, so unfortunately we must take the bad with the good and respond to the negative reviews when they do happen to roll in. Need help? You can always talk to one of our Customer Success representatives about our options to manage your online reputation for you, or you can check out some tips in our past blog post on how to answer negative reviews.