How To Grow Your Restaurant Reviews on Google

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Phil Sykora
November 1, 2023
A restaurant customer is leaving an online customer review on a tablet.

It seems like everywhere you go, people rely on technology more and more. And this includes deciding on where to shop and eat. The data backs this up: 98% of people read online reviews for local businesses. Having a strong internet presence is no longer just a nice-to-have. It’s crucial to the growth of your business — and quality customer reviews help you build and strengthen that presence.

But you might be wondering, “How do you get good reviews in the first place?” 

This article will explain how, starting with why customer reviews are so important and finishing with how to respond to negative Google reviews.

Why are customer reviews important?

If you think that online customer reviews aren’t that important — think again. In this day and age where the average internet user is online for 6 hours and 41 minutes a day, online reviews are more important than ever. 

Online customer reviews are important for several reasons:

  • They’re a big influence on consumer decision-making: Considering that a staggering 90% of people say they check out a restaurant online before visiting, a restaurant’s online presence and reviews can heavily impact someone’s decision to dine there or not. When comparing dining options online, people are more likely to choose a restaurant with positive reviews. 
  • They establish credibility and trust with your consumer base: Having online reviews for your business can allow potential customers to see that you’re a legitimate business with a strong track record. This gives people the confidence that their money will be well-spent and they’ll be happy after leaving your establishment. 
  • The feedback you receive can help you improve your restaurant: Whether you get positive or negative customer reviews, you can use this feedback to improve certain aspects of your restaurant. A customer wasn’t happy with the cocktail selection? Maybe it’s time to review and refresh your drink menu. Someone loved the ambiance of the dining room? Keep it up! 
  • They help more people find your restaurant online: Having more customer reviews can help boost your local search engine ranking, so more people can find your restaurant when looking on search engines like Google. This can increase your online presence and drive more traffic to your restaurant. 
  • Positive customer reviews act as a form of social proof and can give you a competitive advantage: Having positive reviews shows potential customers that other people have dined at your restaurant and enjoyed it, encouraging them to do the same. In a highly competitive industry, these positive reviews can make you stand out from the competition. 
A satisfied restaurant customer is providing positive feedback on a customer review.

How can you encourage positive Google reviews?

In the restaurant world, competition can often be fierce. Accumulating positive Google reviews can help your restaurant stand out from the rest, while also showing that you have a good reputation amongst the general public. Here are five ways that you can encourage customers to write positive Google reviews for your restaurant. 

1. Provide Guests With a Great Dining Experience

The best way to encourage positive restaurant reviews on Google is by giving your guests a great and memorable dining experience. Offering delicious food with generous portions, providing exceptional service, creating an inviting atmosphere, and going above and beyond are just a few ways you can enhance the customer experience. For restaurants with multiple locations, focus on making the customer experience consistently great no matter which location they visit. Remember that when guests are happy, it makes it easier and more likely for them to leave a positive online review for your restaurant. 

A waitress is serving a happy customer her meal, which will lead to a positive review.

2. Highlight Positive Reviews

Highlighting and featuring positive reviews on your business’ social media, website, and even on a wall inside your restaurant can have a domino effect on customer reviews. Showcasing these reviews will increase the chances of potential, new, and returning customers seeing them. This acts as social proof and builds trust. On top of that, when other customers see these positive comments, it shows them that your business appreciates its customers. This makes it more likely that customers will want to reciprocate that appreciation, and will take time to write your restaurant a review. 

3. Ask Satisfied Customers to Leave a Positive Review

Instead of waiting for positive reviews, why not just ask? There’s no harm in simply asking customers to leave you a review online.

There are a few ways to tactfully request customer reviews:

  • Using QR codes: QR codes have surged in popularity recently with approximately 89 million smartphone users in the US scanning one in 2022. This number is expected to increase to over 100 million by 2025. Adding a QR code on menus, receipts, or tables that links directly to your restaurant’s Google Business Profile can make it easy and convenient for satisfied customers to leave a positive review. 
  • Email marketing: Sending a follow-up email to your customers to thank them and ask for a review can be another way to make your Google Business Profile more accessible via a link. To easily collect email addresses from customers, consider accepting restaurant reservations using an online reservation platform. 
  • Using feedback cards: Leaving feedback cards with the bill can encourage customers to reflect on their dining experience and provide feedback. If a customer leaves positive feedback, you can then ask them to leave an online review with their comments.

A restaurant customer is scanning a QR code to leave an online restaurant review.

4. Increase Social Media Engagement

Using social media marketing for your restaurant can increase your online presence and widen your business’ reach. The same applies when using your social media accounts to encourage online reviews. By promoting your Google Business Profile on social media, you can target your follower base and ask them to leave your restaurant a review. Chances are, you might have some followers who had great experiences at your restaurant but never thought to leave a review.  

5. Respond to All Google Reviews

Taking the time to respond to all reviews, whether positive or negative, shows that you value customer feedback and are committed to providing customers with a great dining experience. Not only will customers feel heard and appreciated, but you can use this feedback as a valuable tool for improvement. When it comes to negative reviews, responding can give you the opportunity to show your willingness to address their concerns and to try to make it right. Responding to all reviews creates more open communication between you and your customers, making them feel motivated to write an honest review. 

How to Respond to Negative Google Reviews

As great as it would be if all customer reviews were positive, it’s not always all sunshine and rainbows. Once in a while, you may get the odd negative review, and that’s okay. The key here is how you approach and respond to them. 

It’s important to be prompt when responding to reviews to show customers that you’re regularly monitoring them. Ideally, respond within 24 hours, but if that’s not possible, then aim for within a week. Next, even if the feedback isn’t what you wanted to hear, you should thank the customer for taking the time to leave a review. Be specific and professional when addressing customer concerns without getting argumentative or defensive. If it’s within your power, offer the customer a direct solution to try to resolve the issue. Being thoughtful and heartfelt in your response, as well as providing a solution, can potentially inspire the customer to revise their review to reflect a more positive experience — and maybe even give you a second chance in the future!

Final Thoughts on Generating Customer Reviews

Getting more restaurant reviews on Google doesn’t have to be difficult. Although there are a variety of ways that you can generate positive reviews, it all starts with giving your customers an exceptional dining experience. If you get a negative review every now and then, don’t panic. When it comes to food, it can be hard to please everyone. Remember to always make customers feel appreciated for writing a review, and don’t take the negative reviews too personally. Having a Google Business Profile full of positive reviews doesn’t happen overnight, but with a little bit of patience and determination, you can easily boost your restaurant’s online presence and reputation. 

When your online presence grows, so does your workforce. Let Push Operations help you keep up with your payroll and HR demands by streamlining all of it. Book a demo with us today to see how we can help. 

Table of content

November 2023


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