Much continues to change in the restaurant industry due to the pandemic and restaurants from around the world are now finding themselves in different stages of the recovery journey.
While some businesses have completely switched to home deliveries, others have reopened their doors and enforced COVID-19 and social distancing rules, in order to ensure the customers’ safety.
What all restaurants have in common, however, is a heavy reliance on customer reviews, which, now more than ever, have the power to restart their business and direct more customers their way.
A restaurant’s reputation is now determined by not only the quality of the food or the service but also by other factors that have seen a rise in relevance in the past year, such as cleanliness. Since we are referring to an industry that is literally consumed by so many people, the matter of cleanliness and sanitation is extremely important to customers in the pandemic era and it will probably remain a crucial factor in the following years.
Moreover, since the whole business structure of the hospitality industry is also being adapted for the new kind of traveler, both hotels and destinations can now look to restaurants as that x-factor that can help to boost brand awareness and numbers. Instead of pushing for more overnight stays or mass tourism, restaurants can be promoted as an attraction to lure guests.
What are the most lucrative ways to leverage a restaurant’s online reputation in 2021? What should you focus on in order to ensure a positive reputation and drive more customers in the door? We put together a few insights and tips that will help you understand what consumers need and expect nowadays from a restaurant and how you can use their feedback in order to succeed in the years to come.
Analyze your reviews in a granular way
Customer reviews don’t only add up to an overall score but they can also provide a vast number of valuable insights when analyzed in a thorough, granular way. Especially when it comes to a restaurant business, it’s crucial to assess certain key factors that contribute to the overall performance and reputation, like the quality of the food, the service, and the cleanliness - all of them as seen through the eyes of the customer.
By using a reputation management solution specifically created for restaurants, like the one we perfected at TrustYou, you can oversee all the online reviews in one Inbox and also filter them through different categories, in order to understand exactly what you need to adjust or improve for a better customer experience and online reputation.
The TrustYou Restaurant tool has a designated Sentiment tile, currently available in 6 languages, where reviews are broken down in order to depict the customers’ impressions regarding certain categories. This provides an easy and effective way of immediately assessing your current performance and making informed, impactful decisions based on your customers’ needs.
At the same time, you can leverage the tool to set goals, monitor restaurant-specific KPIs, and create customizable, automated reports that you can share with your staff and use to better understand the areas that need improvement.
Keep an eye on the competition
Like with any other business out there, competition in the restaurant field is fierce. Even with the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, the offerings out there are still extremely vast and people have such a wide range of restaurants, bistros, cafes, to choose from. This is why it’s crucial to not only assess your own performance but also the one of your direct competitors.
At TrustYou, we use the best-in-class semantic analysis to break down customer reviews and help you benchmark your reputation against your competitors. It’s important to be aware at all times of what your customers are saying and how that compares to what they say about other restaurant businesses out there.
This will give you a strong competitive advantage, which you can leverage in order to raise your performance and win your fair share of the market. This can be especially useful if you are a hotel that would like to push your restaurant business in order to stay relevant and top-of-mind to local guests. You can look at which category you want to excel in and then keep making adjustments as necessary until you reach your goal.
Encourage more feedback
Same as with the food itself, quality and quantity go together when it comes down to reviews as well. The more feedback you can gather, the easier it will be to have a clear and accurate depiction of your true reputation. Most customers are normally willing to provide a rating or a review based on their experience, but they might sometimes need a little reminder or a push.
Make sure to remind your customers that their opinion matters and you would be more than happy to receive an honest review from them, in order to understand what their experience was and how you can improve your offerings in the future. You can do this by adding a QR code to the bill, for instance, or adding a review request to your official service routine. For example, hotels that are also providing a restaurant can use the TrustYou Survey solution for a designated food & beverages survey, in order to encourage feedback on that topic and analyze its performance, through the eyes of hotel guests.
This will show your customers that you genuinely care and that you are willing to improve in order to better cater to their needs. Remember that this is a very personal industry that we are talking about and the human touch is always welcome, especially during uncertain times like the one we are currently experiencing.
Respond to reviews, both positive and negative
Once you receive feedback from your clients, keep the conversation going - even if you will process and analyze it for your internal operations and goals, make sure that you maintain the right impression externally as well.
We have developed the TrustYou Restaurant solution in such a manner that you have the easiest and most efficient ways of overseeing and replying to reviews from one dashboard. You won’t need to waste valuable time signing into different online platforms in order to address your reviews - everything is done from one place, through one single login and you can get quick access to reviews from over 25 sources.
This makes it easier to address feedback and ensures that you give a proper response to both positive and negative reviews, which at the end of the day, ensures that your customers know that you care about their opinions and experiences.
Learn more about the exclusive TrustYou Restaurant solution from the official product page and please feel free to contact our team of experts at any time, for a quick demo, a free consultation, or any inquiries that you might have.
Laura Badiu is a passionate bookworm and a gifted writer. Since joining TrustYou’s marketing team, she has embraced topics in the travel and hospitality sector with enthusiasm. Using her degree in Journalism, Laura creatively weaves words into insightful stories with a focus on reputation management.