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The Science of Restaurant Online Reviews: Managing Your Reputation and Turning Critics into Advocates

Last Update: Nov 15, 2023 @ 6:27 am

“Your brand isn’t what you say it is; it’s what Google says it is.” 

– Chris Anderson, former editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and best-selling author


Online reviews are vital to a restaurant’s success in the digital age. As a restaurant owner, manager, or marketer, you must grasp online review science and how to manage your online reputation. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the benefits and impact of online reviews, critical factors to consider, and practical strategies for turning critics into advocates. This article will teach you how to use online reviews to grow your restaurant.

Case Study_ Domino's Pizza

Case Study: Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s Pizza, the popular pizza delivery chain, has leveraged the power of online reviews to transform its brand image and drive business growth. In 2010, following a period of negative feedback and declining sales, Domino’s launched the “Pizza Turnaround” campaign, in which they acknowledged customer criticism and implemented significant changes to their product. Domino’s improved its internet reputation and revenue by responding to customer comments.

Benefits and Impact of Online Reviews

Based on statistics and research, here are five reasons why managing online reviews is beneficial for your restaurant:

  1. Influence on customer decisions: 93% of consumers say that online reviews influence their purchasing decisions (source).
  1. Boost in revenue: A one-star increase in a restaurant’s Yelp rating can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue (source).
  1. Improved customer trust: 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (source).
  1. Valuable feedback: Online reviews provide insights into areas for improvement, helping you refine your product and service offerings.
  1. Enhanced online presence: Actively managing and responding to online reviews can improve your search engine ranking, making it easier for potential customers to discover your restaurant.
Critical Things to Consider on Restaurant Online Reviews

Critical Things to Consider on Restaurant Online Reviews

  1. Claim and optimize your restaurant’s online profiles on popular review sites like Yelp, Google My Business, and TripAdvisor.
  1. Develop a strategy for monitoring and responding to reviews in a timely and professional manner.
  1. Train your staff to deliver exceptional customer service, reducing the likelihood of negative reviews.
  1. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews, improving your overall rating and attracting new patrons.
  1. Learn from negative feedback, implementing necessary changes and demonstrating your commitment to customer satisfaction.
15 Strategies to Effectively Manage Your Reputation

15 Strategies to Effectively Manage Your Reputation

  1. Assign a dedicated team member or hire a reputation management professional to monitor and manage online reviews.
  1. Reply politely, professionally, and solution-orientedly to all reviews.
  1. Implement a system for tracking and analyzing review data to identify trends and areas for improvement.
  1. Maintain correct and up-to-date restaurant information on your web profiles.
  1. Encourage customer evaluations on social media.
  1. Offer incentives, such as discounts or loyalty program points, to encourage customers to write reviews.
  1. Use signage, table tents, or other in-store materials to remind patrons to share their experiences online.
  1. Train your staff in exceptional customer service and empower them to address customer concerns proactively.
  1. Develop a plan for handling negative reviews and addressing the underlying issues to prevent future complaints.
  1. Leverage positive reviews in your marketing materials, showcasing customer satisfaction and social proof.
  1. Establish a strong online presence by creating and sharing engaging content that showcases your restaurant’s unique offerings and personality.
  1. Collaborate with local influencers, bloggers, or food critics to generate buzz and gain exposure to new audiences.
  1. Address negative reviews by offering a resolution, such as a refund, replacement, or apology, turning critics into advocates.
  1. Celebrate and reward your staff for positive reviews, fostering a culture of exceptional service and continuous improvement.
  1. Regularly assess your online reputation management efforts and adjust your strategy as needed to maximize impact.

Summary: Key Points to Remember

  • Understand the importance of online reviews in shaping your restaurant’s reputation and success.
  • Claim and optimize your online profiles on popular review sites.
  • Develop a strategy for monitoring, responding to, and learning from reviews.
  • Train your staff in exceptional customer service and encourage customers to share their experiences online.
  • Implement the 15 strategies outlined above to effectively manage your online reputation and turn critics into advocates.


As a restaurant owner, manager, or marketing professional, the power of online reviews cannot be underestimated. By understanding and implementing the strategies shared in this guide, you can effectively manage your online reputation, turning critics into advocates and driving your restaurant’s success. Don’t just read about these strategies – take action today and watch your restaurant thrive as you harness the power of online reviews to create a strong, positive, and enduring brand image. Continuous improvement and client satisfaction will set you apart from the competition and position your restaurant for long-term success.

READ ALSO: 5 Easy Ways To Build Customer’s Trust

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