These days, everyone is a food and beverage critic, thanks to sites like Yelp and Urbanspoon. The trend isn’t going away anytime soon, so the best practice as a bar owner, is to learn how to manage and deal with these sites.
When people are looking for a new place to go, the majority are looking at review sites, and many take the criticisms to heart. Knowing how to set yourself up, and take reviews in stride, is what may make or break your online presence. The following are some tips for bar owners on just how to deal with review sites for your bar.
Claim Your Listing
So you’ve noticed that a customer has started a profile of your bar on a review site like Yelp. This has to be done in order to leave their review. Do not let someone who is not involved in your business dictate the details. This leaves a large margin for error and inaccuracies. Claim your listing as soon as possible.
The second you notice a profile has been made, contact the review site. Many sites will issue you a business login, and allow access to more details for your establishment, like hours, address, and private messaging. Yelp will even allow you to track user views and generate customer leads.
Make sure you update all of your current information. Although customers can generally upload their own pics, it is highly recommended if you have anything professional, you add it to your listing.
Once you are comfortable with your listing on a site, advertising your listing is essential. This can be done via your own personal site, a sign in the window, social media, or even on your printed menus. TapHunter is a company that allows you to not only reprint them with ease, but gives you the space to market your online presence right on the menu itself.
It is important, that once you begin to market your listing, you keep it updated. Check the reviews often, and respond in good time. Don’t wait months to learn that a product or a particular staff member isn’t popular.
Temper Your Response
Often the advice people in the business will tell you, is to simply not respond to reviews. While this is indeed better than a negative response, it is important to maintain an active presence on your listing. Always reply in a polite and professional manner to a bad review, and never in a negative tone. The same goes for a positive review. It never hurts to thank the customer for their opinion and efforts.
Some bar owners have gotten a little creative in how they respond to negative reviews. Some have posted them, believe it or not, on their chalkboards out front, making light of the negativity. Other bar owners have made T-Shirts and slogans out of the bad review. When customers see you taking responsibility for your mistakes, it becomes a solid marketing technique, and perhaps even laughable.
You should never let the bad reviews get in the way of your business. Do not argue, threaten to sue, or even bribe customers over reviews. These are all tactics that some bar owners have actually tried in real life.
Overall, have confidence in your business. If you listen to all reviews, be proactive in making changes, and respond accordingly, you can only benefit from your listing on review sites. After all, you’ve just become part of a wider dialogue.