How to Respond to Online Reviews and Check-ins: A Guide to Reviews for Bars and Restaurants

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Fast Facts

  • 97% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017
  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Yelp & Facebook are local consumers’ most trusted review sites, followed by Google &
  • Consumers read an average of 7 reviews before trusting a business – up from 6 last year (2016).
  • The most common review searches are for local restaurants & cafes
(Courtesy of BrightLocal)
Learn how TapHunter’s dashboard helps managers quickly respond to social posts and reviews!

Tips to keep in mind when responding to online reviews:

Don’t ignore reviews (good or bad!)

If an individual gave someone else a compliment or constructive feedback in person, and they got completely ignored, it’s likely they wouldn’t appreciate it. A similar concept applies to online reviews. Responding to positive reviews builds rapport and allows your business to build a relationship with your customers. On the flip side of things, responding to negative reviews provides the opportunity to do damage control. Additionally, it reflects that your business puts effort into providing the best experience it can. This is very important, as 30% of consumers find a business’ responses to reviews as key!

Give an impression of gratitude

Expressing thankfulness is relatively easy to do when the review is positive, and there are several ways to do so. For example, you could begin your response with, “Thank you for the wonderful words, we’re glad you enjoyed your experience with us!” or, “Thanks for making our day with your delightful review. We can’t wait for you to come back!”

That being said, when a review isn’t so sweet, it can be harder to be grateful for harsh words. Although it may not always be constructive, the fact of the matter is that they still took the time to give your business feedback. You could still start with, “Hi, (name here), thank you for taking the time to reach out to us, we’re sorry you didn’t have the best experience during your visit, we’d love to make sure your next visit lives up to our standards.” or, “We appreciate you going through the effort to let us know how we can improve, we’d love to make up to you by giving you a discount the next time you stop by!

Related: The Importance of Social Media for Small Businesses

Remove keywords relevant to your business from responses to negative reviews

There are a collection of keywords that people may use to find your business through search engines, such as your business name. Refrain from using this in your responses to negative reviews, as you don’t want that to show up as soon as someone attempts to look up your business!

Try to maintain a consistent flow of reviews

77% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant. A good review from over 6 months ago is very likely to be trumped by a negative review from 1 month ago. Your most recent reviews are seen as a reflection of the current status of your service or product. A good way to provide incentive for reviews is to offer specials to those who check-in to your business on Yelp or giving you a like on Facebook. Another option is to train employees to remind customers to give a review when they know they’ve provided good service.

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