Watching the Rep.

I’ve already talked about how different sites give people a chance to say what they really think about your restaurant.  When people have a bad experience such as bad food or bad service, there is a good chance they are sharing it with others via the internet.  It used to be that only two percent of those with a bad experience would either confront the establishment or talk to others about it.  Now, thanks to advanced technology and social networking sites, everyone is talking about everything, and you better believe that means you and your business.

The first step in managing your restaurants online reputation is to be consistently aware of what is being said about you.  One way to do this is to subscribe to an RSS Feed.  RSS is more commonly known as Really Simple Syndication.  It lets you pull content from different sites and have it all in one place.  So how does this help you?  You can find everything that is being said about your restaurant at one place.  Any time someone writes a bad or good review about your restaurant it will appear in what is called your reader.  I’ve found someone who can explain this far better than me.  So, below is a video that teaches you what an RSS feed is, as well as how to get one.

Okay, now that you know what people are saying about you, what actions should  you take?  I feel that the best way to handle your online reputation whether you own a restaurant or any other establishment, is to be honest.  If you are going to respond to a review or comment, honestly and sincerity will go a long way in undoing the damage.  While it is important to respond quickly in order to address the concerns of the consumers, responding quickly without proper consideration can be detrimental.  Rather, it would be best to consult others you work with or even friends and family before replying.  Having a couple other perspectives than your own will help you formulate a response that will satisfy both the complainant and others reading the complaint.

Some companies feel it would be best not to respond to what others are saying.  I think that is a bad idea! Customers want to know that their thoughts and opinions matter and are being heard.  The way to success is relationship management.  Talk to the consumer and put their concerns at ease!  Don’t give them the silent treatment…

 

Onine Venting: Is Your Restaurant a Victim?

We’ve all had our bad experiences at a restaurant.  The server took forever to get my drinks.  The food brought to me was not what I ordered.  I waited 45 minutes to be seated.  You all know what I’m talking about.  After this bad experience, how many people did you tell?  Studies show when a person has a bad experience with a product or service, they are 3 times as likely to share this experience than they would be if they had a good experience.  Upon contemplating personal experience, I’m sure this is true.

With the rapidly growing use of social networking sites as well as review sites, people are no longer turning to their 3 friends and venting.  Now, people post their bad experience in a status update, a tweet, or a blog.  This can be bad news for restaurants.

Because I work in a restaurant, I am the first to admit it’s common for a server to have a bad day.  Sometimes we’re forgetful or busy, so good service can be temporarily lacking.  Sadly, when a server forgets to start entrees for a table and then forgets their drink order, a bad experience can be so negative that the guest immediately runs home to their laptop and writes a bad review on Yelp.com.

Let’s discuss this review site.  As stated on the homepage, yelp is, “a fun and easy way to find and talk about great (and not so great) local business.”  If you own or manage a local restaurant, you better believe you’re being talked about on this site.  To demonstrate what you can find on this site, lets use Peg’s Glorified Ham N Eggs.  First, you can find a detailed ratings distribution.  This particular restaurant has fantastic ratings, having 70 percent of people giving them 5 stars.  Then you find a detailed description of the restaurant that consists of food type, address and phone number, wifi access, and even whether or not outdoor seating is offered.  Then come the reviews.  This restaurant has 115 reviews, most of which are excellent.  In this case, yelp has contributed to the good reputation of this restaurant.  Sadly this isn’t always the case.

I want to demonstrate the negativity of the Yelp site without hurting a local restaurant so lets call it Pizza Place.  Here is an example of a negative review found on Yelp:

“Dang!  These folks are always on the low side of quality control. The trade off is quick service and good prices. They have gone too far down this time. The wings are obviously the caliber that would be otherwise used for pet food. The coagulated blood and deformed wings are worrisome! Images of the worst poultry factories can’t leave my mind.. too bad. I’ll be the first to say thet the reason I go to Pizza Place is my unwillingness to pay for a fancy place…kinda slummin’ it.  If you happen to order to pick up, it is clear that it is sort of a drunken spot and you can notice the toothless cooks outside smoking on the east side of the building.
You should think twice before going here.”

Clearly, after reading this review, I wouldn’t want to go there!  It is important to know what is being said about your local restaurant.  Being aware is the first step to being proactive.  For steps on how to be proactive, stay tuned!