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!

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