Reputation management is all about how you as a restaurant monitor and manage your customer feedback, but more importantly influencing that to show you restaurant in a positive light.
This post will cover why reputation management is important focus for your business - but also how you can implement strategies to drive your restaurant's reputation forward!
Why is it important?
A positive reputation is a direct way of driving covers into your restaurant and is therefore vital for any growth. Similarly, a negative reputation will the do opposite and can cause your business to slowly fall apart beneath you, especially in today’s time with everyone having access to social media and the ability to write a review within 2 minutes of leaving your restaurant.
I will be going through aspects which affect your reputation but also what you can do to build a great reputation but also repairing and monitoring your reputation.
What things affect your reputation?
TripAdvisor, Google, delivery sites, the guardian and the telegraph... there are so many different methods of leaving a review and a lot of the time they are now prompted!
Put simply, when customers order a takeaway online, 30 minutes after you arrive they receive an email asking how it was. Furthermore, with googles locational technology people are now being notified when they leave a restaurant asking if they were there and how they found it!
There’s more social media than we can keep up with - we also have influencers who do exactly what you’d expect, and influence people... including where they decide to go an eat!
Not only this but your social media presence will have a big impact, if today's customers are torn between two places to eat, they’re more than likely going to choose the one that has beautiful photos of the interior and the food, as apposed to the one without any pictures.
Word of mouth
Despite all the social media and different reviewing platforms, word of mouth is still an impactful area for your reputation.
A lot of people know that online reviews can be blown out of proportion so when one of your friends or family tell you about how amazing the food as at this one place, or how amazing the staff were at another, you’re more likely to want to go.
A campaign is a collection of strategies to achieve a goal. Campaigns can take a variety of forms and have a variety of goals; give out tasters in person to show a new item, TV advert to show a new location, possibilities are endless.
If these campaigns go well, you can achieve your set goals, however if done incorrectly it can be damaging to your reputation.
A security breach is an incident that involves unauthorised access to computer data, networks, devices, or applications. It’s clear to assume that this will immediately have a negative output onto your reputation no one would want to book through your systems or download any loyalty apps if their data is going to be breached.
Reputation Building, Repairing and Monitoring
Now that we’ve covered all the aspect which can affect you reputation, we are going to learn how to properly mange your hospitality reputation. Reputation management really falls under 3 categories of reputation building, reputation repairing and reputation monitoring.
Simply getting your name out there! Reputation building isn’t just about making you known, but making you known as a great restaurant.
Sadly, most restaurants receive bad feedback and reviews but it’s all about how you deal with this and respond to these comments.
Reputation management isn’t a once-a-year job, it’s a constant ongoing task that requires you to always stay on top of it, constant work means a constant reward.
What steps can you take?
Respond to every review positive or negative
Responding to your reviews is almost as important as receiving them, if not more. According to trichem-solutions.co.uk “83% of users will “usually” or “always” reference reviews before deciding to book, 65% of users are more likely to book with a business that responds to reviews and 84% of users say a good response to a poor review improves their impression.”
This highly emphasises the importance of responding to reviews in an efficient and polite manner. If they leave a positive review, be sure to thank them! If they leave a negative review, turn it into a positive explaining how you will solve the issues and make their next visit better, this will show anyone looking at you’re reviews that you are actively taking the right step to improve your business.
Ask your customers to leave you feedback
This step is all about building a connection with you customers. We all have our loyal regulars who we know enjoy the restaurant and the service provided. Use that personal connection that you have built with them and ask them to leave a review! You could also offer a discount as a matter of goodwill for their time.
Internal satisfaction surveys
Find your weak points before they’re online. With internal surveys you can choose any questions you want, and this will really help to give you an insight into your company. To really promote this ensure you offer a reward for the customers, for example a free starter or a percentage off the next time they visit (another cheeky way of increasing sales and reputation).
Here you can see what is going well for you company to keep up but also shows your areas of weakness and where you need to improve. If anything has gone wrong during their visit a lot of customers would be happy leaving their feedback here as apposed to online so its important to get in there first.
Research your restaurant
Something so simple can in term be incredibly effective for you. Research your restaurant and see what comes up, what photos are being posted, what are people saying? Tone in on all the positives and negatives and plan on how to excel or reduce these areas.
Now we have explored what affects your hospitality reputation, it is now that your reputation monitoring really comes into play. There are a few options of you as business to ensure that you are constantly monitoring and staying on top of your business however the most effective would be to schedule time to your reputation management. Potentially have a set time every day between your lunch and evening shift to just analyse and research what is being said regarding you restaurant within the past 24 hours and make a plan of action with this information found. This is also your opportunity to respond to you customers with gratitude of their time for their response, further building the relationships with your customers.