Anthony likes helping people reach their true potential. Being the victim of his own fears and insecurities in his own business, he has decided to help others create more opportunities.
Internet reviews are making it harder to protect the reputation of your restaurant. Sometimes it seems you can go down with just one person bad mouthing you on Trip Advisor. Like a skeleton in your cupboard, it doesn’t disappear, and it can come back to haunt you for months…
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way, and you can definitely make that skeleton dance to increase your client base.
Why negative restaurant reviews are not bad
While you can reduce the number of negative reviews to a minimum by providing a delightful experience, you will always have people who are critical on a consistent basis. And everybody has the one night when they’re understaffed because they didn’t foresee a full house. In a live setting, you can’t control every detail and some people are bound to be disappointed, especially demanding people…
If anything, negative restaurant reviews show potential customers that there are people coming. The worst thing to have is no reviews at all. With the right incentives for satisfied customers to leave reviews, the positive ones should outweigh the negative ones easily. As for the unavoidable negative comments, there are ways to turn them around…
Stand your ground when you must
Gordon Ramsay shows you that the customer is not always right…
Some negative reviews will be related to your restaurant policy. If you have a strict booking policy that means people can’t come late, it will disappoint a few people, but your eyes should always be on the people that will be satisfied by it.
Owning your mistakes also goes a long way
While it’s crucial to stand by your policies when they’re in the interest of both you and your clients, apologising when you didn’t meet your standards will show that you would rather be of service than defend your ego. Why not reply to the review directly and offer to correct the experience with a free or discounted dinner? It’s a powerful way to let customers see how much you care about them.
Certain negative reviews can also provide an excellent opportunity to rethink a given recipe or restaurant policy. Here, being open about any changes you make following negative reviews will show old and new customers alike that they can always expect you to raise your standards.
Humour can solve most problems
In the face of negativity, using humour will prove that you can take criticism. It will also attract people who do have a sense of humour to your restaurant. This is the time when clearly, the person’s criticism is unreasonable and more related to their own problems than to the quality of your service.
Since everyone knows that nothing can be perfect, they will appreciate your ability to make the skeleton dance. Being completely upfront about everything that goes on between you and your customers is a powerful display of confidence, which makes you more attractive than being needy and defensive.
Negative restaurant reviews are the ultimate marketing tool to repel people who will drive you and your staff crazy. If you can stand your ground when it’s important while also paying extra attention to the customer who could have been better taken care of, your restaurant will stand out as a place where quality service is prioritised. Eventually, this is what will attract even more positive reviews and more clients…