How To: Claim Your Business on Yelp

Yelp is an extremely popular consumer-facing review site that has a serious influence on decision-making for people looking at places to dine out or order in. Restaurants are the second highest reviewed category on Yelp, with 17%. Diners are leaving reviews, and potential customers are reading that feedback & taking action on it. Your online reputation is just as important as good old-fashioned word of mouth. Claiming your business on Yelp helps to build your credibility & allows you to engage with the ever-growing Yelp community. In this how-to, we show you step-by-step how to claim your Yelp listing.

Please note: Yelp requires business owner verification for any listing content changes.

Step 1: Go to your business’ Yelp page

Step 2: Click on “Claim this business” on the right.

Step 3: Create a Yelp for Business Owners account or sign into your existing account.

Step 4: Confirm that Yelp has the correct phone number for your restaurant. Once Yelp has the correct number, click on “Call Me Now.”

Step 5: When prompted, enter the code Yelp has provided into your phone.

Success! You’ve claimed your business listing on Yelp. With a business account, you can log in and manage your presence whether on desktop or mobile. You can also read & respond to reviews and get insights into customer views, leads, and other analytics.

Ready to get started? Head over to Yelp to claim your business today.

Does this claiming process seem too time-consuming? We’re here to help! We can claim your listing on your behalf. Just contact us today.

Contact us here: 

Want to learn more about our DIFM (Do It For Me) approach? Read our blog here.

Interested in claiming your business on Google? Read our how-to guide here.

How to: Claim Your Google My Business Listing

When you think about online search, what is the first website that comes to mind? I’m sure for many of you, the word Google pops into your head almost immediately. And with good reason! There are about 3.5 billion searches happening on Google every day.

Not to mention, people are searching for local businesses and restaurants all the time. And 90% of online journeys start with the use of a search engine.

As a restaurant owner, don’t you want to be where they’re looking online? Of course you do. Having a presence on Google is essential for any business today. Claiming your Google My Business Listing is an easy way to ensure that you’re in control of your business’ presence on the site.

According to Google, “Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.”

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to claim your Google My Business listing.

How to Claim Your Google My Business Listing

Part 1: Requesting Verification

Step 1: Search for your business on Google.

Step 2: Click on “Own this business?” on the right side of the screen.

Step 3: You will be prompted to sign into your Gmail account.
If you do not have a Gmail account, create one.

Step 4: Once you’re signed in, you will be taken to a map. Search for your restaurant and find the correct listing on the map. If your listing doesn’t appear, choose the “Add Your Business” option and enter all relevant information.

Step 6: Ensure all of your business’s information is correct. If you need to make changes, choose the option “Verify Later.” If all of the information is correct, skip to step 9.

Step 7: You will be directed to your Google My Business page. To familiarize yourself with the tools Google provides, take their tour. Edit any of your incorrect information now.

Step 9: Choose your verification method and follow the instructions provided.

Step 10: If you choose to verify by mail, make sure to be on the lookout for a postcard from Google that will arrive in 1-2 weeks. Once the postcard arrives, make sure to follow the steps on the postcard to finish your verification process.

Part 2: After receiving your verification postcard

Step 1:  After you have requested to verify your business by mail, you should receive a postcard such as the one below with a numeric code.

Step 2: Login to your Google My Business account and a message about verifying your listing should appear at the top of the page. Click the button labeled ‘Enter Code’.

Step 3: That button should lead you to a screen prompting you to enter the code from the post card received

Step 4: Once you enter the code, click ‘Submit’ and the verification process is completed!

Success -you’ve claimed your listing on Google My Business!

As you can see, it’s possible to claim your Google My Business listing on your own, but the steps are time-consuming and can be complicated for a busy restaurant owner! We want to help. Thanks to our relationship with Google, our Customer Success team has the ability to verify a listing on your behalf and grant you access to have full control over that page. If you would like us to handle this process, please contact SinglePlatform and provide the email address you would like access through.

Contact us here: 

Want to learn how to claim your business on other sites? Check out our how-to guides on getting your listing on TripAdvisor and Yelp!

Restaurant Inventory: Tips & Terms

Inventory is the hardwiring of your restaurant. Your food inventory plan keeps everything in place, organized, and connected – and one tiny oversight can result in a drastic change for your business.

Keeping track of your kitchen inventory leads to more informed planning and decision-making. If you don’t track inventory effectively, your forecasting could be off, causing your supply orders to be inaccurate, which will waste a great deal of time, resources, and money.
The long answer to the question of how to do inventory in your restaurant gives a bit more insight on why inventory tracking is so important. It plays a part in all aspects of your restaurant – from the supply orders that you make to the customer orders that you take. Because this is ever-present in your job, dedicating the time to understand how to do inventory and adopting inventory management software is an investment that is well-worth it for your restaurant.

Let’s start with restaurant food inventory 101 – what it is, what terms are important, and some quick tips to help you easily track inventory in your restaurant.

What Is Food Inventory Management?

At its core, restaurant inventory tracking is a loss prevention tool and a measure of profitability for your restaurant.

Here is the fact about tracking your restaurant’s inventory: If you don’t know what you lose, you don’t know what you earn.

Inventory tracking means knowing exactly (a.) what supplies come into your restaurant, (b.) what goes out of your kitchen, and (c.) what’s left over in the back of the house. Without knowing these exact numbers, you won’t be able to firmly understand where your supplies are going.

It’s one thing to notice that your recent shipment of cheese depleted quite quickly, but it’s another thing know exactly why. Was all of this sold to satisfied customers? If so, great! You should easily be able to attribute every ounce to a price point. However, did you take into account areas of loss like spillage, employee mistakes, remedying customer complaints, staff meals, theft, or anything else that could cause product to go into the trash can or onto someone’s plate for no charge?

All of these are areas of loss for your business – loss of inventory and profit. Knowing about these areas of loss and accounting for them in your planning are part of owning and managing a restaurant. Accidents happen, customers complain, and not every ounce of food makes it onto a plate. As you know by now, these are inevitable truths of the restaurant world.

However, not knowing what supplies have been wasted – for whatever reason – means you don’t know exactly how much inventory (or how many dollars worth of inventory) has been unused, and that means you cannot determine your true earnings for a shift, day, week, month, or year.

Words To Live By: Restaurant Inventory Terminology

If you want to become a master of inventory, you can’t just walk the walk – you have to talk the talk. Here are four inventory terms you should be familiar with.

1) Sitting Inventory
The amount of product (or dollars worth of product) in-house. Depending on your business, you should refer to sitting inventory as either dollars worth or amount – but make sure to consistently stick to one.

2) Depletion
The amount of product (or dollars worth of product) used in a set period of time. Depletion can based on daily, weekly, or monthly sales and is often calculated using the sales reporting data from your POS.

3) Usage
The amount (or dollars worth) of sitting inventory divided by the average depletion in a set period. For example, if you have 4 gallons of mayo – and you plan to use 1 gallon a week – you have 4 weeks of usage.

4) Variance
The difference between your product cost and the usage amount cost. For example, let’s say your inventory is down $100 worth of chicken at the end of the day, but your POS says you only sold $95 worth of chicken. This makes your variance -$5, meaning $5 worth of chicken is unaccounted for. Variance can also be a percentage to help you make easier comparisons. In this scenario, -$5 (the variance amount)/$100 (the usage amount cost) = -5% variance.

Now that you know why inventory tracking is important and understand the fundamentals of the practice, here are some inventory best practices you can implement in your restaurant.

Quick Tips for Managing Your Restaurant Food Inventory

1) Train Your Staff on Inventory
Inventory management cannot fall entirely on one person – especially in enterprise restaurants or businesses with multiple locations. Managers and shift leaders should be delivering detailed inventory reports whenever they clock out and alerting the team of any major outage or issues.

This responsibility also falls on your line cooks and back-of-house staff, who should be making notes of spillage, errors, and rotten food whenever they come across it. Teaching your staff to become inventory experts or dedicated mathematicians might be tough, but it’s easier if you incorporate an easy-to-use inventory system for your employees.

2) Track Your Sales Daily
Even if it’s just a daily five-minute review leading up to a weekly deep dive into your data, the best practice is to track restaurant sales every day. When you check sales daily instead of weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, you stay in tune with the immediate changes in your restaurant so you can make quick and timely adjustments to your restaurant’s inventory planning and your provision deliveries.

For example, if you have a seasonal item that you plan on removing from your menu, you can easily see when it’s phasing out in the eyes of your customers day-by-day instead of taking it off your menu too early or too soon.

We won’t lie – sales tracking and data analysis can be a huge pain if you don’t have the right technology. Instead of computing everything yourself by hand from an inventory sheet or shrugging your shoulders and guessing by intuition, make sure you can access data right from your point of sale system. This way, you can pick up on variances and try to figure out the source of loss.

3) Carry Some “Just In Case” Inventory
A few years ago, while I was working at a local pizzeria and sub shop, a huge snowstorm took out the power across our state. Because of this, our bread supplier was not able to meet the needs of the pizzeria. That day, we had to tell all of our customers looking for a sandwich that we were out of sub rolls, and could only give them something on a wrap or in a pocket. This might not have happened if we were carrying “just in case” inventory.

Your restaurant should keep an extra supply of provisions that tend to go fast. In the event of an emergency, you can use these extra provisions to fulfill orders and satisfy customers. Just be sure to switch out this just in case inventory regularly so that it hasn’t gone bad by the time you get around to using it.


This post originally appeared on [The Toast Restaurant Management Blog] & has been reprinted with permission. Email our partners at Toast at blog@toasttab.com to learn more!

 

Anthony Bourdain: Departing to Parts Unknown

The restaurant and entertainment industries, foodies and Netflix bingers alike, mourn the loss of one of the great and unique voices of the past twenty years. Anthony Bourdain’s passing was sudden and unexpected. It is with sadness but also deeply felt respect and admiration that we share our own perspectives on Anthony Bourdain.

Brilliant storyteller, acclaimed chef, tv globetrotter, fearless eater…however you describe or remember him, Bourdain was an inspiration for many. At SinglePlatform we speak with thousands of restaurants every day. Whenever we speak with a restaurant operator we love to ask them how they got involved in the industry or what inspired them to open their own business and make some of the choices that they have. It doesn’t happen all the time, but often enough we’ll find when you start talking about inspiration, Tony’s name would come up. And reading his writing it was easy to see why.

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Bourdain had a long career in food, he spent many years as an executive chef at Manhattan’s brasserie, a SinglePlatform customer, Les Halles. But, his resume reached far beyond the kitchen. Bourdain became well known for his New York Times best-seller Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. His honest work of nonfiction brought the intensity and turbulence of a restaurant kitchen to life, while weaving in his own personal experiences not only with cooking, but drug use. The book immediately shot Bourdain to fame. It’s safe to say that many restaurateurs, possibly including yourself, have read through its pages.

We recognize that many of our customers work in exhausting, thankless, physically punishing jobs. Running a kitchen is hard work. You’re actually cooking yourself along with your food between the screaming hot flat tops and the cauldrons of boiling stock and water; you’re exhausted from breaking down quarter cows and case after case of produce; and between it all you’re providing hospitality and service to your customers who have no clue about the absolute chaos that is taking place behind the kitchen doors. And when service is over, you’re cleaning out a grease trap until midnight. No writer peeled back the curtain on that scene better than Bourdain. And in the process he inspired a generation of chefs and diners along the way. He was not afraid to reveal the difficulties of the industry, and he was just as likely to champion one of his dishwashers or a prep cook as he was Joel Robuchon.

After his book’s success, Bourdain was offered his own series on the Food Network, A Cook’s Tour, that premiered in 2002. The premise allowed Bourdain to travel to exotic countries, tasting meals and exploring the culture across the globe. Throughout his career, from Food Network to Travel Channel, and finally to CNN, he stayed true to his craft in combining cuisine and culture.

Deemed the “original rock star of the culinary world,” Bourdain was known for pushing boundaries. He openly challenged the concept of “celebrity chef,” and often criticized those who he believed traded authenticity for celebrity status. Bourdain wasn’t afraid to share his perceptions of the world, expletives and all.

When asked about his work, Bourdain told The New Yorker:

“I have the best job in the world. If I’m unhappy, it’s a failure of imagination.”

Although cut short, Bourdain’s influence on many was palpable. He has definitely left a longstanding impact on the culinary world & how it is perceived by those outside of it.

As far as his opinions about life, Bourdain leaves us with something poignant,

“As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”

At SinglePlatform we’re honored to work with Michelin starred restaurants, former lawyers who have realized their dreams of owning a coffee shop, sons and daughters who have inherited the custard shop their grandparents started and emigres who started their businesses with their life savings and a box of family recipes. We work with no shortage of young chefs who went to the Culinary Institute in large part inspired by watching No Reservations or reading Kitchen Confidential. Anthony Bourdain helped us find the value, the authentic, and frankly the plain delicious at each of these places. Former President Barack Obama, who once dined with Bourdain in Vietnam, spoke well of him,

“He taught us about food–but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him”.

At SinglePlatform, we concur. And we say “Thank you, Chef.”

Time is Money: Use it Wisely as a Restaurateur

As a restaurant owner, you’re aware that when it comes to time, it’s of the essence & is extremely valuable. In an industry where business hours can start at dawn and extend until after midnight, it is crucial for owners and managers to find ways to maximize their productivity, profitability, and energy.  While running your restaurant, you must focus not only on keeping up with the day-to-day, but with keeping up with industry trends to better prepare for the future. In an era of constantly evolving technology such as apps, online presence, and social media, lagging behind can prove to be a fatal flaw.

Although it’s certainly a challenge, there are definitely ways to make each work day less dizzying and more efficient. Read on for our suggestions on how to make the most of your time and tips on some places to focus it.

Make the most of your time:

Delegate Tasks Smartly
One of the most time-consuming things about being an owner is overseeing the staff. From servers, to cooks, to managers, it may seem like it is a job within itself just to keep tabs on all employees and operations. At times, it may be too difficult to handle everything effectively on your own. Some restaurant owners have a hard time relinquishing full control, but it is often necessary.

How do you solve this? With a strategy! Identify tasks for each staff member and hold him or her accountable for them. Implement a system with clearly defined expectations on what your staff’s day-to-day should be. Whether it is a spreadsheet that is emailed out each week, or a checklist that is handed out each day, have this documented to make sure all employees sign off on their responsibilities. This will prevent micromanaging your employees, help the overall functionality of the restaurant, and, most importantly, give you back some hours in the day to utilize elsewhere.

Plan Ahead
In order to succeed and get the results you want, it is vital to plan ahead. Identify your needs and be proactive about them. Be organized! Make a list of what needs to be accomplished on a daily basis and another list for long range projects. Allocate your time in a way that best suits the way you operate. If you function best after your first two cups of coffee, schedule your important obligations for the morning. Conversely, you might fare better when most patrons have left for the evening and things are winding down. Recognize your own abilities and structure your day accordingly in order to get the most out of it.

Think on Your Feet
Even the most well-thought out playbook can get thrown off course. Unforeseen occurrences are unavoidable, and they happen all the time! Staff may call in sick last minute or a food delivery might be delayed.  It’s the nature of the beast. And you have to be able to act quickly! If you find yourself behind the eight ball with the clock ticking, reassess. Your list of daily tasks needs to be prioritized. Tackle the issues of most importance first. If you need help, refer back to Tip #1 – delegate!

Take Time to Stay Informed
When you are crunched for time the last thing you want to deal with is a phone call from someone trying to sell you something. As a restaurant owner you’ll receive what feels like 50 phone calls a day to go along with the handful of pop-ins by reps promising that they have the next big thing. Although some of their products might not align with your vision or your needs, it is important to allocate time to hear what they have to say. With so much competition in the industry, it’s crucial to stay in the know about latest technologies and trends so you can stay ahead of the curve.

Have your staff take down detailed messages of the calls if you’re unable to answer them yourself.  Then, take 15-30 minutes a day to return your phone calls. Listen to what’s being offered and if you are intrigued, find a time where you can go into further detail of their product and talk next steps. This way you can focus on the products and services that are relevant to you and make decisions about what will best serve your business.

Embrace Change
It is important to know that things change. What you have been doing for the past few decades may not be the best thing for you anymore. Be open to the new ideas and welcome change. Changing a process or strategy can even help you save more time in the future!

Focus on:

Budgeting Wisely
Create a monthly or quarterly budget. Being aware of cash flow and sticking to an allocated budget will help you to be more at ease and in control of your finances. Plus, with an organized budget, you’ll spend less time at the end of a week or a month going back to reconcile costs that could have already been accounted for.

Maintaining Social Media Presence
It may seem like having social media accounts to run is too time-consuming, but having this presence is crucial. Close to half the world’s population (3.03 billion people) are on some type of social media! You want to get in front of your customers and potential new ones, so it’s wise to be where they’re spending a lot of their time – online and on social media!

Create a Facebook, Twitter, and/or an Instagram. You can even use a social posting tool to schedule posts ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about scrambling at the last second. This is a great way to interact with followers, post about specials and upcoming event, and even respond to questions or concerns. Social media is the modern day word of mouth, so you want to be present where your customers are in order to drive new business and maintain old relationships.

Create a personality for your business by running contests, posting enticing photos, and showing the story behind your restaurant. Social media is all about human interaction, so let the uniqueness of your brand shine through.

Monitoring Your Competitors
Be aware of what your competition is doing. See what works well for them and recognize what areas of your business may need improvement in order to keep up or stay ahead. Of course, you want to stay authentic and true to your own brand, but it’s wise to keep a pulse on the industry landscape.

Keeping Up With Technology

We live in a world where technological advances are routine, no matter what industry you’re in. The abundance of technology may seem overwhelming, but there are also many products out there that can be beneficial to your business. There are apps, websites, and software to help with virtually anything – from time management to online ordering and even issuing a check to a customer at the end of a meal. You just need to determine which technologies will be useful and affordable for your business, and what tasks you can complete the old fashioned way. Most technology companies will offer a free trial period so you can test out the product and make a decision after actually getting your hands on it. Take advantage of these as they can be crucial when considering a new product. If those aren’t available, head to the company’s website. Reading more about their product or service, and even checking out their blogs or downloadable content, can help you get a feel for what they offer.

Listening To Your Customers

Take the time to monitor your customers’ thoughts and opinions. Keep tabs on your reviews to recognize your strengths and listen when customers offer suggestions for improvement. If possible, respond to reviews. Interaction shows you care. You can even utilize positive reviews in testimonial features and other marketing initiatives.

Try designating a certain block of time to reviewing and responding to online reviews. If you get into the habit of making this process routine, it will become second nature.

The restaurant industry is unlike any other. The hours are long and tiring and there are constant demands. Patrons expect complete satisfaction, from food to service and ambiance, and if they aren’t completely pleased, you risk losing a valuable customer. Clearly, it is imperative for restaurant owners to be on top of their game when it comes to all aspects of the business.  It may seem like a small feat to properly manage your time, but it can be done. By having a solid plan for training and management, prioritizing your responsibilities, delegating tasks, and keeping up with the latest industry and technology trends, you can find balance and success within a hectic and demanding atmosphere.


About the Author: Casey Densing is a Senior Business Analyst at SinglePlatform, where he helps small business owners promote their online presence. Outside of the office, Casey can be found at the nearest sporting event or best new restaurant in New York City.

 

How To: Add a Menu to Your SinglePage

Having a searchable menu online is extremely important in an age where 93% of people are reading online menus before choosing where to dine. People are constantly turning to search engines and review sites like Google, Bing, Yelp, and TripAdvisor to research restaurants, and if you’re not in the places that matter online, chances are you won’t be discovered by new diners.

It’s equally as important to keep menus up to date! When customers are looking for places to eat, they want the most accurate information. If you change menu items seasonally, or even if you just have price or ingredient updates, you should always reflect those changes online as well.

With SinglePlatform, it’s easy to update your menu in our portal. Of course, you can always take the DIFM (Do it for me) approach, but if you prefer to handle menu updates on your own, we’ll show you how in this tutorial.

How to Add a Menu

Adding a menu to your offerings is done by clicking the Add new menu button toward the top right of the Menus section. Customers can select which menu to read on your SinglePage from the Menus dropdown. This is a great way to handle daily specials, seasonal specials, or a holiday menu.

1. Click on the Add a new menu button. A blank menu will open.

2. Enter your Menu Name and Menu Description.

3. Now enter your Section Name (this is required).

4. You can add a Section Description.

5. Next, start adding the items that belong on this menu.

6. Click the Save Draft button when you’re done.

7. Then click Preview to see how it all looks on your SinglePage.

8. When you’re finished, click on Publish.

How to Add Nutritional Information

Add nutritional information, like a spice rating, the amount of calories a menu item has, or a diet type, once you have added items to your menu. This additional info will appear on your SinglePage.

1. Click on the menu item you would like to add information to.

2. At the top of the screen, check-off what kind of information you’ll be adding. This will add the option to each menu item.

3. Click into an item where you want to add the nutritional information, and check the boxes applicable. The nutritional information will appear on your Singlepage and listings menu.

4. Optional: If your info has a range, you can check-off the box labeled Price Range or Calorie Range and enter your low and high numbers to create a range.

How to Update Prices

Each item that has a price can be updated by clicking on that item, and then clicking in the price field. You can also add a label or unit price to your item to help your customers understand what they’re getting.

1. Click on the item in your menu that needs a price change.

2. Click inside the price field and update the price.

3. Optional: You can add a Price Label to help clarify what your customer is buying.

4. This is how it will look on the SinglePage

5. Optional: Use a Price Unit if you sell this item by the dozen or some other quantity.

6. This is what it will look like on your SinglePage menu.

7. If you need to remove a Price Label or a Price Unit, go into the field and delete the content, un-check the boxes, then click Publish. Your content will then be removed.


Having your menu online is extremely crucial for driving more customers to your business! It’s easy to update your menu in the SinglePlatform portal to ensure it’s always accurate and up to date. We hope this tutorial was helpful. Happy updating!

You Got a Bad Review – Now What?

Picture this: it’s Friday night. A couple, Samantha & Jeff,  just left their kids with the babysitter and for the first time in months they’re headed out for a well-deserved anniversary dinner. After extensive online research, scouring menus for the best food options, they decide on a place in the center of town with great reviews and a wide selection.

Although excited for their night out, the night starts off poorly. The babysitter shows up late, Samantha spills wine all over her new dress, and due to a car accident on the 405, traffic is a nightmare. Due to this series of events, the couple shows up 30 minutes late to their reservation.

When they finally get to the restaurant, the place is packed and the next available reservation isn’t until 10 pm. Luckily, although unhappy about the situation, the hostess manages to squeeze them in at a table in the corner next to the kitchen. It’s not ideal, but it will have to do.

After waiting for at least 20 minutes for their waiter to take their orders, they are assured that the food will be out right away. But of course, with the way things have already been going, it doesn’t arrive any time soon. The entrees finally arrive and they’re as delicious as Jeff & Samantha had hoped. However, they still find themselves waiting for a long time after the meal ends to get the check. Although the food is good, Samantha just can’t see past the less than impressive service. With all the events of the night replaying in her mind, she decides to write a critical review about the restaurant once she arrives home. As the restaurant’s owner, you immediately get a notification email about her negative response. Now what?

The truth is, receiving a bad review is bound to happen. Although it may seem like the end of the world, one bad review does not mean you’re going to have to shut your doors tomorrow. However, how you choose to take action will affect how you’re perceived. With 92% of people reading reviews, your online reputation is crucial. In this article, we’ll highlight easy ways to handle those negative reviews.

Separate Your Response from Your Emotions

Although you may take personal offense to an unfavorable review, it’s important not to get defensive. Trust me, I know it’s hard. This business is your baby. You’ve put blood, sweat, and maybe even a few tears into making sure it’s successful and now someone has criticized every detail. But, you should be careful about letting your emotions show when responding to unhappy customers.

In today’s world, online reviews are a popular word of mouth, so comments are unavoidable. We get a lot of questions from our customers about deleting reviews. Restaurant owners want to know if they can delete reviews or if we can do it for them. In extreme cases, they even consider suing the person who wrote the comment. When it comes to removal, reviews are like wallpaper, once they are up, they’re extremely difficult to take down. Of course, people are entitled to their opinion, and although freedom of speech is a privilege, we understand that backlash can be difficult to face. The First Amendment makes it difficult to remove unwanted comments.  Still, some people have had success contacting the website where the review is posted to ask for removal. This instant deletion definitely isn’t guaranteed, so you should focus your energy not on removal, but on making the situation better with a timely response.

Showcase the Positives

Don’t panic. Keep in mind, reviews are written to give other potential customers an idea of one person’s experience, but this doesn’t mean every online researcher is going to turn away from your business. In reality, most people will read multiple reviews about your restaurant before making a decision. It’s possible that the good will outweigh the bad, making the negative review less detrimental.

You can bolster the online reputation of your business by having a solid social media plan, showcasing high-quality photos of your restaurant and food, and interacting frequently with your customers. Highlight the things you’re great at and creatively show your customers what you have to offer. You can even use positive reviews to your advantage by repurposing them for testimonials on your website. How you choose to showcase your own business can influence the perception of potential customers.

Address the Situation with Grace

The most important action to take after receiving a negative review is to respond quickly and professionally. Although it may take a little while for the shock of a bad review to wear off, you don’t want to wait too long to address the situation. Of course, although Samantha didn’t have the greatest experience the first time, you don’t want to lose her as a customer. Addressing her concerns can help to show you care and also gives your business credibility.

When responding to a review, the best thing to do is be emphatic and try to see the situation from their perspective. Was it just that Samantha was having a bad day or was there something that could have been done differently by your staff?

In this instance, Samantha experienced long wait times, a less than favorable table location, and impolite service. There are multiple areas for improvement here and it’s important to address that in the review. Start by explaining that you understand where she’s coming from. This will make her feel like you have empathy and concern. Next, let the customer know that experience she had is not reflective of your entire business and that you hope she will return to give your restaurant another chance.

Please note to stray away from offering a discount on a public platform. This may cause even the happiest of diners to post a bad review in hopes of getting a coupon. However, offering an unhappy customer a reason to return is a great idea. Try contacting the customer directly and offer them a free glass of wine or 10% off their next purchase. If someone is willing to write a bad review, chances are they are willing to write a good one later if they change their mind about your business.

Getting Started

After considering the beneficial reasons to respond to reviews, you may have some work to do. Need some inspiration to start? Consider these examples:

“Samantha, I want to apologize that you had a negative experience at my restaurant. As the owner, I strive to offer the best food and service to every customer.  I would love the opportunity to contact you directly to discuss how we can improve and make your next experience with us better. Thank you for your feedback, we will definitely take your thoughts into consideration.”

Once you have been able to contact your customer directly, attempt to get them back in the door.

“Hi Samantha, As mentioned, your opinion means a great deal to us and we would love the opportunity to give you a better experience at our restaurant. If you do decide to return, we want to offer you a free bottle of wine with next your meal. We hope to see you again soon. Thank you again for your feedback!”  

It’s important to stay professional, no matter how critical a review might be. The only thing worse than a bad review is a snarky response from the business. If potential diners see rude responses from restaurants, chances are they won’t give you a chance either. Always make sure to be conversational, understanding, and genuine. And of course, follow through with any promises you make.

Being a business owner can be tough and even something as little as a customer having a bad day can lead to a bad review of your restaurant. When addressing a negative review, it’s important to stay level-headed and remain professional throughout the process.  Although you may want to just have a negative review taken off the internet, it’s better to address the situation directly with the source. This will show your restaurant’s empathy and credibility to both the reviewer and other potential customers. Empathize with the customer, apologize, and try to change their mind. You’re not going to receive positive reviews 100% of the time, but having a strategy to address the negative will help you in the long run.


About the Author: Meghan Bradley is an Account Manager at SinglePlatform where she helps on-board customers by walking them through training and welcoming them to our platform. In her spare time, you can find her at a local sports bar, cheering on her favorite teams or at a new restaurant, on the hunt for the best burrito NYC has to offer!