Feedback is a precious resource for restaurants. Not only does it allow you to know where you can improve and what you’re doing right, but it opens a channel for you to communicate directly with your guests.
And while seeing 5-star reviews continue to flow in is the dream, it is inevitable that your restaurant will get a negative review at some point.
When that time comes, there are a few rules you need to remember before, during, and after you respond.
Read Carefully & Find The Problem
Before you jump into responding to a negative restaurant review, read and re-read the review carefully. In doing so, you will have an understanding of what the review is about and what the customers is actually trying to say.
When reading, take note of the following:
- The date of the review and when the customer said they came in
- The reviewer’s name
- Any staff mentioned
- The tone of the review
Once you have understood the review, find the problem. Were they given the wrong food order? Was the line so long they had to leave? Was a server or other employee rude?
In understanding the problem, you can address it with the reviewer.
Offer A Solution
Once you have found the problem, engage with the reviewer and apologize for any mistake that was made. Remember to reiterate the problem so the reviewer knows you understand exactly what they are upset about and that you are willing to fix it.
Offer to make it right and ask the reviewer to contact you directly to discuss solutions.
For example, if they were given the wrong order and it was not corrected, you can offer them a discount on their next meal or a refund.
If you have offered a solution and the reviewer still refuses to accept your apology, let them go and move on.
Take The High Ground
How you respond to negative restaurant reviews heavily affects your public image and whether or not a potential guest will see your restaurant (and you!) as reputable and professional. From there, they can decide if they wish to become a patron.
While your restaurant has the right to tell its side of the story, you have to know when to back out gracefully and move the conversation to a non-public arena.
The top rule for responding to reviews is to never rant or tell off a customer, no matter how frustrated you feel. This needs to apply even in cases where the reviewer was not even a customer!
Such a response is never to your benefit and it will come back to bite you in the form of lost reputation and guests. Remember, whether on Google, Facebook or Yelp, everyone can see your response!
The takeaway needs to be this: Whatever happens, always take the high ground when responding to negative restaurant reviews. Be polite, respectful, and try to understand the problem.
Modern Cloud POS Systems Can Help
Having a dedicated POS system like Micros, Toast and MobileBytes can help you gather information on the customer who has left a negative restaurant review, as well as perform a wide variety of functions that will benefit you and your customers.
Cloud POS technology allows you to consolidate your restaurant’s data across multiple locations and access it via your mobile device. With the data collection, your POS can tell you if the reviewer was a customer or not, which can help separate the real reviews from the false.
Cloud POS systems also secure your data by backing it up to the cloud, and the system is updated automatically to ensure you always have the latest security patches.
If you are missing these features in your current POS system, it is time to update!