How Yelp Can Boost Your Restaurant Marketing EffortsPrint
If you're in the restaurant business, you must be familiar with Yelp. It's that tiny little website that can bring your restaurant to its knees with 5 tiny little stars. Are you getting good reviews? Are you getting bad reviews? What if someone posts something that is untrue?
Here's some tips on how to maintain your rep on Yelp:
CLAIM YOUR BUSINESS
No, that's not a keyboard malfunction, I am writing in all caps because I am actually yelling. If you haven't checked to see if your restaurant is listed on Yelp you need to stat! If you are listed, you need to claim your listing so you can manage it. It will allow you to keep location and menu info up-to-date and also respond to customer reviews. Yelp uses 3rd party data to list businesses from public record. They also get listings from their reviewers, so odds are if you have customers you're going to have a listing with reviews on Yelp. To claim your listing and even get email updates of reviews and changes, go to yelp and search your restaurant name. If you're listed it will give you the option to claim it and then walk you through the steps of how to verify your identity.
You can't please everyone 100% of the time. There's customers that have bad days. There's chefs and waitstaff that have bad days. It happens. What to remember when you do get a bad review is to be humble. Never respond to criticism with more criticism or defensiveness. Acknowledge the problem, apologize (the customer is always right), and outline a solution so they feel the issue will be remedied for their next visit. The key words there are "for their next visit". If you alienate the reviewer by blaming them for the problem you not only will draw another bad review, you will keep them and all their friends from ever visiting again.
Slanderous or incorrect reviews.
Yelp holds the position that everyone has a right to their opinion. They don't moderate postings, so if someone is flat out making stuff up you have to address the reviewer directly or try to respond to reviews. This is why it is so important to stay on top of your Yelp listings and address issues quickly. However, Yelp will intervene on some occasions. If a reviewer admittedly describes a second-hand experience or uses a racial slur you can contact Yelp and they will look into it.
If you build it they will come.
Take consideration and build your listing as you would your website. Add some professional photos of your food. Keep your menu and locations updated. Add your hours of operation. Customers often won't or even need to visit your website if your Yelp review is updated and has all the info they need to place a visit. I search by positive reviews, but once I've landed on a restaurant I'll look at location, menu and pricing. Your listing may have great reviews, but if the customer can't get the info they need in one place they may skip you for the next guy!