Do reviews matter? This is a question asked by all of us – as customers and as business owners. When we ask and answer this question in relation to businesses, especially restaurants, it demonstrates our desire to know more, and our need to share our opinions. It demonstrates the importance of customer reviews and in turn, the importance of online reviews.
Online reviews that matter
Now more than ever, consumers are reading online reviews to inform their purchase choices. This is why reviews are important for small business. In 2021, 77% ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read them when browsing for local businesses (up from 60% in 2020). So what reviews are they reading? The most visited review pages for restaurants continue to be Google Reviews, Trip Advisor and Sluurpy.
I think, as a chef and restaurateur, that you have to take care of your business. Otherwise, you’re only as good as your last meal. You have to watch if your food costs are too high, or you could be out of business in no time.
Do Reviews Matter – And if so, which ones?
So when it comes to deciding if reviews matter, consider what you do prior to dining at a new venue. Do you read reviews? Do you google search and look at the star ratings? Do you follow friends’ recommendations?
For the customer, trying a new eatery can be a leap of faith. Often there are 2 things influencing diners – an establishment’s reputation and a friend’s suggestion. These factors are the most persuasive.
It is a no-brainer then for restaurants, that they need to be ever-mindful of the maxim that they are “only as good as their last meal”. And that their reputation, based on satisfied customers, will result in authentic reviews that really matter.
Why write a Review?
There’s nothing as satisfying as enjoying a wonderful dining experience. When the serving staff have been solicitous, the ambiance has been on point and the food has been melt-in-your-mouth delicious. That same feeling of satisfaction is what business owners get when they receive a good review. Sure the five stars are great. But when a reviewer lists the details which made the experience so enjoyable for them, the business receiving this review notification, gets an equal amount of satisfaction. It feels great to know you’ve pleased your customers.
Do reviews matter – or is immediate feedback more helpful?
Do reviews matter or is it better to give immediate feedback? The answer is both are helpful. While business owners want to know if something needs immediate attention, it is also energising, especially during a busy service period, to be told by a customer that your food has hit the mark. Likewise it spreads great feels for floor staff when they are complimented on their service.
Your written review, composed outside of the dining establishment when you’ve had an opportunity to comprehensively assess your experience, can also be most helpful to other potential customers, as well as the business owner.
For diners, reviews can inform and reinforce their choice. For business owners, reviews are another aspect of taking care of their business, and ensuring each meal is as good, or better than their last.