As a Restaurant Owner, you have your plate full when it comes to things to worry about; minimum wage, pay hikes, sales tax, filling seats, customer service and many other issues. It can be a full time job just keeping everyone and everything happy. What about your restaurant reputation? Another area that could be causing you to lose some sleep at night is online ratings and reviews. If you haven’t been ‘blessed’ with negative reviews yet, it’s just a matter of time. A bad reputation is a stressful thing for everyone. It’s almost impossible to please everyone, and the expectations of today’s diner is making it harder and harder to meet all the time. What if I was to tell you that you are probably approaching your online reputation all wrong. In fact, there are 5 reasons, or ‘PROBLEMS’ that are keeping you from taking control of your online reputation. You know that online reputation is important, but if it seems like you are spending your time putting out little spot fires, instead of really managing it, you are not alone.
Let’s take a look at these 5 reasons now:
1. We don’t have control
Saying that you don’t have control is a reason you don’t have control over your online reputation must sound pretty obvious, but I say it because I want you to really recognize that your online reputation management woes are BECAUSE you don’t have control. When you receive a negative review here and there it can be maddening, but it’s easy to keep an eye on or respond to. But what if you them every week, or every day. How can you effectively control them so that they are not controlling you? You need a plan, a strategy and a system.
2. We Need to take control to gain control
Unfortunately, no one is going to hand you the keys so you can start driving your own reputation. You have to reach in and grab it for yourself. I say this all the time, but review sites are for the company that owns the site, then the customer, or diner, and then maybe your restaurant. In that order. Restaurants are not the winning party when it comes to online reviews. Even a glowing 5-star reputation can be destroyed overnight by a misplaced word or action. You are at the mercy of the crowd sourced review system. As a result of this, you need to be intentional, you need to be focused and direct to take back control.
3. We Can’t Respond to Feedback
Many of the review sites don’t give you the ability to respond, or hold the reviewer accountable for their review. How can you defend yourself against feedback if you don’t have the stage to stand on. Seems pretty unfair, and it is. This is an old discussion and an old argument. Restaurant owners and business owners have consistently asked to be part of the game. Some sites see that partnering with the restaurant is much more lucrative than just making diners happy.
4. We don’t know when feedback is posted (or where)
This reason is very important. We all know about Yelp reviews, TripAdvisor reviews and Google Reviews, but there is a whole other world behind the obvious ones. And the problem is that you don’t know where they are, or when they post about you on them. You might have a system to react to the main sites, but if you are not even aware of the smaller, even insignificant, sites, then this ‘hidden’ feedback might be damaging your reputation without you even knowing about it. Part of gaining control is knowing where these sites are, and owning them. What you own, you can control, and when you have control, you can use it to grow your restaurant.
5. We don’t know how to fix it
This final reason is the most important. If you were to look at how many searches are done on Google search each month for phrases like, how to fix my bad reviews, how to erase my poor ratings, and many others, you would see that most businesses are troubled by online reviews and really don’t know where to start. The first step to fixing your online reputation is to understand it, then you can take control and ultimately work toward mastering it so that your reputation grows your restaurant. And at that stage, even negative reviews can be used in a strategic way to grow your business, not just positive ones.
See it also on Vimeo: 5 Reasons You Don’t Have Control
If you would like to know more about online reputation, and taking control, I have published a master course called: Restaurant Reputation Bootcamp. It is a 21 lesson (21 days) course that steps restaurant owners, staff, chefs and reputation marketing firms through the complete process of building a powerful online reputation. It's affordable, and it will save you thousands of dollars over the years, because you will know how to master your online reputation.
I challenge you to take the course, if you don't feel like you learned something and are in a better place then when you started, then you can get your money back. I have a full 30 day money back guarantee.
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