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How to Increase 5-Star Restaurant Reviews

Tips for operators to increase restaurant reviews online

a restaurant owner standing in a restaurant.

Besides traditional advertising, restaurants have historically relied on the general public to spread the word about them. With the support of the public, restaurants succeed and root themselves in the community for years, if not decades to come.

Guests today have more ways than ever to share their restaurant experiences, especially online. Restaurant review websites such as Google My Business, Yelp and Facebook have reshaped how restaurants market themselves. With a monthly traffic volume of 158 million, 40 million and 85 million online visitors respectively between them, it’s clear how impactful these platforms have become. 

92% of consumers read restaurant reviews which means that today, guests are influenced on where to dine, online by their peers. In fact, 77% of consumers prefer peer-reviews versus restaurant critic reviews. Even more, 33% would never eat at a restaurant with less than four stars. So how can restaurants ensure that they’re not losing customers and getting the best reviews possible online? Here are a few ways to increase positive reviews from your guests.

Control Your Restaurant Review Accounts

Be sure to claim your Google My Business, Yelp, OpenTable and even Facebook accounts, as it’s often that guests will be reviewing your business on these platforms, whether you created an account or not. This will give you the ability to actively respond to reviewers online and own your presence. A simple and thankful response to a positive review will show that you’re consistently listening to your guests’ feedback, which not only gives them peace of mind but does so for future guests who are deciding on whether to dine with you or not. 


Learn How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing


Ask Guests For Their Feedback

The first step in creating a positive interaction with your guests—after dining with you—is to ask them about their experience. Was it good? Bad? Average? Whether this is done by your staff or by management, listening to their feedback or constructive criticism will go a long way. If guests had a positive experience, simply ask them to share it online to any of the review sites you maintain. Here are a few actionable ways to do this:

  • Add a note at the bottom of the bill, asking them to write about their experience online.

  • Send an automatic email one day after their reservation with you. Export your list of reservations for the evening and add them to a simple email newsletter thanking them for their visit and if they’d like to write a review. Provide the links to the accounts you subscribe to such as Google My Business, Yelp or Facebook to make it easier for them.

Communicating with your guests in the moment is the easiest way to ensure that they’re happy with their experience and willing to share it with others.

a woman standing in front of a table

Ask Your Regulars to Write an Online Review

A handful of positive reviews from your most loyal followers can do wonders for your business. Positive reviews make 91% of consumers more likely to use a business, while 82% will be put off by negative reviews. The public puts faith in the fact that other diners have had great experiences at your restaurant. This will create trust and influence online visitors to make a reservation to dine with you. With these trusted, positive reviews come key marketing testimonials. Add them to your website, or promote them across social channels. A customer testimonial that paints your business in a positive light will convert potential diners into paying customers.

a group of people standing on top of a wooden table

Respond to Negative Reviews Offline

Occasionally, restaurants will experience a negative review from a dissatisfied guest. By having control over your account, respond to the review in a professional, apologetic manner and request that the reviewer get in touch with you. This will take the conversation offline and bypass any potential back and forth that would be seen by the public. Listen to what they have to say and understand where they’re coming from. There may be a sensible explanation for their less-than-perfect experience. This is a great chance for you to correct a wrong and potentially convert them back into a happy guest—even so far as removing the review once resolved.

Learn from Your Reviews

Being open to what your guests are saying and how they’re experiencing your restaurant can have a positive impact on your business. This is a great opportunity to learn from a different point of view, one that is protected by the anonymity of the Internet where people are more often transparent about their opinions. Constructive criticism offers you a chance to consider the health of your business and its operational methods. Perhaps there is room for improvement. It’s better to consider what’s being said than to blindly ignore it.  

a person cooking in a kitchen

Consider these ways the next time a guest writes a review about your restaurant. Create a plan going forward to recognize the importance that restaurant reviews make and communicate this plan to your team. If everyone plays their part, the only reviews will be positive ones. 

Taking control of your accounts on restaurant review sites is the first step in setting yourself up for better reviews and more traffic. From there, ask your guests for positive reviews, incentivize them to share their experience and learn how to listen and learn from negative reviews. If you’re a BentoBox customer, feel free to reach out to your Account Manager to learn about more ways to increase positive reviews online. If you’re interested in learning how a new website can help drive revenue, reviews and traffic to your restaurant, sign up for a free demo below.

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