How to Respond to Negative Yelp Reviews

How to Respond to Negative Yelp Reviews

Has your restaurant received negative Yelp reviews, but you’re not sure how to respond? Restaurant owners and manager who have a plan for responding to negative Yelp reviews can save tons of time and win back customers – as well as boost future revenues.

You’ve worked too hard to let bad Yelp reviews impact your restaurant sales. So read on for the best tips on how to be a good restaurant manager when it comes to responding to negative Yelp reviews.

The Importance Of Yelp

Yelp is one of the first places people go before trying out a new restaurant. Like it or not, potential customers will be on Yelp, and one bad review is often enough to get them to choose another restaurant instead of yours.

Use Yelp to gain new customers

Negative reviews will happen. Someone could be having a bad day, or maybe there was just a difference in expectation when it came to a particular dish. It’s important not to take negative reviews personally, or respond emotionally (as tempting as this may be – after all, you’ve put your blood, sweat, and tears into this business).

This is where your Yelp response plan comes in.

Yelp Response Plan

What follows is a 5-point plan that can turn any negative Yelp review into a magnet for new customers:

1. Identify The Issue and Avoid A Canned Response

Where possible, address the person who left the review by name. Be courteous, without showing anger or sarcasm. They’re already upset, so by getting angry or confrontational, you’ll just make things worse. Identify the central issue and make sure you address this directly.

Keep it simple and always start by thanking the reviewer for their business and feedback.

Avoid a one-size-fits-all response. It doesn’t come across as genuine when you see the same response to every review and complaint: “Thank you for your review, at Restaurant X we have the highest standards and will work on improving in future”.

An example of a good response would be:

“Hi John, thanks for your review, and for choosing our restaurant. You’re totally right, receiving hard bread rolls is just not ok. I started this restaurant because I wanted to delight every single customer, every time they eat here. Generally, as you can see from our comments and reviews, this is the case. I’m just as upset as you about your experience, which I assure you I want to make up for. Please contact the restaurant at [phone number] and ask for me (Scott, the owner). We’ll make sure you’re as delighted as all our other customers!”

2. Who Should Respond, And When

You should respond to negative reviews yourself. Especially if it’s a really bad review, and it’s even more important if the manager was specifically mentioned in the review.

It’s best not to delegate this task to anyone else, as not only will this come across as insincere, but you are in the best position to understand all the issues at hand. Of course, be honest. It makes a big difference to hear someone genuinely being honest about what happened.

Respond as quickly as possible.  It will show you care about your business, you value feedback (and Yelp reviews), and that you’re always looking for ways to improve your business.

The only thing worse than a negative review on Yelp is a negative review where the restaurant owner or manager hasn’t even bothered to respond. So it’s highly recommended to stay on top of your Yelp page. You can even enable push notifications if you use the Yelp app.

3. Keep Your Audience In Mind

As much as you are responding to the actual reviewer, don’t forget that your audience are also future customers. Avoid long, detailed responses and address the main issues while focusing on the positives and a good next visit.

Craft the right response to keep customers happy

4. Show That It’s An Exception

Following the previous point, show future customers how this event is isolated. It’s an exception, and they can see from your ratings and other reviews (hopefully) how people love your restaurant and what you offer.

5. Offer To Make It Up – Even If You’re Right

It might not sit well with you, but it really helps to offer the reviewer to make up for their experience. As they say, “the customer is always right”. Another tip: don’t write explicitly on the comment what you’re going to give them – rather keep it general, and ask them to get in touch.

Bonus Tips

  • Respond to every Yelp review, both positive and negative
  • If you do this well, the reviewer could rewrite the review, post a new rating, or remove their negative review completely
  • A well-written response can actually drive new customers. A good response can resolve the issue and assure new customers that any problems have been resolved

Be More Effective

Negative Yelp reviews are a part of life. You have to respond genuinely and stick to your response plan in order to turn them around.

When thinking about how to continue to improve as a restaurant manager, know that everything is better with a plan. With all the tasks that need to get done, taking care of inventory management shouldn’t be another headache. Use Cheetah to save time, cut costs, and arrange your orders from your phone – straight to your door.

This gives you more time to spend with customers, responding to reviews on sites like Yelp, and showing off how awesome your restaurant is!

About Cheetah

Cheetah is an e-commerce platform originally designed for independent restaurants to order wholesale food and supplies for next-day delivery. Due to high consumer demand for groceries and supplies during the COVID-19 crisis, Cheetah has expanded its wholesale services and facilities to give local communities access to the supplies they need. Cheetah offers home delivery and  has turned its refrigerated trucks into mobile fulfillment centers whereby consumers can place their order through the Cheetah mobile app and pick it up from the truck, which are parked at 9 locations in the Bay Area.

Interested in more details? See our website, download our iOS and Android apps, or call us at +1 (800) 571-5231.

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