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A Definitive Guide to Online Reputation Management (ORM) For Restaurants


The digital era has made online reputation paramount for restaurants. Research from Invesp shows website visits influence dining choices for 72% of consumers, and 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.

Restaurant review sites like Yelp and Google are typically the first stop for potential diners, and customer feedback online and a restaurant's SEO results lead to first impressions that can impact brand perception.

A few negative reviews or stagnant engagement on social media can deter potential patrons, while a 5-star grade or endless buzz on Instagram and Facebook can lead to more frequent visits by diners. As such, actively managing and monitoring online reputation has become essential for restaurants to thrive.

Influence of Online Reviews

A recent study has indicated that a restaurant can be made or unmade through online reviews. The paper, titled Effect of Online Reviews and Crowd Cues on Restaurant Choice, reveals that the public relies heavily on the Internet to determine where to have meals. It notes that online review ratings are not only important when it comes to choosing restaurants but also perceived crowding.

Moreover, bad reviews do not portray a good image of the hotel they said “Ninety-four percent of diners choose a restaurant based on online reviews, and a 1-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue.”

The bottom line is that consumers are largely influenced by online reviews and reputations which ultimately decide whether eateries succeed or fail. This only goes to show why restaurant owners and managers should make proactive online reputation management their top priority.

Benefits of Positive Reputation

A positive online reputation provides restaurants with significant benefits that directly impact their bottom line. According to The Top 5 Benefits Of Online Reviews For Your Local Restaurant, positive reviews can drive more customers and revenue. Reviews give potential diners the social proof they need to choose your restaurant over competitors. Studies show that over 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a restaurant.

Positive reviews also dramatically improve a restaurant's brand image. As noted in Online Reputation Management for Restaurants - UpReports, favorable reviews portray the restaurant as a trusted establishment known for great food and service. This strengthens brand loyalty and makes customers more likely to recommend the restaurant to others. Bad reviews can seriously damage a brand's reputation, while good reviews enhance trust and esteem.

Restaurants that are highly rated with 4 or 5 stars online are more attractive in search results. Harness the Power of Positive Reviews: Illuminate Your Restaurant's Story explains that positive reviews boost local SEO and attract more customers to a restaurant using search engines. Restaurants can also enjoy other benefits such as increased revenues, and higher conversions among others by managing their reputation online.

Key Elements of an Effective Restaurant ORM Strategy

A successful restaurant online reputation management (ORM) strategy should include these key elements:

Monitoring Reviews and Mentions

It is important to actively monitor online reviews on sites such as Yelp, Google, and Facebook so that you can stay updated on your reputation. Keep checking for new reviews by setting up alerts. Social media monitoring tools like HootSuite and Google Alerts track mentions or customer feedback throughout the web.

According to OpenTable, "The first step of any restaurant reputation management strategy is to monitor online reviews. Set a Google alert for your restaurant name so you're notified any time it's mentioned online."

Responding to Negative Reviews

Instead of ignoring negative feedback respond to issues professionally and diplomatically. Appreciate the customer’s feedback, apologize if necessary then outline how you intend to correct this situation

As per StatusLabs, "Respond to every single review - positive and negative. When responding to negative reviews diplomatically address the issues mentioned without being argumentative."

Encouraging Positive Reviews

Ask satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on major sites. Provide prompts on receipts, and emails, and have staff politely ask for reviews. Incentivize with discounts for leaving reviews.

ReviewTrackers recommends restaurants should "Ask customers for reviews while they are still on the premises and thinking positively about their experience."

Building Online Buzz

Engage customers on social media and run creative campaigns to generate online buzz. Share specials, photos, and content to showcase your restaurant's strengths. Interact regularly with customers and build relationships.

ORM Tools and Solutions

There are various online tools and services available to help restaurants monitor and manage their online reputation effectively, including:

Review monitoring software - Platforms like Brand24 and ReviewTrackers analyze online reviews across sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook to provide insights and alerts. This allows restaurants to stay on top of emerging issues and quickly address any negative feedback.

Social media management platforms - Tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social help restaurants monitor brand mentions and engage with customers across social networks. They provide social media analytics to identify online reputation trends.

Reputation management services - Companies like Rannko and OpenTable offer dedicated services to help restaurants manage online reviews, promote positive feedback, and resolve reputation issues. This provides a comprehensive solution tailored to the restaurant industry.

By leveraging the right software tools and services, restaurants can streamline online reputation management, saving time and effort while protecting and enhancing their brand image.

Reacting to Negative Reviews

In dealing with unfavorable reviews, it is wrong to be defensive or argumentative. The first thing that should be done will be to feel for the unhappy customer and then offer an apology from the heart. According to research findings, responding to poor restaurant ratings involves recognizing the customer’s experience, apologizing, and addressing the specific points raised by them.

When necessary, try to contact the client directly so as to resolve the issue offline by finding out more about where along the way things went wrong. In addition, maybe you can give them a discount or any other special offer as a way of saying “I’m sorry” and showing your interest in winning back their business.

Therefore if someone leaves a neutral review with negative feedback you may like to acknowledge what specifically went wrong during his visit. Additionally, you could give a coupon or discount for them to encourage another visit.

On the contrary, one needs to face such negative criticisms objectively without responding harshly but rather use those ideas as avenues upon which one can improve his/her establishment. Empathy plus true willingness can make many of these negatives turn into positives.

Building Positive Reputation

There are several key strategies restaurants can use to proactively build up positive buzz and engagement online:

First and foremost, restaurants should focus on providing excellent customer service and high-quality food. Satisfied customers will be much more likely to leave positive reviews. Staff should be trained to deliver friendly, attentive service to every table.

Running promotions that encourage reviews is another great way to build up positive feedback. This could be as simple as asking customers to review their meals for a chance to win a gift card. Tools like OpenTable's automated review collection make it easy to prompt customers to review right after their meal.

Restaurants can also monitor social media to find and share positive reviews and testimonials. Complements about a great meal or great service can be re-shared to showcase your strengths. Tagging happy customers is a nice gesture as well.

Maintaining an active social media presence allows restaurants to interact with diners online regularly. Posting mouthwatering photos, responding to comments, and engaging followers help build connections. Running social campaigns and contests also sparks positive attention.

Investing in online ads and SEO makes it easier for diners to find and learn about your restaurant. Promoted posts and search ads showcase your brand to new customers. Optimizing your website and online profiles for keywords helps you stand out in searches.

Monitoring Mentions

Online monitoring of reviews and mentions can serve as an early warning system. Restaurants should set up alerts and notifications to track what is being said online about their brand and locations.

Google Alerts, Social Mention, as well as Talkwalker, are tools that let you punch in search terms and get automated notifications every time they are mentioned on the web. Keywords to consider tracking include the restaurant’s name, location, menu items, and any relevant hashtags. For restaurants that attract a lot of customers, reputation management platforms like Review Trackers can also give them alerts and notifications.

In addition to alerts, restaurants should make online monitoring part of their regular routine. Dedicate 15-30 minutes daily or a few hours weekly to review sites, social media, and other channels for any new reviews, check-ins, photos, etc. Staying on top of the daily chatter ensures no reviews or complaints slip through the cracks. According to Bloom Intelligence, consistent monitoring and analysis of customer feedback allows restaurants to quickly identify and address issues.

Encouraging Positive Reviews

Asking customers directly to leave feedback is among the effective ways for restaurants to get more positive online reviews. This can be done both digitally and in person.

Email and receipt prompts are a simple digital tactic - Include a brief note on the bottom of receipts or in post-dining emails politely asking customers to leave an online review if they were satisfied with their experience. According to research from Toast POS, restaurants see a 10-15% increase in reviews just by adding review prompts to receipts.

Restaurants can also put up signage in the establishment itself, either near the entrance/exit or on tables, suggesting that satisfied guests "Leave us a review online!" This type of in-store prompt makes review requests visible and top of mind for many diners after they've had a good meal.

Social media appeals are another avenue - Periodically posting on your restaurant's Facebook, Instagram, etc., and asking followers to leave a review if they've visited recently and had an enjoyable time. To encourage shares and engagement, promotions can sweeten the deal - for example, "Leave us a Yelp review for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate!"


By making online reputation management an ongoing priority, restaurants can transform their online reputation and continually elevate the customer experience. With the right tools and best practices, developing an excellent reputation online is an achievable goal that directly impacts profitability and success.

Posted By Kajal at

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