How to Respond to Negative Restaurant Reviews - The Ultimate Guide

How to Respond to Negative Restaurant Reviews - The Ultimate Guide

Negative customer reviews are common for restaurants, but they can be especially damaging to those with already low ratings.
Restaurants with low ratings on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor often see more negative customer reviews because they feel less hesitant about sharing their opinions online. This is why it’s so essential to respond effectively when you receive negative restaurant reviews from your customers.

The most effective way to respond to bad restaurant reviews is by taking the reviewer’s complaints seriously, apologizing if necessary, and working towards resolving the problem as soon as possible (if this isn’t possible). While you should always strive for excellent customer service in your responses, there are some tips below that will help you how to respond to negative restaurant reviews to keep your response professional while also being polite and empathetic.

How Bad Reviews Affect Your Restaurant

The consequences of bad customer reviews can significantly impact your restaurant and drive away customers. Negative reviews will make the customer less likely to come to your restaurant or eat there, affect your revenue, and even lead to distrust in your brand. The more negative reviews you get, the harder it will be for you to recover from them.

Most people will judge a restaurant by its reviews, which should be positive normally. If the negative feedback is more than positive, it probably means that your establishment provides bad customer service and food. Customers often leave reviews to tell others how they feel about your business, not only as an advert or promotion for you. They want to warn people off before they buy something, which is why customer reviews are so important.

Bad customer service examples in a restaurant

People don’t just leave reviews for the food or service. They also do it when there is a genuine problem with their dining experience. Some of the bad customer service examples in a restaurant are:

Rude staff: Staff rudeness may include bad attitudes, not greeting customers, ignoring them, and treating them poorly.

– Staff rudeness may include bad attitudes, not greeting customers, ignoring them, and treating them poorly. 

Waiting time: This can be long lines to sit down with no place to wait for seating or slow service from the kitchen.

– This can be long lines to sit down with no place to wait for seating or slow service from the kitchen. Slow food delivery – The slower your restaurant delivers food, the more likely it is that the reviewer will use bad language or insults in their review.

There are so many examples of bad customer service daily since some customers expect little from most businesses. Always respond quickly and fix issues for them, so they feel valued as customers. If you don’t, they will likely leave a bad review just to warn others off.

What Customers Want To See in Response to Bad Reviews

Customers don’t care about hearing the business owner has read their review and are sorry for whatever happened. They want to know how you plan on resolving their problem.

Also, most customers leave bad reviews because they want to vent and feel better about themselves. They don’t expect businesses to respond with detailed explanations about what happened; however, the results of their review do show up publicly when searched for on Google, so it is still a good idea to address them as often as possible.

How to Respond to Negative Restaurant Reviews

When responding to negative reviews, you should be mindful of the medium you are using and adjust your response accordingly.

How to respond to negative reviews on Google?

1. First acknowledge the reviews.

The best approach to managing bad reviews is first, acknowledge that they are happening. Most businesses have one or two bad reviews, but anything beyond that suggests a problem with the business or product. Think about how you can change your products so they will result in fewer complaints.

2. Learn as much as possible

Secondly, learn as much as possible about your customers and include this information on your website. Add testimonials and reviews to your site from satisfied customers. 

3. Ask for feedback

Thirdly, ask for feedback regularly and create processes to engage with these customers throughout the purchasing process - including after delivery or service. 

4. Try not to respond in anger

Fourthly, try not to respond in anger when people voice legitimate complaints against your restaurant. This only makes matters worse for both of you by harming your reputation and theirs.

5. Don't delete negative customer reviews

Finally, don't delete negative reviews. While it seems like you are getting the problem off your site, this practice is very harmful to your reputation because it suggests that you have something to hide. More importantly, deleting a review doesn't remove its original URL or link from Google, so the search engine still knows about it. Removing reviews makes it much less likely that people will visit your site because you no longer meet their needs.

Check out this excellent example response to a bad restaurant review:

How to Respond to Negative Reviews on Google example - Bookmyorder

How to respond to a bad review on Yelp

One of the most effective ways to handle a bad review on Yelp is by being brief, apologetic, and getting straight to the point. You want your customer back in person so you can work out any issues that might have led them towards leaving such an unhappy comment online. Thanking them for their business and taking care of what needs fixing should help keep more customers coming through your doors!

The best way to respond when someone leaves a negative review on Yelp is to be timely with it, apologies quickly without making excuses or trying anything defensive - they're not interested in hearing justification for how things went wrong- fix it as soon as possible, then thank them again before addressing specific complaints offline.

Your business likely has a page on Yelp, and this is where you'll find reviews. It's essential to keep tabs on what people are saying about your company to address any issues as soon as possible to grow customer loyalty and maintain a positive online reputation with consumers. Any negative reviews should be taken seriously and should be accompanied by a response to keep your customer base happy.

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How to respond to a negative review on Facebook

A negative review can be the start of an uncomfortable situation if you do not take it seriously. Facebook is where your customers come to vent, but they also like to publicly express their opinions on businesses and products. As a business, you need to make sure that you are keeping tabs on what people are saying about your company for several reasons. Here is how you can respond to a negative review on Facebook:

  • Respond to negative reviews quickly and professionally; don't get defensive, and don't make excuses.
  • Don't delete the review, as this will only create more of an issue. Google can still find it, and the reviews will likely show up in your friends' newsfeeds.
  • Be engaged with customers throughout their becoming a patron of your business to maintain loyalty.
  • Thank the customer for their feedback before addressing any specific complaints. This shows that you value their input and want to resolve the issue.
  • Maintain a good reputation with your customers by responding quickly, professionally, and politely. An excellent way to do this is through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter because they are fast forms of communication for businesses using these companies. 

So, in this way you can improve your restaurant reputation and also make better profits.

Best Practices for Responding to Negative Reviews

Here’s how to respond to negative reviews of your restaurant in a way that leaves the customer satisfied and your brand reputation intact.

1. Respond Quickly to Bad Reviews

When someone posts a negative review, respond as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely other people will see and comment on the review. Responding promptly shows the customer that you care about their experience and are willing to work with them to improve your restaurant for all customers.

2. Apologize, Don't Justify

If you make excuses or act defensive, it can come across as sounding like a whine instead of a one-sided conversation that leads to improvement. Instead, try saying things like, "I'm sorry for the bad service you got at our restaurant." This lets the customer know that you need to work on improving your service, but it doesn't sound confrontational.

3. Offer a Solution

Asking the customer what went wrong helps you figure out how to fix the problem. It also shows that you care about fixing the situation and want them to come back.

4. Don't Be Afraid of Giving a Low-Star Review

If you serve a slow or bad meal, give the customer their money back and apologize for your restaurant. If customers have good experiences at your location, be sure to offer them something like a free dessert or another small bonus as an incentive for their patronage. This will help spread positive word of mouth that works in your favor.

5. Get the Details Right

Adding a comment like "I'm sorry you were upset by our service, but there's actually only one waiter on at a time" can go a long way to repairing your reputation and making sure that this particular patron is satisfied. You don't want them to think that all of your waiters are slow, even though maybe you are short-staffed that day.

Best Practices for Responding to Positive Reviews

1. Take the Credit, Not the Blame

When you get positive reviews on sites like Yelp, Twitter and Facebook, be sure that you thank your customers for their patronage and offer a small reward or bonus in return. This also helps improve your brand reputation by leaving your customers satisfied and willing to return.

2. Enhance Your Customer Experience

When you get positive reviews, add your business listing into related searches to entice new customers looking for places like yours on the sites where the reviews are located. This can also help boost your restaurant business at a much faster rate than before.

3. Monitor Both Good and Bad Reviews

The best way to do this is through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter because they are fast forms of communication for businesses using these companies.

4. Be Engaged With Customers Throughout Their Patronage

By maintaining a good reputation with your customers by responding quickly, professionally, and politely. An excellent way to do this is through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter because they are fast forms of communication for businesses using these companies.

5. Answer Darn Near Everything in a Positive Way

Answering people's questions and comments, especially when it comes to restaurants, can be very important if you want your restaurant to grow at an amazing rate.

Negative Review Response Template for Restaurants

Hi [NAME],

I’m sorry to hear that you are disappointed in our restaurant. This is certainly not the type of experience we want to provide for our customers, and we take full responsibility for what has happened.

Please allow me to assist you so we can make things right. Please reach out to me directly at [phone number/email] when convenient so we can discuss a solution.

In the meantime, in the hopes that you will give us a second chance to provide you with the flawless experience customary in our restaurant, please check your messages. There, you will find $20 off your next visit.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention!

Bottom Line

The way you respond to customers' reviews can be the difference between a happy customer and an unhappy with your service. Suppose you know how to navigate through these negative critiques. In that case, it's easy for them not only to save their business but also to turn negatives into positives by turning around bad words about your restaurant.

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