It’s no surprise that reviews play an essential part in the level of custom your restaurant receives. Especially with social media and the internet at our fingertips, it’s incredibly easy to see reviews and make a decision based on what we see. It’s even easier to leave a negative review, tainting the reputation of your business and the way potential customers perceive your venue.

The aim is to reduce the likelihood of negative reviews by providing satisfactory service. This is so customers leave your restaurant having had a fantastic experience and are will more inclined to leave a 5-star review rather than a 1-star.

You may think that customer ratings are out of your control, but it’s not. Just like a bad experience will prompt a negative review, an exceptional experience will do the same. Because you have full control of the service you’re providing! Below we share some tips on how to increase those positive reviews!

two customers in a restaurant with a waiter pouring them a glass of wine

Quality of Service

Although it doesn’t need to be said, the quality of service from your staff and overall business will impact your customer’s opinion. Even if your menu and dishes are satisfactory, customers will be deterred by lacklustre or bad service. Whether that’s waiting too long for their food, being neglected by waitstaff or a bad attitude from the servers.

Staff Performance

It’s key to monitor your staff’s performance to see if they’re doing their best to provide a good experience. You can have weekly meetings, reminding staff of how impressions matter to the business. Or even approach an individual staff member who’s quality of service has been lacking then provide tips to improve that. Once your staff are in that mind-set, your customers will be well looked after.

It’s also important to keep in mind that good customer service doesn’t start and end with your staff. As a manager and owner, you also have to engage with customers and check if they’re happy with the service they’re paying for. Should there be an incident, try to look into it yourself. This shows that their opinions are valued and you personally wanted to address the situation. You can then delegate this to another member of staff to rectify.

Providing good customer service is key. Proper steps should be taken to make sure your paying customers are attended to. Long waiting times happen for various reasons, so have a server explain their food will take some time and apologise. You can offer free items to compensate.

Under-staffing on short notice can throwing your operation off balance. Again, have a server explain and apologise. Customers will be understanding as long as you update them and don’t neglect them, even if that update is unfavourable. This shows you care about their experience and took the time to let them know of delays.

CRM and Building Relationships

Valuing your customers, both new and old, will help you get those 5 star reviews. It’s necessary to retain existing customers and keep up a relationship with them to encourage good reviews and word of mouth among their social circles, which will then translate into more positive reviews. Serving the same customer multiple times indicates a quality restaurant and service, which you can use to your advantage.

Just as retaining existing customers is important, it’s also crucial to build relationships with new customers to prompt repeat custom and loyalty. You want customers to visit your venue more than once, and the best way to do that is making sure their initial experience is outstanding.

Using Spark’s CRM tool can help manage customer sales and relationships, giving you insight into your customer’s buying habits and allowing you to cater your service to each individual. Something as simple as remembering their name, a dietary requirement or even just notifying customers of one of their favourite dishes and offering a discount will start building those relationships.

Learn More About CRM

There are many benefits of utilising CRM and creating relationships with paying customers. It will increase the prospect of 5 star reviews for your restaurant, and ultimately boost business.

waiter bringing food to two customers at a restaurant

Above and Beyond

Going that extra mile for your customers will immediately show you care and value their custom. Just as you’d build a relationship and update them when there’s an issue, demonstrate how your business goes above and beyond to satisfy your customers, with something they may not have expected but nevertheless, welcome.

This could be as easy as fulfilling a requirement or altering a dish to suit the customer, again by using CRM, you could be prepared for this and altogether, build on that relationship.

In more extreme cases where there’s an issue, or even a low rating – reach out to your customers. Call them to ask about their experience, what the problem was and apologise for any misunderstandings. Show them you’ve taken time out of your day to talk to them because their experience matters.

A customer won’t expect for you to reach out to them, so when you do, their impression of your restaurant will begin to change almost instantly. A call is much more personal than a message online, further showing your intention to rectify any mistakes. The customer may even give your venue a second chance, and change their negative rating as a result.

Feedback

Your restaurant will get feedback, and that may be in the form of a review online or in person at your venue. Feedback from your customers is something to keep in mind as it will shape any changes or future decisions you make. It’s an invaluable piece of information you can utilise to run your business effectively.

Listen to your customers, while some feedback may not affect the overall operation, monitor any recurrences and similar themes raised by different customers. If that’s the case – don’t ignore it. There’s a reason it’s being mentioned by your customers and may need looking into. You can implement any necessary changes while also showing that feedback is taken on board – simultaneously meeting your customer’s needs, and improving your business and positive reviews.

a hand holding a pen over a customer satisfaction checklist with the options excellent, good, average and poor with excellent ticked.

Those are a few tips on how to improve your rating, and encourage more 5 star reviews of your restaurant. It all comes down to the positive attitude of your workforce, and wanting to provide the best service you can. By making a few changes and considering your customers, you can boost positive ratings right away.

Spark’s CRM can make the process easier by giving you the tools you need to grow your customer relationships and increase loyalty. To find how CRM can help your business, visit www.sparkepos.com.