Can Yelp Really Help You Get New Diners To Your Restaurant?
Love them or hate them, Yelp.com and the Yelpers who Yelp are shaping the way eaters eat! (Wow, say that three times fast!). The fact is, if you’re not thinking about your Yelp reviews then you’re missing a huge opportunity to get more diner’s into your restaurant.
Here are a few tips to make sure you’re doing everything you can to build your reputation.
1. Claim your location on Yelp. Like it or not, if you’re restaurant has been around for even a few months, you already have a Yelp page. Claiming this page allows you make sure all of your information is correct. It also allows you to add your own pictures and details to the listing. Most importantly, once you’ve claimed your listing, you can respond to your reviews (both negative and positive).
2. Encourage your customers to “check in” and review your restaurant. Yelp prefers “Yelpers” who do their “Yelping” on their mobile devices, so a diner who “checks-in” is a lot more credible to Yelp, meaning: their reviews have a better chance of being published, and not winding up in the dreaded “filtered review” section.
3. Don’t ask for 5 star reviews! Yelp uses a filter to weed out reviews that it believes are made up or bogus. When the filter finds a questionable review, it “filters” it. A filtered review is pulled out of the normal reviews and it’s star rating is NOT factored into the overall score that the restaurant receives. An obvious tip off that your reviews are bogus is for them to always be 5 star. Real businesses are not perfect, some days they perform better then other days. The reviews a restaurant receives should reflect this.
4. Think of your negative reviews as constructive criticism. If someone takes the time to write an honest review of your restaurant, even though it’s a negative one, they are telling you about areas that need to be fixed. The best thing you could do for a negative review (assuming it’s a valid review and not a bad review written by someone with an axe to grind), is to first apologize for the offense, let the customer know you are going to fix or look into the matter and invite them to come back in for a “second chance”. Always, treat the reviewer with respect!
5. Finally, we get to the biggest criticism about Yelp – the undeserved negative review. It absolutely does happen, a competitor or a disgruntled employee or even an angry ex-girlfriend posts a really bad review about your restaurant. So what can you do?
First, you should carefully read the review for anything that is obviously not true or shows that the reviewer has never even been in your restaurant, then you should “Flag” the review. Flagging lets Yelp know that there is something wrong with the review and allows you to present your side of the case. The key here is to present your side of the argument in a clear manner without getting into any name calling. Do NOT get into an argument with the reviewer, this will only make you look bad. Calmer heads usually prevail in matters like this. I have been successful in having negative reviews removed for some of my clients by following this method.
Finally, Yelp can be a great way to find new customers. However, it does require a certain amount of management. Remember, your competitors are watching Yelp, so you need to be as well.
Here’s a video that will help you claim your yelp page: