Online Reviews – How to get 5 stars for your venue (without being dodgy)

In Australia, the consumer is blessed with an abundance of options when it comes to dining. No matter the cuisine, the customer is really spoilt for choice. This is a wonderful thing, but from a foodservice perspective this means you’re constantly facing stiff competition. Gone are the days of the curious wanderer, browsing menus as they stroll the streets. It’s now 2020 and the public has the power to review venues before they even leave the house.

Given this, it’s best that you get up to speed with online reviews, because they can be make or break in the tough hospitality market. Ultimately good food and enjoyable service will drive a strong rating, but in a time where people are more determined to complain than compliment, it’s crucial to convert with the customers who loved their time. Here’s our 5 tips to securing 5 stars:


Understand the players

Review systems are everywhere now – it’s best to know which ones affect you. If you have a Facebook page for your venue, you’ll be rated there. If you’re on Google, expect reviews. App services such as Zomato and Uber Eats also host review systems. And if you rely on tourists for foot traffic, a solid review on Trip Advisor can really help with bringing in groups. It’s a good idea to know what you’re on to monitor your rating and respond to any feedback.


Take the time to respond

Knowing your rating is one thing but understanding why it’s that way is another. No restaurant is safe from a bad review, so it’s best to determine where things may have gone wrong. Taking 10 minutes to respond politely shows that you care about customer experience and are open to improving.


Don’t be shy

There’s a fine line to tread when asking someone to rate you, because no one likes to be pushed into a review. Once you’ve established which review system works best for your business, it’s perfectly fine to inform happy customers of where they can rate you. The key is to remind or inform, rather than ask.


Don’t forget the good stuff

It’s easy to sift through reviews and work with the bad bits. But a successful establishment will acknowledge all feedback. Your 5-star ratings show what you’re doing right, and that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Remember to reward staff who’ve been mentioned, or a shift group where there’s been a bunch of positive feedback. It’s amazing how far a little appreciation goes and this will motivate staff to do it again.


Take one for the team

This is foodservice, you’re never going to please everyone. But you’re better off hearing what an unhappy customer has to say when it happens, then hear it online with a harmful review. Whether someone has dropped the ball, or the patron is simply problematic, you’re better off letting them say their piece. Discount dinner seekers aside, most upset customers just want to be heard. They’ll likely be surprised when you ask for their feedback on how you can improve and respect you for doing so.


Minding ratings and reviews can be a daunting process, but to succeed, it needs to be done. It’s best to understand that you’ll likely cop a bad review or rating from time to time. Try to see it as a free insight into how to improve your business, service and overall experience. In responding to bad feedback, either in person or online, you’re showing those people and the general public who witness those conversations that you care. Always acknowledge the good stuff with your staff – it could very well be the morale boost they need.