As any restauranteur will know, diners today are perhaps 100 times more discerning than previous generations.

And, as any restauranteur will know, there is pretty much one culprit to blame for this – the internet.

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Today, diners wouldn’t dream of just rocking up to a neighbourhood bistro to try it out. No, first they have to read its 100 latest reviews on Trip Advisor, take a look at its Yelp profile, then post a question on Facebook to ask their friends’ opinions, just to be on the safe side.

Google findings

Findings from Google’s first UK digital marketing event for restaurants  prove just how much the internet influences dining decisions, with the revelation that 31% of all restaurant sales driven are by online research.

The data from Google’s Consumer Barometer tool also showed 28% of consumers use their mobile to carry out the research with the same percentage making decisions less than an hour before dining.

Google restaurant industry manager Charlotte Sutton said when deciding what restaurant to go to, 37% of people use only online sources, 50% used both online and offline, 3% just offline and 11% did no research at all.

Importance of reviews

Andy King, account director of digital media agency Adtrak, who hosted the event along with Google, explained how the restaurant industry is rapidly changing.

He said: “There are now many ways for customers to interact with restaurants through multiple platforms which did not exist 10 years ago.

“All platforms and devices should be leading customers on a path to convert.”

“Brand is nothing if no one sees it,” he said.

“Social venues should connect socially; it’s as much about listening as being heard.”

King also stressed the importance of responding to reviews – both good and bad.

How simpleERB can help restaurant reviews

Managing your restaurant’s reviews and encouraging positive reviews is made much easier by using simpleERB.

simpleERB has a one stop option that allows restaurant owners to easily monitor negative reviews as well as encourage customers to share positive ones  on Yelp, Trip Advisor and Facebook (you’ll need to be logged into simpleERB to see this feature).

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You can add a link to the customer confirmation email which allows the customer to submit feedback to you after their meal.

When you get a good review you can tick a box on the email copy which sends them a request to share their review, along with links to your restaurant Facebook and Trip Advisor profiles.

So when that judicious diner goes online to research tonight’s dinner option, you’ll already have laid a path of reviews for them to follow – that lead straight to your restaurant’s front door.

 

 



New York raw fish fans you have approximately two weeks to gobble as much fresh sushi and sashimi as you can handle – from August, new regulations mean all fish served raw must be frozen first, reports The New York Times.

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The regulation, published this week by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, requires that fresh raw fish served in restaurants must first be frozen to guard against parasites.

Frozen Fish

This news may horrify New York gastronomes, but the truth is, many chefs in the city’s top restaurants have long used frozen fish for the exact reason above.

Even the New York City chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, which had complained about the regulations at a health department hearing in January, has reversed course.

James W. Versocki, a legal counselor for the group, noted that the vast majority of fish is already flash frozen at some point in the supply chain. “By all indications, everyone will be enjoying the same quality of sushi,” he said.

The Health Department regulation stipulates that fish will require a minimum freezer storage time of anywhere from 15 hours to one week, depending on the temperatures used in the freezing and storage process.

Several types of seafood are exempt from the rule, including shellfish, farm-raised fish and certain types of tuna.

Danger to Health

National health agencies do not regularly track the cases of illnesses caused by eating raw fish, said Dr. Susan Montgomery, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adding, “These infections are rare in the United States and generally aren’t fatal.”

Still, the city’s health department believes it cannot be too careful. Beginning in 2016, restaurants will have to put in print that raw and undercooked foods can be hazardous to one’s health.

For most restaurants, Mr. Versocki said, “the only change might be a new menu.”

 



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