Reviews are important. It seems an obvious statement doesn’t it? Just how important can reviews be to your business and it’s online presence though? Well, local search for restaurants is one area that reviews can play a key role.

After reading this tête-à-tête between marketing experts David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal it would seem that in your local online eco-system (the world where search engines source their data) that the answer is very important.

You’ve probably noticed that when you search for your restaurant on google that additional information will now show in a box alongside the search results.

It seems that by having reviews (hopefully all positive!) on a multitude of sites helps your ranking in search results. This makes it more credible to search engines such as google. This article gives a good comparison between profiles receiving reviews over multiple sites rather than just through one.

The question is though, how do I get customers to review my restaurant over a range of platforms, rather than just on Trip Advisor? simpleERB has the solution for you.

using simpleERB to get reviews

Local search for restaurantsWithin your advanced settings on simpleERB, you can enable customer feedback. This means that when a customer makes a booking, they are sent a link which they can use once they have dined, to directly send you their feedback.

The first advantage of this is that you have a direct line to the customer, and they to you, meaning that if they are giving negative feedback, it should come to you first, before being posted on any well known review sites.

Secondly, you can set up your social links in simpleERB with URL’s for your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Trip Advisor profiles. These can be sent directly back to the customer along with a standard message telling the customer where they could post this review, more publicly.

Lastly, we believe that feedback, in any business is vital to improve yourself and performance. So take the opportunity to take the reviews onboard and discuss them with your staff.

All of this can be activated with just a few clicks and all of it, will improve local search for restaurants.

 



Reviews can be extremely valuable to a restaurant owner. Not just the good ones either. A bad review could arguably be more useful. It helps you identify any weak points and lets you fix them. We read this article about monitoring online reviews and how to harness their influence recently and were surprised that now over 67% of restaurant goers want to read reviews online before they dine at a restaurant. The thing is though, you don’t want your customers to read just about negatives, you want the good reviews to be visible. That’s why simpleERB has a feedback feature.

get reviews direct, filter the good and bad

The get customer feedback feature within simpleERB sends the customer a link when they make a booking which they can visit and leave a review which then gets sent straight to you, the restaurant owner. You can set up links to your social pages (Facebook, Trip Advisor etc…) and with one click at the end of the customer review, you can send them a link to your Trip Advisor profile and ask them if they would like to share their review there. If you’d rather they didn’t share their feedback in public, then you can contact the customer directly. simpleERB also remembers your customers, so you’ll easily find their contact information.

To start managing your customer feedback effectively, login to your simpleERB account now or create a free account. You’ll find this feature in the advanced general settings.

 



There are few acts as culturally divisive than restaurant tipping. In the UK 10% is considered good manners (if the service is good). In the USA anything less than 20% is unacceptable. In Japan tips are not left at all and the server may even try to return your tip if you choose to leave one.

NYC-Sushi-Restaurant-Eliminates-Tips-for-Servers

Dining in a foreign country often includes a mild panic at the end of the meal and a scramble for the Lonely Planet to check you are tipping in adherence to local expectations. However, one prominent New York restaurateur intends to do away with this awkward scenario….by banning tipping around the world.

New York restaurant influencer

Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But when one of the most influential restaurant figures in the world, a man who banned smoking in his restaurants over a decade before it became the law, announces he plans to ban tipping in his thirteen NYC restaurants, it’s fair to assume this will have a ripple effect.

Danny Meyer, Chief Executive of Union Square Hospitality Group, the force behind some of New York’s most important restaurants, announced that starting in November he will eliminate tips at every one of its thirteen restaurants as well as increase prices.

In a letter on the Union Square Hospitality Group website he said: “We believe hospitality is a team sport, and that it takes an entire team to provide you with the experiences you have come to expect from us. Unfortunately, many of our colleagues — our cooks, reservationists, and dishwashers to name a few — aren’t able to share in our guests’ generosity, even though their contributions are just as vital to the outcome of your experience at one of our restaurants.”

Higher menu prices

Meyer plans to increase his menu prices 30-35%, the extra cost ensuring a fair wage for all restaurant staff not just the waiting staff, eliminating a scenario where the waiters earn a higher salary than the chefs.

All great for the staff. But how will diners feel about having the tipping practice taken away from them?

Customer reactions

There’s the practical aspect of the hike in dish prices: it remains to be seen how diners react to paying £39.10 instead of $29 for Maialino’s famed Devil’s Chicken, even without the tip.

But there’s also the psychological factor. As Meyer himself told New York Eater, the diner may think “I no longer believe I have a sword to punish a waiter with, or a pat on the back to praise with.”

His solution is a system such as Uber that introduced a culture of both tip-free payments and open customer feedback an an industry not used to either.

An online feedback system, he points out, “would give us all kinds of data. Today, if you leave a bad tip, I probably don’t even know about it.” But with mobile payments and experience-specific feedback, “I can follow up and say ‘Help us get better,’ or ‘Let me refund some of your money.’”

simpleERB

Well what do you know. Who already offers an online restaurant feedback system? simpleERB.

simpleERb allows diners to comment and give ratings on their meal, feedback which goes directly to the restaurant.

This allows restaurants to see where they are going right and wrong directly from the source and if the feedback is negative deal with it in house instead of on Trip Advisor (and if the feedback is positive simpleERB also has a feature that allows diners to post their rave review on Trip Advisor and Yelp).

So if the restaurant world does indeed become tip free, you won’t be unaware as to whether your customer enjoyed their meal.

You’ll see their opinion for yourself on simpleERB.



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Catherine Hanly of the most estimable “Hot Dinners” blog tells us that when asked about how chefs view critics, John Favreau, director of the movie “Chef”  said:

“I think the frustration they’re railing against isn’t critics – it’s really the internet/blogosphere – the Yelp people who write about the restaurants. That drives the chefs crazy. And then they write them back. I mean I know I’m a public figure. Chefs don’t know and then they write the kind of things that get picked up by food blogs and these wars begin.”

You  can read the full interview here.

(Need we remind you that simpleERB can help you get negative reviews that might have gone to Yelp to go directly to you and help you get good ones published where they can be seen? 🙂 )



I found this interesting article in The Restaurant Manifesto called  Critics Under Review – quote below – is this fair?

“But new restaurants are like toddlers that need time to shed their baby fat; they must learn to crawl before they can walk or—in the most hyped cases—learn to fly up to their lofty expectations.

The unfortunate result is that many restaurants with real ambition never get a chance to grow into adulthood without judgement already having been passed.

In most cases, if the quality of a new restaurant improves after review season has ended, it will happen without much recognition from the press or restaurant critics.

With as many technological advances in mobile communication it’s puzzling that a critic’s views would not evolve over time.  Is it really fair to file one definitive review based on a few early experiences and be done with it? Isn’t this akin to reviewing a piece of theater based on the quality of its dress rehearsals?”

 



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