Dining out? Google it. How the internet influences dining decisions.
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.
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.
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).
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.