Reputation Management: What Restaurant Owners Need to Know About Online Reviews

Any study will confirm that most people turn to the Internet when choosing a restaurant. So it only makes sense for restaurant owners and managers to monitor and address online comments and reviews as well as encourage happy diners to post a review online. It’s good marketing, it’s positive free advertising when the happy diners post, and it does not require much time or expertise.

Monitor your restaurant’s online comments via notifications and searches.

If you’ve created a social media page for your restaurant (i.e., Facebook) or claimed the Yelp page about your restaurant, you receive email alerts when consumers comment on or review your restaurant. Pay attention to both negative and positive feedback in order to improve – build on positives and address and fix negatives – but also respond to them. By responding, you show those who wrote comments as well as those consulting these comments, that you care. That said, make sure that your comments are responsive, especially if the feedback is negative.

Go online and search for your restaurant. Any surprises? Did you find sites where your restaurant has a presence of which you were unaware? Add them to your list of regularly checked sites. Did you find positive or negative comments that were new or addressed an issue you were unaware of? Look into it – if the comments were negative and valid, fix the issues; if the comments were positive, expand upon those assets.

Set up alerts for your restaurant so you receive emails when it’s mentioned online. There are two simple ways to do this: Google Alerts and Social Mention. 

To set up a Google Alert, go to In the search query box, type the name of your restaurant in quotation marks so you only get results containing exact matches to your restaurant’s name. Choose “everything” as the result type, and set the other options according to your personal needs. You will then receive emails containing links to mentions of your restaurant.

Social Mention is a free site that will find and then alert you to mentions of your restaurant on various social media sites, including Twitter and Facebook. Go to and input the name of your restaurant – again, using quotation marks if it’s more than one word. It’s best to choose “All” for which types of sites to inspect from the drop-down menu, and then click search. You will then get all results, and, at the bottom of the results page, you will see a choice for alerts that will enable you to have social mentions of your restaurant emailed to you at regular intervals.

When you receive your alerts, read the comments and reviews, answer them as required, and take appropriate action on any positive or negative comments.

Request that your patrons post a review online.

As part of standard restaurant procedure, diners are asked if they enjoyed themselves, their meal, etc. This is perhaps by their server when the bill is presented or by the cashier or host/hostess when the bill is paid.

Those same employees should be instructed to ask diners with positive comments if they would please post their remarks online. The question is nonintrusive and quite a few will follow through with a post.

If the feedback is negative, then the diner’s complaints can be discussed and addressed immediately by a manager or other suitable employee and that, too, will benefit your restaurant. The complainer will feel satisfied at being heard and, depending on the action taken, may even feel repaid, and you will have information that you can use to improve whatever area the complaint addressed.

Use the positive comments to build on the good, use the negative comments to improve, and request that satisfied customers share their good opinions. Since diners frequently use the Internet to find restaurants, make sure that your restaurant’s web-identity leaves a good taste in their mouths.

A happy diner equals a happy comment. Create a pleasant dining experience for your patrons with Harbortouch’s features for hospitality services such as online reservations, streamlined ordering and table tracking for more efficient service, and convenient payment with Tabbedout mobile solution.

To learn more about merchant services, contact Harbortouch at 800-843-8117 or fill out our contact form.