Can Yelp Restaurant Reviews Be Accurate?

Is reputation management part of your restaurant marketing strategy?

Recently, I was on an extensive road trip for the better part of the past month. Many nights in hotels and most of my meals in restaurants. Ah the glamour of business travel!

One thing I have seen in most markets that I visit is that restaurant owners complain about Yelp. Their reasoning may be justified based on some of the arguments I have heard and the struggles to correct issues is always a challenge. But I did find some things consistent.Yelp Reviews

During my extensive road trip, I often sought out restaurants to eat at using Yelp as my guidepost to meet my culinary choice for the day. It’s all there from chains to independents, seafood through Italian. What’s is nearby and what is 3 hours down the road. Better than guessing where you will eat all the time.

The consistency I found is that the Star Rating on Yelp was pretty accurate when compared to my dining experience. When reviews said service was bad, I had a similar experience. When a restaurant had 5 Stars, I found my meal was great and the service was fantastic. Surprisingly most of the chain restaurants only had a 3 star rating. A widow of opportunity does exist for independents.

So despite all the complaining, restaurant owners need to look inward to see if they are truly part of the problem. A study from Harvard concluded that each star on Yelp equates to about a 5% increase or decrease in sales. If you can improve the rating at an average restaurant, there is the potential for $40,000 by increasing reviews from 3 to 4 stars.

My advice to restaurant owners, take it for what it says. Consumer have spoken and given your restaurant a rating. In the reviews there are tools to be used as a learning experience. Improve your food quality, train your servers, meet your expected delivery times. Yes, Yelp is part of the social word of mouth experience. It will not be going away anytime soon. At least now, you have the opportunity to know some of what is being said about your restaurant.

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