Let’s talk about reviews, specifically food reviews and small local venues.
Now I cannot stress enough the importance of leaving a review to support local businesses. It’s such a big decider for many diners these days, instantly a potential customer may see one bad review at the top and just completely write the place off, which isn’t always fair.
Don’t get me wrong, some places could do with some improvement at times but being rude or losing them potential custom isn’t helping in the long run. It’s their lively hood and you could damage that by complaining publicly about very minor issues in an already struggling industry.
So we have a few different types of reviews/reviewers (Here’s a few):
A. You go to a place to eat, it’s OK….nothing special but it was pleasant enough and decent value for money. Did you leave a review? Probably not because it didn’t excite and impact.
B. It was absolutely fantastic on your visit and you can’t praise the experience enough and you want to let them know and everyone else too.
C. It was unforgivably awful in every way and you can’t think of anything good about it, it was unsafe consumption and it had serious issues.
D. One thing really annoyed you, so rather than speak to the staff, privately contact them it was good to relieve your frustration on a review site or platform.
Now D. is really the most harmful to a small business. I understand your experience may not have been fully satisfactory, you might even get home and still be fuming about whatever it was. Perhaps a member of staff was rude, your food was cold, they forgot your onion rings….now however minor you’ve paid for that food and you expect good quality, an enjoyable experience and polite staff but the reality is on occasion good businesses can make mistakes, staff can be stressed, wait times can be longer, they left the scampi in a bit too long but it shouldn’t condemn them for all eternity. Human error in a busy fast paced environment is bound to happen at some point. I think the worst reviews that I see over and over again is “No toilet roll” really if this was a factor never to return! Just let them know at the bar surely….
A. Is also not a great thing for a business, if you don’t rate your hassle free and enjoyable experience then their page is over shadowed by the dramatic switch between high praise and 1 star hate, and no middle ground.
So what is my point….. My point is, before you leave a small business a bad review, please cool off! Your review may just be 1 bad review but it can drop a rating for an otherwise high rated establishment.
If something has upset you about it then just try keep your fingers away from your phone until the next day or at least until you don’t feel as frantic about it. Then you can step back and think about if what you are about to write is fair. This might not be a reoccurring issue or the venue may not even be aware of the issue, as I’ve found when explaining any concerns I’ve had in the past with food. The most polite way to deal with it is either speak to a member of staff or management and if you feel you can’t do that calmly then as I say, wait until the next day and contact them, explain your issue and concerns. If you do leave a review think about how others may read it and how you would feel if it were someone writing about you or your business.
If you have written a terrible review and clicked 1 or 2 stars and have since revisited and had a better experience then remove your review or update it. Some reviews are left as inside jokes, but they really aren’t helpful to anyone.
Reviews are an essential marketing tool today with so many people looking online before they decide to book. So if you can leave a positive or constructive review for a venue then please do!
A message to Venue owners, usually responses I see are professional but I can say on occasion I have seen some utterly terrible responses to rude criticism from customers. It can be very hard and it is very difficult not to take offence when someone is really digging into something you work so hard for but my best advice would be if you can’t bring yourself to respond politely then appoint someone who is more detached from the business, because getting into an argument or biting back a rude response is even more harmful with potential customers looking in. Think, if you see a review and the establishment comments back, for example “Yeah, well if you don’t like it, don’t come back”. You don’t want that, you want them to return and you want to prove it was a one off. Second chances are a thing.
If you ever need some advice, tips, tricks with marketing, review responses, website and social media then get in touch with me here.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE, WHY NOT SUGGEST PLACES TO TRY?