In today’s digital world, it’s easier than ever for consumers to look up restaurants and bars to try online. In fact, when looking for a new place to try, most people refer to a review website before taking the plunge and giving a new establishment a chance.
This digital age gives restaurants and bars the opportunity to be noticed by a larger audience. However, being noticed online is not great if your establishment has received bad reviews.
To help ensure continuous business success in the extremely competitive restaurant and bar industry, it is imperative for these establishments to manage their image online through review sites.
What Are the Best Restaurant Review Sites in 2020?
This article will act as a guide, listing all the review sites your establishment’s brand image should be monitored on alongside five tips on how to manage your reviews on those sites.
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Below are 12 of the most popular review sites that consumers refer to when deciding whether to try a new restaurant or bar. While your establishment may not be listed on all of these review sites, it is likely it will be listed on at least a few, and maybe even some review sites not listed.
It is equally important to maintain your image on every review site your establishment is listed on. Consistency is key to brand image, so each review website should be prioritized evenly and included in your restaurant marketing plan.
1. Google Reviews
When a consumer is looking up your business online, it’s likely that they’re googling your brand. Therefore, the first thing a consumer sees when searching for your business is the Google results. Within these Google results, a consumer will see your brand’s website, links to review sites about your brand, and Google reviews and location.
Google shows all there is to know about your business – if you let it. It shows where your business is located, your hours, your menu, reviews on Google, peak hours, and more. This is one of the most common first stops a user will make when searching for a restaurant or bar near them because of the ease of finding all the information most consumers are looking for.
The first thing a user sees when using Google reviews is a brand’s star rating out of five stars and how many reviews the brand has, so it’s vital to keep this rating high and encourage reviews from all visitors. You can sign up for Google Alerts to monitor activity regarding your brand on the search engine.
Yelp is probably the first brand you think of when you hear the words review site, and for good reason. Yelp is a leading consumer review-based website for businesses of all kinds, with food establishments being the second highest-search category below shopping.
Yelp advertising can greatly affect the business you bring in if your Yelp page isn’t set up, as it makes you seem less established and not as transparent to consumers. Yelp is one of the first stops users make when searching for a restaurant or bar in their area. The site also gives brands the option to easily respond to user feedback publicly or privately.
Unlike Yelp and Google, OpenTable is a review-based site specifically built for restaurants and bars with the core ability of making reservations at the establishments listed on the site.
OpenTable is a great option to ensure your establishment is one, because it can easily monitor which users visited your business by tracking who made reservations where. Even further, OpenTable sends an email to users the day following their reservation asking for restaurant feedback.
OpenTable does not allow brands to publicly respond to customer reviews; however, it lets brands contact the reviewer privately. In order to be listed on OpenTable, brands must sign up with its directory, meaning that your brand has to allow online reservations through the site and will incur a monthly fee.
Being one of the most used websites of all time with more than 2 billion users, it is no surprise that Facebook is one of the best websites for consumers to check out when searching for restaurant reviews.
Facebook allows brands to create business profiles with a review section that is easy to use for customers and brands. These profiles can include photos, videos, about section, hours, and more. Your brand can also use Facebook Messenger to chat privately and directly with consumers.
Related: Learn about the best social media marketing tips for restaurants.
Similar to Yelp, TripAdvisor is used for businesses of all kinds. While TripAdvisor is predominantly known as a travel site, part of travel is finding great restaurants and bars in a new city. This makes TripAdvisor one of the best consumer review sites for restaurants and bars.
Because TripAdvisor is used by consumers who are often travels, reviews are from much more than local consumers – giving your business more diverse feedback from various consumer demographic backgrounds.
TripAdvisor shows results on a ranking basis – with the ranking factoring in both individual review ratings, amount of reviews, and how recent reviews are. The site also offers the ability for consumers to book reservations online for restaurants and bars, allowing users to research a brand and book a table all without leaving the same page.
GrubHub, as the name suggests, is an ideal site for consumers to search for food near them. Not only this, but GrubHub also serves as a food delivery and restaurant takeout site.
If your looking to offer delivery or takeout options from your establishment, it’s important to consider food delivery websites such as GrubHub. Before even clicking on a restaurant, GrubHub shows the restaurants star rating out of five stars and how many ratings make up that rating.
A low rating when ordering food online can quickly turn a potential customer’s eye to another business. Not to mention, users can filter their search on GrubHub by star rating, so if you don’t have many reviews or a high rating, some consumers may not even see your restaurant as an option in the first place.
Seamless may look a bit familiar, as it’s owned by GrubHub and has an extremely similar structure. Seamless is another food ordering website that lets users order food for delivery or takeout.
Users can leave reviews on restaurants they have ordered from on Seamless, but only selected reviews are posted onto the website.
Gayot is a consumer-based review site named after a French critic that uses a 20-point French grading system. From the name, you can guess that Gayot is specifically mean to review food establishments.
Gayot offers more unique review insights, as it offers question and answer sections with globally famous chefs, restaurant owners, wine experts, and influencers. Restaurants cannot claim their own listings on Gayot; however, the site does allow brands to pay for advertising.
Zomato is the new and rebranded Urbanspoon. The site is one of the leading review-based websites for restaurants and bars due to its combination of reviews from professional food critics and bloggers to everyday restaurant goers.
Zomato’s main purpose is to help consumers find places to dine and drink at, so it’s specializes in the ability to filter searches for users and claim listings and personalize them for businesses. Zomato also offers businesses the opportunity to purchase advertisements on its site, giving brands full exposure on and off their business’ listing.
MenuPages, owned by GrubHub, is a go-to restaurant review site for local restaurants. As its name suggests, MenuPages is known as a hub for continuously updated menus of the restaurants listed on its site with reviews and menu recommendations.
One special filter MenuPages offers is finding “Similar Restaurants” in the area. This review website is one of the best options users turn to when searching for menus of local restaurants.
Zagat is known as one of the first restaurant ranking websites on the market. The website works by using a numbered rating scale for consumers to rate restaurants in food, decor, service, and cost. This scale allows review readers to see all aspects of a restaurant, rather than just the food and/or service, as many reviews cover.
Due to Zagat’s 360-view scaling system, it is known to be incredibly reliable. However, the website only covers restaurants listed in a minimal amount of cities – so it is limited in location.
Foursquare started as a location check-in website, and has since expanded to a restaurant search and review platform. The site uses user-generated geolocation to help users find nearby restaurants, showing reviews and ratings from past consumers.
Not only this, but Foursquare offers businesses detailed data reports, including recent visitor demographics and consumer behavior patterns, peak times, and new leads and consumers.
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You have now read up on 12 of the most popular restaurant and bar review sites your brand should be monitoring your reputation on. Knowing which websites to track and manage, below are five tips to keep in mind when using the above listed sites.
1. Have Correct Contact Information
One of the easiest mistakes a brand can make is having incorrect contact information on your brand’s listing on a review website. If a consumer is unable to call, email, or reach your website through a review-based site, they will likely turn to another restaurant before searching for the right way to contact yours.
Be sure your contact information is listed on every site and that it is updated with any changes to prevent losing potential customers to a simple error.
2. Respond Quickly
If users are leaving reviews on your brand’s listing on a review-based site, this is because they want you to see that review and know their thoughts. If the review is negative, it is best not to leave it unattended for too long, as this can suggest that your brand does not care about its unhappy customers.
Respond as soon as you can, acknowledging the consumer’s experience and informing them how you plan to make that experience better the next time around.
3. Leave a Respectful, and Public, Response
Similar to tip No. 2, you want users to see your business as a transparent brand that really listens to its customers. Whether a consumers review is positive or negative, accept the comment and politely state how you plan to continue or fix whatever experience they had.
It’s best to respond publicly, so readers of the reviews can see how much your brand cares about its customers’ opinions.
4. Set Alerts for New Reviews
It’s extremely important to monitor all the activity happening on your brand’s listing. Setting up alerts for all the websites your brand is listed on is the best way to ensure you don’t miss any reviews that are in need of responses.
These alerts may get annoying, flooding your email, but they are more helpful in the long run, as it is better to be on top of all your reviews than miss some imperative ones that may deter business from your establishment.
5. Use a Reputation Management Tool
Reputation management software is a tool that works to monitor user reviews online, helping brands build positive reputations and increasing customer experiences – what business wouldn’t want that?
Using a reputation management tool is a simple way to increase sales and growth through automating processes and ensuring no step of the customer journey is missed from the first Google search to the feedback on a review site. The tool saves time and energy that would otherwise be very taxing for a single person to undertake.
Get Listing, and Manage Your Review Profiles!
Now that you have 12 key-player review-based sites to look out for and five tips to manage your brand’s image on those sites, it’s time to put that information to use and start increasing your online reputation.
Google your brand, see what comes up, and go from there.
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