Online reputation management for restaurants is used as a marketing practice used for structuring and improving an eatery’s reputation digitally. This approach removes misleading content, highlights well-received reviews, and promotes customer engagement.
As a restaurant owner, ORM should be a significant part of your marketing strategy because it plays a vital role in attracting new customers. According to statistics, 34% of customers choose to dine at a restaurant based on its Google reviews and ratings. Moreover, an increase in Yelp ratings also results in a 5% to 9% boost in revenue.
Therefore, restaurant owners should be managing the restaurant’s online reputation by using effective ORM practices. This blog will enlighten you about the importance and benefits of ORM practices. We will also share tips to help you attract potential customers.
The Importance of Online Reputation Management for Restaurants
The majority of the restaurant industry leverages social media posts and reviews to represent an impressive brand image. This is because 45% of the US population picks a restaurant after evaluating its social media presence.
So, negative reviews on your social media account will not only reduce customer trust but also negatively reflect on your service and food quality. However, getting online reputation management services can help you promptly reply to negative comments and solve customer issues before escalation. As a result, you will have less damaging exposure.
In addition to social media, ORM also focuses on improving your reputation on search engines, community forums, and other platforms on which your customers are active.
Proactive ORM: Attract and Retain Customers
Proactive ORM involves protecting the restaurant’s reputation online before any damage occurs. This practice is cost-friendly, easy to implement, and productive. In this approach, you create a solid online brand image which can help maintain customer loyalty despite the negative criticism. This minimizes the damage that follows backlash or negative customer interactions.
Establishing an excellent online reputation right after starting your business is one of the main elements in attracting new and retaining existing customers. Proactive ORM is a marketing strategy that shows you are a renowned name in the restaurant industry. It increases your customers and makes them loyal to your café.
Different Types of ORM Services for Restaurants
Online reputation management for restaurants comes in various forms. Each type is used for managing a specific aspect of online brand reputation. To help you learn more about them, we have further explained them below:
Online Review Management for Restaurants
You are guaranteed to receive reviews after creating an online presence on the internet. Your customers will share their dining experience by posting their thoughts on your website, a review forum, or social media accounts. As the dining experience is subjective and depends largely on the customer’s taste buds, you are bound to receive a collection of negative and positive reviews.
However, your positive reviews should outrank the negative ones. Moreover, if you have several negative reviews, a proper online reputation management strategy can help you respond to each one, ensuring your customer’s last interaction with your restaurant remains positive.
ORM review management further includes:
- Monitoring all the reviews customers posted on the official website, social media accounts, and other online groups
- Promptly responding to all negative and positive reviews by understanding customer concerns and presenting solutions to alleviate issues
- Providing high-quality customer care
- Identifying and removing fake reviews created to damage your restaurant’s reputation
Social Media Reputation Management for Restaurants
Combining your social media marketing services with reputation management involves monitoring all social media platforms for brand mentions. It also works on sharing strategic content from your official restaurant account to engage customers and followers.
If you don’t monitor the social media activity revolving around your brand – it can turn into a serious reputation liability. This is because people constantly use social media to post negative, fake, and unsupportive comments and reviews. Without a check and balance – these can harm your reputation, decreasing brand loyalty.
Reputation Monitoring for Restaurants
Reputation monitoring immediately alerts you when a third party mentions your brand on any online forum, such as social media, Google reviews, TrustPilot, Yelp, and Tripadvisor. Keeping a close eye on all internet forums can become tiring, so it is advisable to use online reputation management services to monitor your online mentions and work on damage control if needed.
Expert ORM services also create localized email and SMS campaigns to promote your restaurant in a specific area. This way, you can market to locals in your region.
SEO Reputation Management for Restaurants
Professional SEO services combined with reputation management includes presenting a brand’s image in the best way possible in the search results. This combination of ORM and SEO ensures that your restaurant ranks at higher in SERPs (search engine result pages). This technique also focuses on keyword placement and performance to confirm positive content is highlighted in the search results.
Content Marketing & Online Reputation Management for Restaurants
Content marketing creates and publishes promotional, relevant, and valuable content on the internet. Its main goal is to attract the target audience and turn them into loyal customers. The content marketing and ORM combination allows you to control the restaurant’s voice and share its story. It takes a personable approach, encouraging customers to connect with your restaurant and try it out.
Email-based Online Reputation Management for Restaurants
Email marketing services based reputation management ensures your restaurant’s emails are viewed as a legitimate authority rather than spam. Internet service providers (ISPs) and e-commerce service providers (ESPs) frequently review email domains to determine the authenticity of your emails. With ORM for emails, you can benefit from the following services:
- Having a proper email address that aligns with your restaurant’s domain
- Evaluating and cleaning your email list to ensure the right audience receives your emails
- Responding promptly to all queries and concerns made by customers via email
How Can ORM Services Benefit Your Restaurant?
Online reputation management for restaurants is crucial for maintaining a steady stream of customers by providing constant customer feedback. Using online reputation management services also brings other benefits, such as the following:
1. Improved Search Engine Visibility
Implementing ORM and SEO strategies together allows search engines to cross-check business information across all internet listings. For instance, the restaurant URL, email address, phone number, address, operating times, and pin location are updated across all platforms. This ensures consistency in your listings and enables search engines to deem you a trustworthy brand.
Locating long-tail keywords in customer reviews is another thing that ORM focuses on to improve your search engine visibility. It pinpoints high-volume keywords in customer comments about your restaurant that can be used in your content to increase SERP ranking.
2. Better Brand Reputation
ORM builds your brand reputation by monitoring and timely responding to customer comments and reviews. It promotes good content while addressing and mitigating reputational risks, which presents a professional and caring image to customers.
3. Increased Customer Engagement
ORM bridges the gap between you and your customers by providing a reliable and easy communication passage. Applying online management strategies to respond to positive customer reviews demonstrates your appreciation for your customers. At the same time, replying to negative customer posts and solving their issues make them realize that you care about their dining experience and are willing to fix common issues.
With an engaging online presence, you can promote special events, introduce new items to the menu, share discount deals, and guarantee a strong engagement on such posts.
4. Enhanced Customer Loyalty
ORM and restaurant customer loyalty go hand in hand, as these techniques ensure you have maintained a positive and authentic brand image and are transparent with your customers. It also makes sure that your audience knows you are strictly committed to providing them with an exceptional dining experience. This leads to a positive relationship between you and your diners.
5. Boost in Revenue
You can increase your restaurant’s total revenue by promoting a good brand image that can be achieved through ORM strategies. When you have a good reputation in the industry, it attracts more customers. Moreover, you can retain them long-term, improving your overall revenue.
ORM Success Stories and Case Studies for Restaurants
Online reputation management has enhanced multiple restaurants’ brand images, driving their sales numbers. Here, we have compiled a few ORM case studies for restaurants to help you understand and learn its efficiency in revamping your eastery’s online presence.
Case Study #1: The Cheesecake Factory
The Cheesecake Factory is, a US-based restaurant company, famous for creating traditional dishes with a modern twist. They are also well-known for having a vast menu that accommodates the taste and preferences of all people. However, this popular restaurant chain received several negative reviews on social media due to long waiting times and a lack of customer service.
The Cheesecake Factory invested in online reputation management services to contain this issue. These services constantly monitored all brand mentions. As a result, negative feedback was addressed on time and user experience was upgraded. After a while, the restaurant observed improvement in its online reputation, decreased negative comments, and increased customer traffic and revenue.
Case Study # 2: Shake Shack
Shake shack is an American fast-food chain based in New York City. It started operations as a hot dog cart but grew rapidly over the years. As a result, Shake Shack has 262 branches in the USA and 140 in 14 other countries. Regardless of the popularity among consumers, even this fast-food chain had to face customer backlash on social media forums.
Customers were posting comments about the low food quality and lousy customer service. Shake Shack hired ORM services that created online reputation strategies to rebuild customer trust. The strategies focused on review management, social media management, and reputation monitoring. Once the ORM techniques were implemented for a specific period, there was an observable positive difference in Shake Shack’s online reputation and revenue.
Case Study # 3: Chipotle Mexican Grill
Chipotle Mexican Grill, also known as Chipotle, is a US-operated fast food chain that offers Mexican food, such as burritos, tacos, salads, quesadillas, and more. It is currently serving 2,966 locations and generating approximately $7.55 billion in revenue. Despite its huge success, the restaurant suffered negative press on social media when customers pointed out food safety issues and poor customer service.
Once Chipotle’s team was introduced to these issues, it hired a team of ORM experts to create a comprehensive strategy that helps them retain its respectable online reputation. After the great efforts of the ORM team, Chipotle noticed an increase in customer traffic and revenue.
Practical ORM Tips as Guidance for Restaurant Owners
Using practical tips for online reputation management for restaurants will help you achieve your goals regarding your restaurant’s internet presence. You can follow the tips below for managing your restaurant’s online reputation.
Monitor Your Online Activity Regularly
Monitoring online reviews is quite similar to examining the quality of service at your on-site restaurant. This initiative helps you find and address positive and negative feedback. To streamline and reduce the time taken in this process, you can use tools like:
- Google Alerts
These tools will help you track your customer’s mentions in real-time, so you can respond to them quickly.
Encourage Positive Reviews
Reviews give you an insight into the quality of your service. You can use this feedback to improve your service and provide a better customer experience. Therefore, you should ask customers to leave a review on your site or social media accounts.
Additionally, you can also use a comment card to obtain customers’ contact information. This way, you can send them follow-up emails to remind them to post a review. However, it’s important to remember that you should never push a customer to do it. Too much push-marketing can have a negative effect too.
Another effective way to encourage positive reviews is to provide special offers, such as a discount. Not only will you get feedback, but it will also ensure that the customer will return to use their discount. The best way to promote easy review submission is by using tools like ReviewPush or ReviewBiz.
Utilize Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool for expanding your restaurant’s reach and gaining new customers. Therefore, you need to wield it correctly to keep up the engagement level. You can create promotional posts and give updates on the restaurant’s activities and promotions to keep your customers interested.
Connect ORM with SEO & Content Marketing
You can also combine SEO, content marketing, and ORM to strengthen your online presence. Doing this will help you monitor, address, and mitigate content that can hurt your ranking on search engine result pages. Moreover, you can use content marketing to enhance positive exposure. All these techniques will result in high customer attraction, ensuring better revenue.
Focus On Customer Service
Customer service is a bridge that connects you with your customers. This is the key to building a great relationship with your diners, which ultimately improves your reputation online. It helps you identify your weaknesses so you can overcome them to elevate the quality of your service. Focusing on this practice will make it easier for your employees to deliver exceptional service. When your customers notice your efforts to keep them happy, it will generate loyalty within them.
Utilize ORM Experts
Conducting online reputation management for restaurants all by yourself can be challenging. You should opt for online reputation management services to build a positive brand image. A team of ORM experts uses specialized techniques to enhance your reputation. As a result, your restaurant will gain credibility, customer trust, good SEO ranking, hard-working employees, and positive feedback.
If you are confused about which ORM service provider you should trust with your restaurant’s online reputation, then use this tip and contact Digital Caterpillar. It is a full-service digital marketing solution that can revive or improve (depending on requirements) your online presence by using review monitoring, social media monitoring, brand mention analysis, and more.
Take Action to Protect Your Restaurant’s Online Reputation
Your restaurant’s online reputation is the secret behind winning new customers, retaining old ones, and increasing profits. Therefore, you need to switch to active mode by creating and following ORM strategies that show measurable results. However, you can leave the hard work to an expert ORM service provider and enjoy the results.
Recap: Why ORM is Essential for Restaurants
Let’s refresh everything you learned about ORM to help you grasp all elements of this digital marketing technique. In this age of the internet and social media, running a business without having to deal with negative comments and reviews is impossible. Unfortunately, not all of them will be real, as some disgruntled employees and customers may be out to destroy your reputation online.
That is where online reputation management comes into the fold. It protects your digital image by replying to each comment. As a result, real concerns are solved timely and proficiently, and the fake ones are weeded out without causing damage to your restaurant.
Moreover, it promotes feedback and reviews from happy customers to attract potential diners. In ORM management, keyword optimization is used to ensure the search engine picks up your strength whenever someone searches for you online. All these efforts boil down to a strong relationship between you and your customers. This translates into long-term customer loyalty and better customer engagement and revenue.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations for Protecting Your Restaurant’s Online Reputation in 2023
Online reputation management is a digital marketing technique that focuses on how current and potential customers perceive your brand on online forums. This strategy aims to create a positive perception of your restaurant business. That is why protecting your restaurant’s reputation online should be one of the main components of your internet marketing campaign.
When creating and applying ORM strategies to uplift your brand image, you must regularly monitor the internet for your brand mentions. Doing this will help you reply to all comments, reviews, and posts on time, making your customers feel cared for. With an active online presence, you can leverage social media to keep up the engagement level of your customers.
For example, you can create a social media calendar around attention-grabbing posts. You can make announcements, promote discounts, introduce specials, launch new dishes or menus, and the idea list goes on. This practice will be the force that leads local customers to enjoy and savor the flavors your chef’s whip up for the table.
Whenever your customers request the bill, be sure to send a feedback card with it. You can also request the customers to leave a review on your website and social media. You will soon notice the result of this practice in the form of balanced-out negative reviews and improved overall online reputation. To encourage the tradition of feedback and online reviews, you can offer special incentives and rewards, making satisfied customers more content with your service.
Following our guidelines on online reputation management for restaurants will help you protect your restaurant’s online reputation and drive sales and revenue. However, planning and executing all ORM techniques while running a successful establishment can become hectic and tiring. As a result, you can miss critical events and risk damaging your restaurant’s image online.
To avoid this crisis, use the expertise of professional online reputation management services, such as Digital Caterpillar. Our ORM specialists will help you build a strong and positive brand image that can withhold negative exposure. So, don’t wait for trouble to knock on your restaurant door. Instead, be proactive and use ORM services to keep your online reputation protected at all times.
Contact Digital Caterpillar and start planning ways to improve your restaurant’s image!