Every restaurant owner knows that good word of mouth is the best advertising money can't buy. A 2022 survey by Yelp found that 77% of consumers say they’re reading more online reviews now than they ever have before — which is why operators today are prioritizing restaurant review management.
Restaurant reviews were once the domain of newspapers and magazines, with critics handing down their judgment to readers. But with the rise of the internet and social media, the review process has become much more democratic. Today, food bloggers, Instagrammers, and reviewers on sites such as Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor — as well as on food delivery apps — all offer their opinions on the best restaurants, and their words are gobbled up by people looking for a great place to eat.
If you’re wondering how to get people to review your business, or how to ask for a five-star review, here are some strategies to get started.
The best ways to get reviews: 6 tips for restaurants
1. Draw on your customer base
One of the best ways to get reviews is by tapping your existing customers. Odds are, your repeat customers are already singing your praises to friends and family looking for dining recommendations. Encourage your loyal regulars and even first-timers to share their good reviews with a wider audience on restaurant search sites and apps. At the end of a meal, your waitstaff can even encourage happy customers to post reviews recapping their dining experience.
Another way to get reviews is to create a restaurant loyalty program. As part of the rewards program, members who leave a review on Yelp can receive a free dessert or discounted meal the next time they come in.
DoorDash partners can also view their delivery customer reviews in the Merchant Portal. There, you can act on customer feedback and mitigate any issues by quickly responding to customers.
2. Call for reviews on your social channels
Simply asking your social media followers to review your business can go a long way. On Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media channels, your followers are likely already fans of your restaurant — so don't hesitate to tap them for reviews.
When people tag your account raving about a delicious meal or positive service, comment and encourage them to leave a review. Schedule regular posts that ask people to leave reviews on major websites as well, and include up-to-date links to your restaurant's Google My Business and Yelp pages. Make it as easy as possible for customers to tell the world how terrific your restaurant is.
3. Stay engaged online
Maintaining a strong online presence is an important part of running a successful restaurant, and you can leverage your digital channels to get more reviews. Your website should include links or badges for all of your review site profile pages, with a button that encourages visitors to leave a review. Add positive testimonials to your website or social channels to highlight past diners' five-star experiences and encourage others to leave reviews.
You should also dedicate time to monitoring your review pages and sending responses. (Be sure to claim your business pages as the owner!) The effort you put into thanking someone for their positive review — or gracefully responding to constructive criticism — shows people that you care about their experience. It also humanizes your restaurant by introducing potential diners to the people behind your brand.
Another one of the best ways to get reviews is to send an email or text after someone visits your restaurant. A follow-up message asking diners about their recent visit and requesting a review can be very effective.
4. End each meal with a review request
Looking for more creative ways to get people to review your business? Include a small note at the bottom of each bill thanking customers for their patronage and asking them to leave feedback on your restaurant's page on major review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor. This can work especially well if you have digital or email receipt capabilities, since you can include direct links to the websites. It doesn't have to be a hard sell, but it's another avenue to help garner more reviews. You can have fun with the message, too — for example, if you’re a bagel shop, you might encourage customers to “spread the love” and express your gratitude with a playful “thanks a lox!”
5. Collaborate with social media influencers
Another type of restaurant review management is working with social media influencers. These popular content creators post local food reviews on TikTok and Instagram to showcase a restaurant’s atmosphere and meals. They show their loyal audience the best places to eat, what to order, and when to go — and have the potential to send your restaurant’s bookings through the roof with one 30-second review.
Restaurateurs can unlock business benefits by partnering with well-known foodies in their area or from out of town. Invite relevant influencers to enjoy a complimentary meal of their choosing, and encourage them to share it with their followers. If someone sees their favorite food influencer enjoying a date night at your restaurant, they may be next to book a table.
6. Prioritize customer experience
To earn five-star restaurant reviews, you need to give people something to get excited about. Experiences are everything — and when diners are treated to exceptional food, excellent service, and a memorable time, they’ll be more inspired to tell everyone they know about it.
Customer experience includes everything from designing an informative website to making it easy for diners to make reservations, to high-quality food and presentation of each dish, and of course the service itself. Learn tips to improve the guest experience for dine-in and delivery customers.
Fuel business growth with five-star restaurant review management
Still wondering how to get more restaurant reviews to help your business make customer-driven decisions? Try DoorDash and get access to valuable customer insights and feedback on every takeout order.