Embracing Criticism & Negative Reviews
Bonji Foods Aficionado Smart Brief: Volume 32
Embracing Criticism or Negative Reviews
Hi all, welcome back to the Bonji Food Aficionado Smart Brief! We hope the weekend treated you well and you are ready for a new week full of new opportunities! We may not enjoy checking our restaurants' online reviews or dealing with negative feedback, but it is something that all restaurant owners must learn to embrace. The restaurant industry truly thrives on word of mouth, giving a ton of weight to reviews left on your page. In general, you should always be encouraging customers to leave reviews, both good and bad. With the internet playing a massive role in the review area, owners need to be aware that not every customer is going to leave a happy, nice review. Yet, it can be difficult to handle the negative ones; thus, Bonji is here with some tips to help you embrace any and all of your restaurant reviews.
Top Tips For Managing Negative Feedback 1. Take a Deep Breathe & Accept The Criticism For What it is When a negative review pops up on your Google or Yelp page, take a moment to breathe. Although you don't want to let the criticism sit there for too long with no response, wait a few minutes before even beginning to respond. Replying to negative comments when you're angry is probably the worst thing you can do in this situation, and generally, nobody is too happy about a negative review. Now, you need to accept the criticism for what it is, even if you feel the customer may be incorrect or exaggerating. Of course, if it's a major situation at hand, there are other ways to go about responding, but for now, we'll focus on the lighter, more common negative feedback. Take this as an opportunity to address a potential weakness or simply as a chance to grow. Nobody is perfect, therefore, you should try to understand that your restaurant can grow each and every day alongside yourself. Truthfully, we are always looking for areas to improve, so when criticism finds its way in, we take it seriously and try to address the weak points. When you can learn from criticism instead of getting angry, far more benefits will flow into your life both in business and personally.
2. Always Thank Them & Sympathize We know, some customers can be rude at times, especially when talking from behind a computer screen. However, when dealing with a negative review, especially one that is publicly posted on the internet, you can never… NEVER respond in a rude manner. Try your best to understand where they may be coming from, even if it's just the fact that they are having a bad day. Many customers who leave negative reviews want to see you apologize, not just say “thanks for coming." As we mentioned before, show them that you are willing to grow from what they've mentioned and thank them genuinely for offering their opinion. It may get a bit annoying with certain people, but apologizing humanizes your restaurant. All in all, nobody wants to go to a restaurant that refuses to accept its mistakes. 3. Take Responsibility / Offer To Make Things Right Taking responsibility flows right along with the other points, as you should always own up to whatever may have gone wrong. After all, mistakes are inevitable in any industry, but specifically in something so personal to the food and restaurant business. Show them that you are willing to go the extra mile to fix the error. Whether this is re-training staff, cleaning dishes better, or offering to talk further privately, you should always be trying to move forward in a positive manner. If possible, try to explain where things may have strayed from your normal habits, but oftentimes, you may want to save that for a more private situation. Aim for the direction of inviting them back, even if they deny the invitation, at least you took responsibility and wanted to show that you can be better.