Yelp has become such a huge name in the technology and restaurant industries, that it makes a lot of sense for restaurant owners to pay attention to reviews that appear on the site for their food and business. But restaurant owners make a mistake if they think that Yelp is all that’s out there. In reality, there are a lot of other food review sites on the web, and other places that put up reviews or source reviews from consumers that may be relevant to your restaurant.
Paying attention to Yelp is important, but it’s not the only place on the internet where reviews live, and it’s not the only review site you should care about. The more time you spend learning from, responding to, and accesing reviews that exist beyond Yelp, the better. Here are four food review sites you should be paying attention to as a restaurant owner.
Zomato takes a two pronged approach to reviewing restaurants, both employing professional reviewers to visit highly rated restaurants regularly and allowing users to rate and review restaurants on their own like Yelp does. Zomato used to be called “Urbanspoon” up until a recent aquisition, and it still provides many of the services that some restaurant owners might be familiar with from Urbanspoon’s old app. With the motto “never have a bad meal,” Zomato is an ambitious platform with a lot of offerings, but as a restaurant owner you should definitely be paying attention to their user review section.
With Zomato’s rating system, users can either rate a restaurant “positive” or “negative” to clarify their experience there, or give a numeric rating. To access Zomato’s reviews, visit their site and search for your restaurant in your appropriate area. Then, see what people have to say about you and whether they consider their visit to your eatery to be “positive” or not.
TripAdvisor started as a vacation destination and activities recommendation site, but now it incorporates reviews and ratings for just about everything you could think of. From hotels to tours, users go to TripAdvisor as a one stop shop to find good things to do while on vacation. And with a large number of reviews for restaurants, TripAdvisor is an important place for restaurant owners to pay attention to.
When you type in your city name in TripAdvisor’s restaurant rating section, you will find all of the eateries in your city ranked by users, with a mix of all cuisines and different dining styles. TripAdvisor lets users make numeric ratings of their dining experience and cuisine along four different guidelines: food, service, value, and atmosphere. Ratings are based on the numeric average of your restaurant, but are also influenced by the total number of reviews. Next to Yelp this may be the most important place for you to watch, as tourists and visitors to your city can be a huge potential market for customers and TripAdvisor is a place lots of travelers look to often.
3. Google+ Reviews
When potential customers search for your restaurant on Google, they will get results for Yelp, your website, and other places you have been reviewed and critiqued. But they will also see results displayed for Google+ Reviews, right in their search results in the top right hand corner of the results return page. Google allows users of their Google+ platform to rate and review businesses through Google+ Reviews, and the user review congregate is incredibly important due to its visibility in Google search results
Google+ lets users rate your business on a 1-5 star ranking, as well as make comments about their experience there. As a restaurant owner, you’d be smart to watch these reviews closely: while not as many people rely on or read Google’s review sections as they do Yelp, their numeric rating is probably just as visible as Yelp’s or more so due to the fact that a numeric review is returned every time someone searches for your business’s name. Keeping that in mind, it’s incredibly important to ask your customers to give you positive reviews on Google Plus, especially if they are regulars who love to show support and have already reviewed you on Yelp or elsewhere.
4. Local Newspapers
While lots of people talk about how print journalism is dead, the truth is that local food critics and columnists still have a lot of sway in some markets, and are especially relevant in reviewing restaurants. Most newspapers will post all of their food reviews online as well as publish them in print, so consider browsing your local paper’s reviews frequently to see if anyone has anything to say about your establishment. Newspapers are about as far from Yelp as you can get, but they illustrate an important point: when it comes to food reviews, there’s a lot more out there than just Yelp, and as a restaurant owner you should be paying attention to everything you can.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
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