The days of a customer taking out your paper menu and calling the number on the front to place a take-out order are coming to an end. The new age of online ordering is upon us. This once primitive process has now turned into a booming sector of business that restaurants cannot ignore. But how can restaurants use their online presence to their advantage?

Think about this. Generally customers have already decided that they want take-out before choosing a restaurant. So if you do not have online ordering it is like you are slamming a door in a potential customer’s face. Maybe you have online ordering and are now just looking for a way to update your website.

While you might not think about it this way, your food is your product, similar to the variety of products that you can purchase off of any clothing or big-box store website. However, you will often find one thing on those “store” sites that might be missing from yours — customer reviews. People care about what other people think.

If the customer is always right, then think about letting them share their experience with you and their peers. You can even use online reviews to help customers make great purchasing decisions. On the most part, people read what other people have to say before making a decision on what to order, whether it’s a new shirt or even dinner. Here are a few tips for making reviews part of your website:

Be Authentic

One of the leading factors when it comes to earning a customer’s trust is for them to believe that the reviews on your site are authentic. While no one wants a bad review, it is those kinds of reviews that we learn the most from. The critiques you receive will help you to improve your product, while also allowing you to demonstrate to customers that you are interested in their feedback. It is by being authentic in reviews that a restaurant can both educate their consumers about the food and products they are selling, while also providing an avenue for gaining potential customers.

Make it Easy

Don’t make it too difficult for a customer to leave a review. Stick to the basics — a name, email address and rating system are all you need to get started. If you make it too complicated, customers will lose interest before they finish reviewing your products. You don’t have to have the review form on your own website; you can use third party sites such as Yelp to get more reviews.

There are many plugins available to businesses today that allow for Yelp review to appear on their websites and it does not matter what platform you are using to host your website.

Drag and Drop

The ability to drag and drop the review apps/widgets into your website will really help you to earn credibility amongst your customers. Take a few minutes of your time to find an app that is going to work for you and your restaurant. Most of the apps require little to no coding to be able to use accurately and efficiently.

By using an app that pulls reviews on its own you don’t have to worry about constantly checking for new reviews and constantly performing updates to your website. All you have to do for the app is to install it and forget about it. This definitely does not mean that you should stop reading the reviews about your restaurant; you should definitely be reading the reviews so you know where you can improve.

Do it Yourself

Maybe you don’t want to pull the reviews straight from Yelp or Google. If this is the case you can always add your own customer reviews into your product pages yourself by dragging text and image elements together in the long description section. You can even offer other dishes that someone might like. One major benefit for adding the customer reviews to your website is that you can get creative — add pictures of the food, because, after all, pictures sell.

In the digital age, reviews are important and social media has definitely increased the importance of restaurant reviews. Potential customers want to know what their peers think of your food before they try something new at your restaurant or event try your food in general. Take the time to showcase a few of the positive reviews on your homepage and make it easy for customers to find more reviews.

Your customers are the easiest and most inexpensive way to spread the word about your amazing food, build trust and increase sales. This means that you should not be hesitant about including on your website the voices of the people who know your food best — your loyal customers.