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What If My Restaurant Has Bad Yelp Reviews?

By: David Goldin

 

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Like any small business, restaurants are not immune to a bad Yelp review here and there. In fact, when it comes to Yelp, restaurants are the most prone to either side of the spectrum. Restaurants have to deal with complains about service, wait time, reservation problems, cost, food and drink quality…the list goes on and on. Even if just one of these things doesn’t meet the customer’s expectations, you may in for a bad review while your reputation takes a hit.

 
Unfair? Possibly. The way it is? Absolutely.
 
As a restaurant owner, you must do your due diligence in order to weather the storm when negative Yelp reviews affect your business. A negative review can have lasting implications on your restaurant, whether it’s in regards to your reputation or your ability to secure a restaurant loan. But if you see a negative review or two, don’t freak out; the world isn’t going to end and there are things you can do to alleviate the situation.
 
 
Here are some tips when it comes to combating negative Yelp reviews:
 
Don’t go crazy: Sure, some reviews may totally be off-base and will make you want to pull your hair out. But when you come across a negative one, take a deep breath, consider all the angles and think about it from the customer’s point of view. The last thing you want to do as a business owner is overreact to what a single individual said about your service or food.
 
Civility is key: If you find yourself responding to some negative reviews, be as civil and mature as you can. If you take out the matchbox and start a fire, it will only make matters far worse. For instance, let’s say a customer complains that their order was wrong and subsequently the wrong order was then reflected on the bill. What you could do is respond to the customer’s complaint, alert them that the appropriate measures have been taken and that the issue will never happen again. Also, throwing in a free entrée or drink wouldn’t hurt, either!
 
Correct the complaint: Not all Yelp reviews are steeped in unjustified and grumbling complaints. In a lot of cases, a negative review will actually contain fair and valid criticism which may lead to a rude awakening for you as a restaurant owner. When you feel that a complaint is warranted, you should fix the problem immediately without any hesitation. For example, let’s say a customer complained about an undercooked dish or had a hair on their plate. Without Yelp, these issues may have never been brought to your attention in the first place and allows you to make your restaurant better overall.
 
Remember: A bad Yelp review is not the end of the world. Just do your best to manage the review and take the needed steps to improve your restaurant.
 
Published: April 17, 2015
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David Goldin

David Goldin is the President & CEO of AmeriMerchant, a leading provider of working capital solutions for businesses including merchant cash advances and business loans.  Founded in 2002, AmeriMerchant has over 120 employees and is headquartered in New York City. David's previous experience includes co-founding an Internet development company and building it from four to fifty people that was eventually sold to a multi-billion dollar publicly traded telecommunications company.  David is also a founding member and President of the North American Merchant Advance Association (NAMAA), a 501c trade association for the merchant cash advance industry.

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