It’s no secret that social media has a major presence in the world. Whether the effect is felt by the individual person or on an entire business, it’s certainly there. When people are checking on their social media accounts, they’ll likely browse some review sites, such as Yelp or Urban Spoon, too. How can restaurant owners manage all of these Internet aspects?
Responding to Criticism
Starting off on a negative foot is hard but necessary. It’s unlikely that every single person is going to enjoy every single restaurant, and they might write a bad review as a result. People want to see how the restaurant owner is going to respond to these types of reviews. If the owner starts to yell or curse, that’s a bad sign for the restaurant. Owners should explain their side of the story and apologize if they were at fault.
Don’t Write Fake Reviews
On the topic of review websites, restaurant owners should not write fake reviews for the restaurant. Often, people with a savvy eye can tell when a review has been written by the restaurant. It might be overly exclamatory, or it might give away details that only someone who works for the restaurant would know. Additionally, it might be a glowing positive review in a sea of negatives. You can accommodate the requests in the reviews or respond to them, but do not write them yourself.
Updating Social Media Sites
No one wants to go to your restaurant’s Facebook page only to see that you haven’t updated in weeks. People want to know what is fresh and new. Doing so might require your spending some extra time at the end of the day to update the page, or you may need to hire a person who is specifically in charge of the social media end of business promotions. When you update the site, let individuals know if live musicians will be performing, if a trivia night is coming or if your restaurant is going to host a contest soon.
Discounts and Deals
You also want to use social media sites to promote any discounts and deals that the restaurant will be offering. One idea is to have a list of weekly specials down one side of the Facebook page. Again, be sure to keep this information current! List coupons that only individuals who visit the Facebook page are able to use, and be sure to honor these coupons. Maybe you want to start having a special every Thursday night down at the restaurant. Advertise plenty, and include relevant links and information that explain what the deal will include. Don’t clog up newsfeeds, but make sure you get your point across.
It’s a well known fact that the Internet is an excellent way for restaurant owners to connect with the general public and draw more business into their establishments. Incorporating social media sites into the daily regime and using review sites in the proper manner are two of the ways in which this goal can be accomplished.
Sarah is an experienced hospitality professional currently working with The Deckhouse Woolwich in Sydney, Australia.