Positive reviews have never been more important for restaurants as owners recognize that leveraging them can drive sales and popularity. On the other hand, negative reviews have the potential to drive customers away.

In the wake of COVID-19, consumers and restaurants alike are doing everything they can to operate with safety being top of mind. The information that online reviews provide and the customer experience they portray are closely and regularly analyzed by consumers. According to Podium, the majority of consumers have read one review in the last week.

According to Podium:

  • 23% have read an online review in the last day.
  • 46% have read an online review in the last 3 days.
  • 65% have read an online review in the last week.
  • 85% have read an online review in the last month.
  • 94% have read an online review in the last year.

COVID-19 has inadvertently created opportunities for restaurants to win new customers online, but it has also created new customer expectations. An advantage can be gained over competition if restaurant reviews reflect the needs and desires of customers. However, consumers will look elsewhere if the desired experiences are not reflected. Half of consumers are willing to travel farther and pay more just to patronize a business with a better reputation (Podium).

COVID-19 has had an immense impact on the restaurant industry, but quality, price and customer service still reign supreme. What has changed is that consumers are actively seeking to validate businesses’ safety practices with 50% of consumers saying they read reviews for this very reason.

The restaurant industry as a whole is deeply affected by reputation. As a result, it is imperative that local businesses work to improve their online reputation as the market becomes increasingly competitive. The opinions of consumers matter and carry significant weight when it comes to future consumers deciding where to eat. The better the reviews the better the position of your restaurant. Click this link to watch our webinar on the power of online reviews!