How to Deal with Bad Restaurant Reviews Effectively

How to Deal with Bad Restaurant Reviews Effectively

Nowadays it seems it’s all about reviews. That’s why 80% of diners do a search for reviews before deciding where to eat. Sites like Google, Yelp and Foursquare offer detailed business information including reviews. You may also receive a bad review on your own Facebook page. That can really sting!

You work so hard to do everything right in your restaurant, but remember no one is perfect and everyone makes a mistake sometimes. It can feel like a personal attack when you receive a bad review, but it’s important to put it in perspective.

All the same, you want to deal with bad reviews and this guide will help you deal effectively with bad restaurant reviews.

Read More: Choosing a Restaurant Business Structure

How to Avoid Bad Reviews

The best way to deal with a bad review is to never let it happen to begin with. While you can’t account for every little thing, or an overly demanding customer’s perception, you can get as much right as humanly possible.

If you create an effective feedback process for your customers who are unsatisfied with service, you can redirect the situation towards a positive outcome while they are there.

Ask them to review the food, service, and ambiance before they leave the restaurant. If a guest is upset, apologize and try offering them a complimentary dessert, or better yet, an opportunity to come in again with the promise of improved service.

Offering a complimentary service shows the upset guest that you really care about how they feel. If you show genuine concern they may become understanding of the situation. If you impress them with your quick thinking they could be compelled to leave a positive review.

Find Out the Cause of Their Complaint

When someone is bashing your restaurant business on social media or review sites, your first instinct might be a need to fight back. Or to delete the negative review if you can. However, to avoid similar reviews in the future you need to find out exactly what happened.

What process in your restaurant broke down? What could you change to avoid this customer’s poor service? Was it a particular server or manager that caused the problem? Was it the result of a policy that might need another look?

Don’t delete or react defensively to a negative review. Instead, offer to help the disgruntled guest and get to the root of their concern.

Read More: Choosing a Restaurant Business Structure

Resolve Guest Complaints With Understanding

As mentioned earlier, nothing works better than excellent customer service. Great service continues when you see a negative review online.

If they express a specific concern or state in their comment how they felt they should have been treated, try to resolve their problem directly. If the comment is too vague to address specifics, ask if there is a way to improve their experience in the future.

If someone is adamant on ruining your image online they won’t have this conversation with you. If they are not engaging in your offers for resolution, they’ll damage the credibility of their review. Others will see this and attribute the negative review to the commenter’s failings, and not to your restaurant.

Track Comments and Mentions Online

It can be difficult to know everywhere your restaurant is being mentioned. But you can be proactive. Claim your business on the major listings so that you are in control.

Being part of the discussion is important. Both positive and negative comments can be responded to. And in some cases when they are grossly inaccurate you can petition to have them removed.

Read More: Choosing a Restaurant Business Structure

Remember it’s Just One

While it’s a noble goal to want to please everyone, remember to put it into context. One negative review won’t drop your star rating significantly unless there are very few reviews.

If your restaurant is dealing with bad reviews in general, you need to address the root causes in order to succeed. But one bad review out of 15 will be viewed with some skepticism. Especially if you’re seen to have made a good faith effort to help.


To deal with bad restaurant reviews effectively you need to engage with upset customers while they are in the restaurant. Try to resolve their issues before they turn to posting online. When you encounter a bad review online don’t let it hurt you enough to act irrationally. Try to engage and relate to the customer’s issues. Show the online community that you care and seek a resolution. Track your online mentions so you know what people are saying about you. And remember, one bad review won’t matter so much when weighed against more positive reviews.

This guide to dealing with bad restaurant reviews online is part of our restaurant resources library, a free resource provided by Rezku. Rezku is a hospitality management technology development company based in California. We provide restaurants and bars with easy to use, affordable and reliable systems to run operations more efficiently and profitably. To learn more about Rezku visit our homepage.

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