Online review websites have become one of the best lead generation tools for budding restaurants.
If you’re listed as one of the most highly reviewed restaurants in your area, you can expect a flood of foot traffic. It’s therefore crucial for restaurateurs to be actively encouraging customers to review their restaurant on these sites.
Owners should also be active on these websites themselves to make sure that a bad review doesn’t go unanswered and a good review doesn’t go unthanked.
But with so many out there, how do you identify the best review websites for restaurants? Don’t worry, The Digital Restaurant has your back. Today, we’re going to cover the ten best review websites for restaurants.
Why are review sites important?
Before we dive into our top ten list, let’s take a minute to lay out the facts as to why review sites are so important for restaurants.
Here’s what we found:
- Harvard Business School found that a one-star increase in your Yelp rating can lead to a nine percent increase in revenue.
- A report in the Economic Journal found that an increase of half a star on Yelp meant a restaurant was much more likely to be full at peak times.
- In a BrightLocal survey, 60% reported reading a review for a restaurant before they went.
The stats speak for themselves. If you can gather more and better reviews, your restaurant should be busier, and your revenue should increase.
The 10 best review websites for restaurants
Yelp is the king of restaurant reviews in the U.S. More people go to Yelp to post a review than any other website. If you can only focus on one review site in this top 10 list, make it Yelp. If you haven’t already, you can visit the business section of the site to claim your listing. This will also allow you to update your listing and reply to reviews.
There isn’t much we don’t turn to Google for, and finding a good restaurant certainly isn’t one of them. If a user is searching for a particular cuisine in his local area, Google won’t just serve up the location of suitable restaurants, it will also provide a user-based review rating, too. While it isn’t as widely used as Yelp, it can be just as important for encouraging visitors. When you don’t know much about two different restaurants, a 5-star rating can make a huge difference. Restaurant owners can use Google My Business to claim their listing and manage their account.
While it isn’t as widely used in the US as Yelp, plenty of tourists will turn to TripAdvisor to find a suitable restaurant. In fact, TripAdvisor is much more widely used than Yelp in other parts of the world. So while it may not send you locals, TripAdvisor can be a great source of tourist customers. Make sure you sign up to claim your listing and start responding to the reviews your restaurant already has.
OpenTable isn’t just used by customers to book a table at your restaurant, they can also use it to read reviews of your establishment, too. Available in virtually every major US cities, as well as around the globe, owners need to make sure they are taking advantage of OpenTable’s reviews and not just it’s online booking program.
Zomato acquired Urbanspoon in 2015 to cement its place in the US. The India-based company already had a solid presence in other countries around the globe and now it needs to be taken seriously by US restaurant owners, too. Like Yelp and TripAdvisor, the site provides users with much more than just reviews, including images, opening times and menus. Users can even call the restaurant from the site.
6) Eat 24
Eat 24 isn’t just a place to order food. Like OpenTable, users can also leave reviews about restaurants that they have recently ordered from. And like OpenTable, these reviews can impact the number of orders that you receive. If you haven’t signed up with Eat 24 yet, you should sign up today.
7) The Infatuation
The Infatuation doesn’t allow for user-generated reviews, but it is still one of the best and most popular ways for diners to choose their next restaurant. Although the service isn’t available in all cities, the super in-depth reports are particularly useful to consumers. If they operate in your city and you’ve yet to be reviewed, it’s worth reaching out to the team.
Zagat was one of the first companies ever to start collecting restaurant reviews and it remains one of the most popular today. It was bought by Google in 2011 and now the site’s reviews are tightly integrated into the search giant’s offering. This makes it a practical choice for restaurant owners who want to show up in Google to target.
Gayot (named after a French food critic) may not be to everyone’s tastes, nor will it apply to every restaurant. But it is still important for restaurant owners to be aware of this in-depth site. Make sure your restaurant is listed at the very least.
When you think of Facebook, you don’t immediately think of their review system. But it’s there nonetheless. And while it may not be the first stop for diners looking to find a popular restaurant, Facebook can still play an important role in your restaurant’s online reputation. This is especially true, if you are embarking on a social media marketing strategy. Because there’s no point trying to draw people to your social page if one of the things that is waiting for them is a 1-star review rating.
If you need help getting started with review sites, make sure to check out our guide to reputation management. We also provide a bespoke service that will see us manage your online reviews and reputation on your behalf. Get in touch today to find out more.