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Updated October 3, 2023
Author Brad Whealan

Online reviews and how they are handled can determine diners’ decisions and the success of a restaurant.

Reviews are a valuable way to showcase feedback to potential customers with in-depth information from others, for relatively low cost and little effort.

This feedback can determine whether a potential customer visits your restaurant, what they order and how much they spend.

Google reviews help influence customer decisions more than any other review platform, determining your overall footfall and revenue.

Friends in the cafe

Why Do Customers Use Google Reviews?

Websites such as AGFG and Tripadvisor share customer reviews and feedback, but neither of them do it better than Google.

Google is one of the first places new customers go to view others feedback and sway their decision on the restaurant. Studies suggest diners are more likely to look for external information sources when they have not experienced it for themselves.

The three main reasons why customers read reviews are:

1 - Risk Reduction 

Diners use reviews as risk relievers, either by reducing the likelihood the purchase will lead to disappointment, or at the very least, to reduce the severity of a potential disappointment.

2 - Search Time Reduction

Diners can quickly judge a restaurant based on its star rating from the first few reviews that show up. It takes less than 5 seconds to find this information.

3. Group Influence

Diners rely on multiple opinions rather than one person’s recommendation. A review platform can create, or reinforce the communal spirit of a customer and therefore sway their decision-making process one way or ano

crazy people eating food, crazy food review

How Do Positive Reviews Affect a Restaurant?

Positive online reviews are more important to the success of restaurants than any other type of business, with consumers reading more reviews of restaurants than any other industry. 

Statistical Impacts of Positive Google Reviews for Restaurants:

  • For every star received on an online directory, a 5%–9% increase in revenue can be expected.
  • Diners are likely to spend 31% more in a place with excellent reviews (4-5 stars).
  • Diners are 3.9 times more likely to choose a restaurant with the highest 
  • positive review displayed on Google for each cuisine. 

What Happens When a Restaurant Receives a Negative Online Review?

Restaurants are more impacted by negative reviews than any other industry. The good news is that both consumers and Google are typically on the lookout for fake or irrational reviews. However, when consumers find a credible online review, it could seriously impact their decision.

Statistical Impacts of Negative Google Reviews for Restaurants:

  • 22% of diners will not dine at a restaurant after reading just one negative review.
  • After three negative reviews, that number jumps to 59%.
  • On average a single negative review will cost you 30 customers.
  • 86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has multiple negative reviews on Google.
Mobile phones in friends hand

There are a few easy ways restaurant marketers can take advantage of Google reviews and mitigate any negative reviews.

These included:

Claiming Your Business on Google 

Claim your business on Google to then be able to respond to reviews and update your business information. 

Monitoring What People Say

keep an eye out for every review posted and always respond to reviews whether they are positive, or negative. Show that your business takes people’s opinions seriously and is willing to make changes should you receive any bad reviews. Watching for trends in reviews offers insight into problems, as well as what your customers love.

Encourage All Customers to Leave Reviews:

Place signs, table toppers, or stickers in your restaurant to prompt customers to leave reviews on Google. The more reviews you have, the more information you can work with to make your business successful. If your restaurant is meeting and exceeding customer expectations, the additional positive reviews will continue to boost your brand.

Statistical Data - Google Reviews: 

  • 98% of diners found that Google Ratings accurately reflect the actual experience.
  • 61% of consumers have read online reviews about restaurants, this is more than any other business.
  • 53% of 18-34-year-olds report that online reviews factor into their dining decisions every time they go out.
  • 34% of all diners choose a restaurant based on the information found through Google reviews.
Friends watching social media in a smart phone.

Restaurant reviews are not flawless and may present challenges to diners and restaurateurs alike. But they have nevertheless contributed to reshaping the restaurant industry and they will certainly continue to have a profound impact on it in the coming years.

Thanks to a more transparent competitive environment and an emulation effect, the quality of food and service offered by most restaurants has increased. 

Your restaurant should always be active in replying to reviews and act upon customer demands and expectations. The goal is to get as many positive reviews as possible onto Google, which reflect your restaurant’s food, venue, staff and operation.

You should be taking advantage of reviews and utilise them in your sales and marketing. Make your customers happy and they are likely to spread the word on your behalf.

Did You Know?

WOWAPPS Offers 'Smart Reviews?' Smart Reviews will not only ask for feedback after a customer orders/dines; but will also try to filter the bad reviews so they never end up on your review sites.


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