Author | Chatmeter TeamDate Posted | March 30, 2023

Four customer-centric reputation recovery strategies every restaurant should know

Four customer-centric reputation recovery strategies every restaurant should know

Customer relationships define the food service industry. For restaurants, positive reputations have been bolstered or fizzled out over how well a brand takes care of regulars, welcomes first-time customers, and responds to disappointed diners. And while the in-store experience is critical, the online and digital impressions made can influence people before ever stepping foot inside the restaurant.

It takes a holistic approach to customer experience (CX) and service to win that top-tier reputation. And to lose it? Restaurant brands don’t just miss a mark or two — they overlook the importance and execution of the omnichannel, end-to-end dining experience. Quick Tip: Great CX goes far beyond what happens at the restaurant location itself!

Thankfully, it’s simple to manage, maintain, and boost the online reputation of your restaurant brand, from regional chains to international franchises. Whether launching your restaurant, up-leveling your reputation program, or reacting to a crisis or potentially damaging issue, these three customer-centric reputation management, maintenance, and recovery strategies can rapidly reinforce and regain trust.

Shout out your brand values

Consumers deeply treasure transparency and people-first brand values. It’s even more impactful when a brand’s values reflect those of the customer. Around 71% of consumers prefer organizations well-aligned with their values, and 60% of people in the U.S. want their preferred brands to take a stand on major cultural issues.

Whether addressing topics like local matters and health crises to global sustainability and climate change, restaurant groups that aim to reflect customer values will succeed at winning lasting loyalty.

While posting mission statements on your website, elevating recycling programs at your locations, or integrating enterprise-wide diversity and inclusion programs are fantastic, don’t overlook one place with exposure to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of eyes — your Google Business Profile listing.

Here, you can add everything from photos showing your values-driven team at work and updates about progress for specific initiatives. There is also the often overlooked Google Business attributes section where you can add specific details about what makes your business stand out from the rest, including:

  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Kid-Friendly
  • LGBTQ+ Friendly
  • Women-Owned Business
  • Assistive Hearing Available

Build up your online brand visibility

A reputation is only as effective as its visibility. People can’t build a love for your restaurant brand if they can’t find it in the first place. In an increasingly digital world, organizations of any size must rely on omnichannel opportunities like online search, social media, and review directories like OpenTable and Yelp to make purchasing decisions.

While essential in every industry, digital gateways are vital for people searching for a friendly and trustworthy place to eat. Whether looking for a fast and healthy lunch option, a fancy date night out, or a kid-friendly birthday bash, diners want to know as much they can about a restaurant before taking a bite.

Download Reputation Management Guide for Restaurants


That’s why it’s unsurprising that food-related “near-me” searches account for tens of millions of monthly online searches. You must embrace digital engagement and CX to stand out and get people’s eyes on your listings.

By maintaining online listings with accurate, up-to-date, and compelling information on Google, Apple Maps, and Bing, improving and optimizing your local SEO strategies, and building an active social media presence, restaurants can significantly improve search engine results page (SERP) rankings and gain more stunning 5-star reviews.

Respond to all reviews and boost online engagement

Reviews matter. In fact, 88% of people rely on reviews before deciding where to buy. Responding to every online review is also integral to boosting an online reputation and increasing customer loyalty. Businesses that respond to reviews are seen as nearly two times more trustworthy than businesses that don’t. Additionally, around 33% of people who post a negative review online will change it to a neutral or positive one.

Nobody likes being ignored, online or off. To actively influence online reputation, restaurants must see review responses as one side of an ongoing conversation. If people perceive a brand to be authentic and conversational, they’ll be more inclined to love and recommend your restaurant to others.

We encourage restaurants to facilitate an ongoing feedback loop that engages with customers, proactively requests online feedback, works to resolve pain points with empathy, and improves future dining experiences around customer feedback, preferences, and behavior.

For the best results, restaurants should follow these review response practices:

  • Be human in your responses. Don’t be a robot
  • Respond to negative reviews within 48 hours
  • All reviews should get a response within seven days
  • Monitor and analyze online reviews to identify patterns
  • Reply and engage with empathy and understanding

For more on responding to online reviews, read our blog: Write the Perfect Response to a Bad Review for Retention and Great CX

Why customer-focused reputation strategies matter for restaurant brands

A positive online reputation strategy requires trust, connection, engagement, and presence. Your restaurant can rapidly build valuable, lifelong customer relationships by listening to, understanding, and aligning with customers’ needs and values.

With a reputation and review response strategy for restaurants that proactively encourages trust, fosters loyalty, and cultivates lasting relationships, any restaurant brand — big or small — can craft an online presence that attracts terrific new customers, retains the inevitable disgruntled ones, and keeps regulars coming back for life — and telling their friends.

See how Chatmeter’s review and reputation solutions can support your team in creating an incredible online reputation and visible presence, just like we have for thousands of national and international restaurant locations, including A&W, Jason’s Deli, and Kona Grill. Try the Interactive Reputation Management Demo now, and take it for a test drive!

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