My husband and his brother own and operate an independent (non-chain) full-service restaurant in a small town with some considerable tourist traffic. Several years ago I nudged them into the 21st century by creating a Facebook page and encouraging them to revamp our stale homemade website. Then we began monitoring our ratings on sites like Urbanspoon, Yelp, and Tripadvisor.
Not all reviews are good, and we’re fine with that because we recognize that there is ALWAYS room for improvement. Sometimes though people have been downright mean. We got a review once by a woman who had complained about everything then walked out without paying. Her review was so scathing that if our servers hadn’t actually remembered her, we would’ve sworn she was reviewing the wrong restaurant!
So my husband and I were talking this morning about how social media and the internet have altered the restaurant marketing landscape and how we are in direct competition with national chains. I got to thinking about the average restaurant guest and how much weight is placed on the reviews posted on the aforementioned sites and others like them.