How to Write An Accurate Review

Recently, GrowIt has been focusing their attention on boosting revenue for local restaurants in the form of mobile apps. The apps are typically used for promotions, branding, and convenience for consumers. This helps restaurants to boost their credibility and adds a competitive edge to their services.

What can tarnish a reputation for any business? A bad review. It’s astonishing just how quick some people are to write to the public about a negative experience instead of a positive one.

Harvard University found that just a one star increase on an online review can boost revenue up to 9%.

The trouble with reading a bad review is the question of source. How does the average consumer know that a terrible review is not sabotage from a rival restaurant? How does one tell the difference between a genuinely bad experience or someone who left a review because they were having a bad day and took it out on a server or a chef? Or even simply was not willing to give the restaurant a second chance for a minor offense?

Consider also the average patron that does not go out to eat very often or hardly at all. Generally restaurants are trained in an overall consistency to provide a routine experience (Greeting, Menus, Beverages, Food Order, Food Delivery, Check-up, Bill, Farewell). If you are not familiar with this process and have nothing to compare it to, leaving a review – good or bad – is not likely to assist other restaurant-goers in making an informed decision.

A recent survey said that up to 90% of Americans enjoy going to restaurants versus grocery shopping. They also found that over half of participants would rather spend money on a dining experience, rather than buying an item. Yet because expectations can vary so much, it’s hard to say how accurately a review can truly portray a restaurant, especially after only one bad experience. 

Here are some guidelines and suggestions to use when conducting a review but also a reason to take every previous negative rating with a grain of salt. We see and help market many different eating establishments, so we stumble across some that could easily be considered unfair.

One Star Review:

Very rarely should this ever be necessary – if it is, you can rest assured that either this was an extremely rare occurrence, and if it’s not, that the restaurant likely will not be in business much longer if one-stars become the norm. We recommend giving more than one try before leaving such a bold statement that is likely to taint the overall reputation and bring down the star average. This review should only be left if the food and service plummeted far below your expectations and previous experiences more than once.

Two Star Review:

Your experiences would still have to be fairly terrible. This would be the case if your server ignored you most of the evening and your meal was not good. Perhaps you ordered one thing, got something different, and then it was never fixed. At this time, before leaving a review ask to speak to a manager, especially if this is not your first time. Often they will compensate you or do something to improve your experience.

Three Star Review:

Unlike many think, this rating should not reflect an average experience – because chances are, if it was “average”, or at least met expectations, everything was still done correctly, it just wasn’t the greatest meal you’ve had in your life. Many things go into play when considering leaving a three-star. Was your server responsive to your needs? Did they check on you enough? Was your order correct? If something went wrong, did your server make any suggestions or efforts to fix it? So much more than the food comes into play, but if you find that several components to your experience were left out, feel free to give it a three star after more than one visit.

Four Star Review:

A four star review should reflect a “good.” The food and service was good, and you would definitely eat there again, but it didn’t totally blow you out of the water. There may have been an error or two, but they were fixed. This means that typical standards were met, with maybe a couple things that could have been better.

Five Star Review:

Your experience was fantastic and there was not really anything to complain about. You would highly recommend the restaurant to your friends and superiors.

Remember: All too often someone will be quick to hop on Yelp or social media to complain, and rarely to praise. If you are someone who constantly critiques restaurants online, make sure you’re rewarding the ones that meet your standards, and not exclusively cutting down the ones that don’t.

The most important thing to remember when leaving a review is to understand that you do not see much of what goes on behind the scenes. Restaurant employees have one of the most difficult and high-stress jobs (pleasing everybody in a timely manner), and they have bad days too! Be gracious and fair; almost never is poor service done intentionally but is usually due to lack of proper training or resources.