Supercharge Your Operation with Online Reviews

Are you eagerly anticipating waking up tomorrow and logging into Yelp to discover the flood of fantastic reviews about your bar or restaurant? If you're anything like me, just the thought of that can make you cringe. Even for those of us who see online review sites as opportunities for growth, it can be challenging to stomach the negative feedback that comes our way. However, we cannot deny the significance of platforms like Yelp and Google in how potential guests find us and decide whether to give us a shot. Having a well-defined strategy in place to harness the power of online reviews could be the key difference between a packed house or empty seats.

It's evident that prospective guests are turning to online platforms like Yelp and Google to search for their next memorable experience. Whether they're seeking a delightful Italian spot or exploring a new town, they rely on these platforms to locate us, scan reviews, and make their decisions based on our ranking and feedback.

To ensure we make the most of this opportunity, here are four simple yet powerful steps we can take:


After claiming our business on these sites, it's crucial to verify that the information is accurate and truly represents our brand. Double-check location details and ensure that operating hours are up-to-date. Enhance your page with descriptive photos, highlight special offerings, and incorporate branding elements to create a compelling representation. It's essential to connect with those who are actively searching for their next remarkable experience. Additionally, test all clickable links to guarantee that websites, menus, and ordering platforms are functioning flawlessly, eliminating any chance of losing business due to technical errors.

Pro tip: High-quality photos can work wonders in painting a vivid picture of the experience you offer. Vibrant and colorful images of food, drinks, and guests enjoying themselves can leave a lasting impression.


It's all too tempting to bury our heads in the sand and ignore negative reviews rather than facing them head-on. Many of us have even sworn off these sites altogether, avoiding the arduous task of processing feedback. However, if we truly want to benefit from the good, the bad, and the ugly, engaging with our audience is a must.

To accomplish this, we must actively monitor our reviews and respond to as many as possible, especially those that are less favorable. While it's true that some guests may seem overly critical or nitpicky, the majority of reviewers have valid reasons for their feedback, which warrants our attention. By identifying patterns over time, we can utilize this feedback to significantly enhance our operations, improve food quality, and elevate the overall guest experience. This is an opportunity we should never overlook. Engaging and responding to reviews presents us with the chance to transform a dissatisfied guest into a devoted fan or to further strengthen our relationship with those who already sing our praises.


Once we gather this valuable information, it's time to take action. By sharing reviews and feedback with our teams, we can not only celebrate a job well done but also find solutions to any recurring issues. Unfortunately, this crucial step is often overlooked. If we fail to put feedback to good use, we miss out on a significant opportunity to improve our operations, product, and overall guest experience. Therefore, it's essential to regularly share reviews and similar evaluations with the entire team.


While I'm not an advocate for incentivizing five-star Yelp reviews through freebies, I strongly believe in amplifying exceptional experiences. By training our teams to request guests to share their positive experiences on review sites, we effectively expose these experiences to hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers who are deciding whether we are the right choice for their next meal.

I believe in making it mandatory for my teams to ask each and every guest to kindly share their positive reviews on platforms like Yelp or Google. Moreover, if a guest's experience falls short of their expectations, we encourage them to directly share their concerns with us. This approach ensures that every guest has an opportunity to voice their thoughts while simultaneously driving positive reviews to the platforms where they can have the most impact.

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In addition, consider showcasing great reviews on your website, social media channels, and in your weekly newsletters and promotions. There's never a wrong time to let others know about the outstanding job you and your team are doing!


Many restaurant and bar operators miss out on a significant opportunity by not capitalizing on acquiring, processing, and acting upon feedback, particularly through online review sites. These platforms happen to be some of the most visible spaces available, precisely where our guests are actively searching for us. By implementing these simple yet powerful steps, we can spread the word about the amazing experiences we offer, elevate our performance, and ultimately drive more sales.


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