How to deal with bad online reviews effectively

July 28, 2019


Dinners today take online reviews as a word of mouth. They decide whether they will try a restaurant or not according to the online reviews the restaurant got. On other words, you can benefit from good reviews as a free marketing channel for your restaurant and you should respond to these good reviews to show your customers how much you care about their opinions. However, when it comes to bad online reviews! How should you respond?

You should know that no restaurant is immune to bad reviews, but the smart one can deal with bad online reviews effectively to minimize any effect bad reviews might have on your business.

Here, you will find steps you may take to deal with bad online reviews effectively; fix them, learn from them, and avoid them.


How to get access to any review of your restaurant?

Track reviews on apps:

  • Consider using apps like TripAdvisor and Google and other review sites in your area to hear about bad reviews as soon as they go online. You may also need to keep your eyes on other online chatter about your restaurant.
  • Claim your restaurant’s listing on these apps so that you can monitor reviews as they’re posted in order to start working on a response immediately.
  • Make sure to set up alerts on Google, Twitter and other sites and social media apps to get notifications when people post about your restaurant.


How to deal with bad online reviews effectively?

  1. Carefully, Read the Review:

Read the review carefully and slowly to understand what it really means. This is a very significant step as it will shape your response.

While reading the review, you need to collect detailed data about the following:

  • Which date did the problem happen?
  • In which tone the customer speaks? Is it anger, upset, frustration,…?
  • What are your chances to fix the problem?
  • Who are the customers and who are the staff members he dealt with?
  • What is your staff’s side of the story?

Take your time to read the review and don’t respond quickly, but not too much time, after all, you have to respond in a timely manner.

online reviews

  1. Respond calmly, don’t overreact, and don’t get personal:

  • When responding to a bad online review, be careful to not get too personal, since anyone visits your site can read your response.
  • You need to be calm since one bad review can really harm your restaurant’s reputation. So, always remember that the customer is always right.
  • Let your customers know that you empathize with them and understand them.
  • When shaping your response, try the following:
  • Thank your guests for their feedback and apologize to them.
  • Decide to which direction you want to take the conversation using one of the following phrases of apologies:

** “I am so sorry we messed up.”

** “I am so sorry you feel that way.”

  • Promise that you will solve the problem.
  • Invite them to continue the conversation offline.
  • Ask for another chance.
  • Offer them a free meal at your restaurant.
  • Write your response down on a piece of paper before posting it online.
  1. Solve the problem:

Find out what the complainant is about and make sure to get it fixed.

  • If it’s about slow service, take to your servers to find solutions and optimize their performance.
  • If it’s about the food, talk to your kitchen staff to point out the issues and fix them.
  • If it’s about pricing, try to adjust prices.
  • If it’s about menu items, offer a menu includes all diets.
  • Try to improve your ambiance.

online reviews

  1. Offer a solution:

Focus on the next visit and offer them a free meal, an appetizer, a drink, or a discount. It is a chance to have them back in your restaurant and change their opinions, and consequently, change their reviews.

online reviews

  1. Report fake reviews:

If you are sure that the review is fake, report it immediately. The review’s site administration will remove it as quickly as possible.


No matter how you feel about them, online reviews play a major role in the restaurant industry in 2019. Having a strategy to deal with these reviews is your way to escape failure and remain successful. And even good reviews may come with constructive criticism. Accordingly, monitor any reviews or chatter your restaurant gets.