The power of food reviews online: can negative reviews hurt a restaurant business?


But Mr Tan said the “unfair” thing about Google reviews is that anyone can create an account to leave a review, even if they haven’t visited the restaurant.

“I think it’s really unfair. When you try to contact Google about it, they just say it doesn’t go against their policies and they just leave the comments there.

Google told CNA it has a notice policy, and if users report that a notice violates the policy, it can be removed. But the tech giant also said it “doesn’t get involved when companies and customers disagree on facts.”

“Users should only report reviews that violate Google’s content policies and not report a review just because they don’t agree or like it,” he said. -he declares.


Negative reviews also impact frontline F&B employees, for whom reviews are part of their KPIs (key performance indicators).

Mr Darien Chow, a former assistant restaurant manager at a hotel (which he declined to name), cited the example of the travel review site TripAdvisor.

“Customers say, if you don’t give me what I want, I’ll write on TripAdvisor; if you don’t give me a table, I will write on TripAdvisor, ”he said.

“You can’t please everyone, you can just do your best.”

To make up for a customer’s bad experience, Mr Chow, 30, used to contact them personally, giving them their email or cell phone number. He told them they could contact him personally, and he would make sure they had “the best possible experience” on their next visit.

“Online reviews are pretty important. They are in fact part of our KPIs. At the time, management used this to motivate our staff to do better, such as seeing how many great reviews you were getting on TripAdvisor, ”he said.

“(Customers) can write that you provide good service throughout their experience, and then (it will) go the extra mile to make sure they know your name. It also helps us keep an eye on ourselves to provide good service.

Mr Chow recalled friends in the industry who have gone to job interviews at restaurants, where the CEO took to TripAdvisor to see if they were receiving positive reviews for their customer service on the site.

“It’s like your online wallet,” he said.

Involving employees to get positive reviews from customers is a way for a restaurant and catering business to recover from negative reviews, noted Ms. Cho Pei Lin, 43, general manager of public relations company APRW. .

After all, while a restaurant might write to, say, Google, to remove negative reviews, it can be difficult to predict how long those businesses would take to respond, she added.

In the meantime, restaurant businesses can encourage “genuine customers” to leave a positive review immediately.

“It’s not something new. The restaurants did. The hotels, above all. They would make a special effort to say, ‘Please leave me a comment, and if you can put my name there,’ ”she said.

“Because if the names of staff appear in the notices they receive, it is reflected in their performance appraisal and perhaps has an impact on their bonus. “

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