How do you deal with negative reviews as a restaurant?

70% of the customers trust online reviews and 65% of the customers purchase a product from a brand they did not even consider before reading reviews (Floyd et al., 2014). In other words, it is important to pay attention to reviews, especially the negative ones.

Optimizing the customer experience is a good place to start. This will help to generate more positive reviews in the long run. Stay tuned for our blog about Customer Experience, which is coming very soon.. Next to gaining more positive reviews, complaints and negative reviews should be solved positively. Altogether, your restaurant will get a better image step-by-step. Use every negative review as valuable feedback!


Respond fast, preferably on the same day!

A customer feels his complaint has been prioritized when he gets a response on the same day. Doing so might prevent this customer from filing another complaint in the near future. You should not look at a complaint as a personal attack on your restaurant. Respond friendly and look for solutions.


Show empathy to the customer

Give your customer enough time to explain his thoughts and place yourself in his shoes. Try to gain insight into the customers’ situation. This increases your chances of solving the problem on a positive note. Because the customer himself will always understand the situation better than you will, make sure he/she is also involved in the process of looking for solutions. Even though you might not always agree with the customer, make sure the customer leaves the conversation with a positive feeling.


Solve the problem, even if it is not your fault

A simple solution can consist of a discount the next time the customer places an order at your restaurant. In general, a customer does not expect to be compensated for everything, but he/she expects you to put in effort. If you manage to come up with a solution together with the customer, you increase the chances of the customer returning to your restaurant.


Identify frequently returning complaints

If you notice that a similar complaint regularly occurs, try to find the root causes for these complaints. Use such a complaint to look at your business operations to identify any weaknesses. It is better to improve in these identified areas than to handle similar complaints separately.


An alternative to social media

Social media can come across as simplistic and detached. It often demands a quick response. Sometimes, it’s better to take a moment to discuss a complaint with one of your colleagues and think of an appropriate solution. Responding right away often comes with emotions, which is usually not the best response. Therefore, calling a customer, or inviting him to your restaurant could be a good alternative to social media.


Keep stimulating your customers to leave a review

It appears that the number of online reviews decrease as a product or service gets older (Hu, Liu & Zhang, 2008). Because of the impact that online reviews have on your revenue and image, it’s important that the online reviews keep coming. For instance, you can ask the customer for an online review in the confirmation e-mail that you send after he/she has placed an order. Another example is to give away a voucher among the customers who gave an online review.



Acknowledge the importance of how you deal with complaints and negative reviews. Ignoring negative reviews and not offering solutions can lead to a loss of customers and a bad reputation. In general, it is worth the small investment to spend some time and effort in a disappointed customer.

More satisfied customers? Contact us for smart software solutions for your restaurant.



  • Floyd, K., Freling, R., Alhoqail, S., Cho, H. Y., & Freling, T. (2014). How Online Product Reviews Affect Retail Sales: A Meta-analysis. Journal of Retailing, 90(2), 217–232.
  • Hu, N., Liu, L., & Zhang, J. J. (2008). Do online reviews affect product sales? The role of reviewer characteristics and temporal effects. Information Technology and Management, 9(3), 201–214.


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