The Impact of Negative/Fake Online Reviews

In today’s digital age, online reviews have become a crucial component of consumer decision-making, and the restaurant industry is particularly susceptible to their influence. Negative reviews can have far-reaching consequences for restaurants, affecting not only their reputation but also various aspects of their operations, including their rating. In contrast, positive reviews instil pride and validation in young staff members, boosting their confidence and motivating them to continually deliver outstanding service.

In this blog post, I will explore the impact of poor or fake online reviews in the restaurant industry and delve into their effect on employment, staff morale, and overall business success.

Firstly, how significant is an online review to you? For me personally, I like to give everyone an opportunity. Having been in the industry for as long as I have, I understand that if you are a restaurant like the Lobster Cave, there are many factors to consider before sharing feedback online. Ask yourself, how long has the restaurant or business been operating? If it has been a significant number of years, you would understand that no one in the current economic climate can rely solely on their name. It’s not possible. Is the restaurant consistently full or close to it? Generally, this also indicates it’s a good place to eat. At the Lobster Cave, our team serves between 800-1000 covers every week. Out of this, we may receive negative feedback from only two people out of 2000 diners in a two-week period! I’ll let you do the math. However, there can be numerous reasons for negative feedback, such as cold food, overcooked steak, or slow service. Opinions and circumstances vary greatly, but these isolated incidents do not necessarily make the dining experience bad for others to try and form their own opinion.

Like any business, our staff doesn’t always get it right. Sometimes we’re in training, a staff member may be having a bad night or dealing with personal problems, and mistakes can happen. In these circumstances, we are committed to rectifying the situation, especially when it’s our fault and has a negative impact on the customer. Dealing with human behaviours can be our biggest challenge, but our mission is always to have the customer return and be fully satisfied with the outcome. We have been successful in most cases, and many of these instances have resulted in happy returning customers for many years.

Positive reviews are crucial in restoring and enhancing a restaurant’s reputation, boosting staff morale and confidence, and guiding potential customers in decision-making. However, for me, it’s more than that. We always encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and share their thoughts on social platforms. In an ideal world, any negative feedback should be directed to us via email or direct contact. Imagine a new staff member, whether young or senior, starting out in the industry, and after only two weeks, a negative review surfaces, stating their name and labelling them as useless, too slow, lacking a smile, or lacking menu knowledge. As you can see, this can be highly damaging, not to mention how it can affect people’s minds and lives. Everyone has to start somewhere; unfortunately, mistakes can occur.

Food for thought: Before you leave an online review, please think about the potential consequences of a negative one, recognising its impact on the restaurant and its staff. In a fast-paced world driven by technology, I believe it’s better to pick up the phone or send an email directly, as I personally appreciate the level of understanding and consideration from being on the other side.

Alternatively, you can also acknowledge the power of positive feedback to brighten someone’s day and recognise the exceptional service they take pride in providing. Go ahead… Make someone’s day.

SuzieQ xx