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Which Review Platform Should Restaurants Prioritize? | Superorder

Written by
March 18, 2024

Review Platforms for Restaurants: Should You Focus on Yelp, Google or TripAdvisor?

Great customer reviews are important for businesses in all industries. But for restaurants, they can make or break an establishment's success! Restaurants live and breathe by customer reviews. They can sway potential customers to try your eatery, boost your brand reputation, encourage word-of-mouth recommendations and ultimately help foster continued success.

People can turn to many sources to read reviews. However, online reviews are the most accessible and abundant. Some of the most popular review sites include Yelp, Google and TripAdvisor. While you can hope to get positive feedback on all three, which platform should you focus on most?

The Influence of Online Reviews on Restaurants

Did you know that most customers use review sites to guide their decision-making when choosing a restaurant to dine with? It's not a slim majority, either. U.S. respondents in one survey showed that over 90 percent of diners check reviews before visiting a new establishment!

Reviews have a huge influence on consumer behaviors. Humans are social creatures. We want to know what others think before spending our hard-earned dollars. Review sites offer social proof that a restaurant delivers a great experience, and diners rely on that information to make an informed decision.

Customers also turn to review platforms to get more insight into a restaurant's offerings. They look for details on food quality, ambiance, customer service and more.

Getting high ratings and good reviews can improve your restaurant's reputation, resulting in more business and a better bottom line.

Importance of Choosing the Right Review Platform

It certainly pays to have great ratings across all review sites. However, choosing the right review platform to prioritize for your restaurant is also important.

No two review sites are the same. Like any other business, these websites cater to unique audiences, have distinct user demographics and hold varying reputations. When developing your review management strategy, you should focus on where people are more likely to research your restaurant and which site they trust.

Yelp, Google and TripAdvisor all excel in different types of reviews. We'll get into the specifics soon, but Google is fantastic for local reviews, Yelp has a huge focus on restaurants and TripAdvisor leans into tourism. Each has its merits, but you want to set your sights on the platforms that better align with your restaurant and the type of people you're trying to attract.

It's about meeting potential customers where they're at! There will be site crossover, but it's wise to choose a review platform that's more likely to uplift your business, inform users and attract the right people.

Yelp: Pros and Cons

One of the most popular review sites on the Internet is Yelp. Yelp has been around since the early days of the World Wide Web, and it's the go-to for millions of people looking to learn more about restaurants.

Across all platforms, Yelp attracts over 178 million unique users a month. One study suggests that nearly half of all reviews on Yelp are for restaurants, so it's a popular place to check out an establishment.

Overall, Yelp is easy for business owners, reviewers and browsers. A beautifully designed mobile app allows people to read and write users from anywhere. People can also create accounts and develop a reputation as star reviewers!

Restaurant owners can easily add their business to Yelp. It's free to do, and you can add official photos that are separate from user-uploaded snaps.

Yelp does have a paid tier for business owners. The paid option provides more exposure through direct advertising. It's more expensive than other post-per-click platforms, but many restaurants see great success with it.

So, what are the downsides?

One is that users must have an account to write a review. That could be a turnoff for some. Not everyone is inclined to join yet another website just to leave reviews, so the information and ratings gathered could have unintentional biases or come from a specific customer segment.

Another concern is the growing number of fake reviews. Genuine reviews exist, but studies show counterfeit reviews are becoming more prevalent on the site, skewing ratings.

Overall, Yelp is a great site to prioritize. It has the benefit of recognition, and millions of diners use it regularly.

Google: Advantages and Disadvantages

Google is another well-known Internet name. What initially started as a search engine is now a juggernaut in all things tech, and people use Google services every day without even realizing it! The user base is huge, with the search engine receiving billions of daily searches.

What's great about Google is that many people use it to search for restaurants. People can search for your establishment by name or stumble across it looking for eateries like yours in the area. With powerful location features, most people will see details about your information at the top of their results page!

With a Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), searchers get more than just reviews. They'll see a snapshot of everything they need about your restaurant, including your phone number and address, as well as a street view of your building with Google Maps!

You should always spend time crafting the perfect Google business listing, even if you don't prioritize the platform for reviews. Google is powerful, and your marketing team can use local SEO to make your restaurant easier to find. Business listings are versatile, too, allowing you to include pictures, provide a link to your official website and even give users a taste of your menu.

The potential downside of Google is its risk of fake reviews and “bombing.” Countless stories of restaurants and businesses receiving a slew of negative comments clouding genuine reviews exist. Because it's so easy to leave a review, the prevalence of fake and irrelevant feedback is high.

TripAdvisor: The Tourism Perspective

TripAdvisor is another platform worth focusing on, but it's not for everyone. TripAdvisor reviews aren't exclusive to restaurants or a single type of business. It's a site people use to check out hotels, excursions and other activities when traveling!

Over 460 million people use TripAdvisor every month. Like Yelp, only logged-in TripAdvisor users can leave a review, so there's some control over fake reviews.

The platform is easy to use, and potential customers can get tons of information about your restaurant. They can view official and user-submitted photos, read written reviews, browse star ratings and more.

The downside of TripAdvisor is its user base. Most people use the platform to look at establishments in areas they don't frequent often. It's built for travelers.

If you live in a vacation hot spot, it's absolutely worth working hard to get positive TripAdvisor reviews. But if your focus is more on people living in your area, you might not get much success with the platform.

Factors to Consider When Choosing

So, which review site should restaurants focus on when building online reputations? Getting a five-star review and impressive ratings on any of these sites is something you should be proud of. But what site you should prioritize in your feedback and review strategy depends on many factors.

The first is the type of restaurant you have. Is your business a fast-food joint that handles many delivery or carryout orders? Or is it a fine dining establishment that people view as an exclusive dining place?

Some platforms cater more to casual eateries than more upscale restaurants. For example, people are likelier to do a quick Google search for a casual restaurant while turning to a dedicated platform like Yelp or TripAdvisor for places they deem fancier.

Another thing to consider is the type of customers you're trying to attract. Are you hoping to sway tourists or people driving through your area? TripAdvisor might be the better choice. But if you want to reach more locals, Google reviews with great local search engine optimization may be your best bet.

You'll also want to take things like cost and business control into account. Many review sites are free for restaurants to use. But, they may come with limited capabilities. For example, you may have few options to manage fake reviews. Those could be locked behind a paywall, requiring you to invest in premium-paid accounts.

Finally, remember to consider the reputation of the review sites you want to prioritize. Not all sites are equal; some have a less-than-stellar reputation due to a history of fake reviews and controversy. A poor reputation may make potential customers less inclined to trust what they read.

Strategies for Managing Multiple Platforms

Yelp, Google and TripAdvisor are some of the most well-known review sites on the web. However, they're certainly not the only ones out there, and you don't have to settle for just one platform. Diners also use social media sites to leave feedback and rate restaurants!

The truth is that reviews will come from multiple sources. Managing them is no easy task, but building and maintaining your reputation is crucial.

One way you can manage multiple platforms is to have dedicated employees engage with sites and their users. For example, many businesses have social media managers who spend their day responding to comments and addressing reviews. Of course, that's an expense that some restaurant operations can afford.

Luckily, you can also turn to review software. The right software can monitor reviews you get on several sites, consolidating feedback in one place for easy replying. Some management platforms, such as Superorder, even employ artificial intelligence (AI) to help you respond to reviews automatically.

Get Started With Superorder Today

Good reviews can make all the difference for your business. A high overall average rating and glowing comments may just convince would-be diners to see what your restaurant is all about!

When you want to take the hassle out of review management, check out Superorder. Superorder is an all-in-one restaurant management platform with game-changing review and feedback management features. It allows you to aggregate reviews in one place, respond to comments using AI, identify trends to gain more insight into what people think and more.

Get started with Superorder today and take control of your restaurant's reputation!

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