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Remember the supermodel Cindy Crawford? Her motto was, “The camera never blinks.” She realized she had to look stunning all the time.  For restaurants, the motto is, “Yelp never blinks.” Anyone can put a review of your restaurant on Yelp, and once a bad review is up there, it’s virtually impossible to remove.

How important are Yelp ratings for your restaurant?  According to a recent article in the Economic Journal and reported by, a Yelp rating increase of just a half-star can translate to a rise in peak-hour traffic by as much as 19%.

But here’s the inside story – according to Mashable, Yelp rates restaurants between 1 and 5 stars, and they round to the nearest half-star.  “A restaurant with a rating of 3.24 will show 3 stars.  A restaurant with five or more reviews and a slightly higher average of 3.26 rating will display 3.5 stars.”  What a difference .02 can make!

Here are some tips for dealing with Yelp reviews:
•    Ask customers who are in your restaurant several times a week to review your restaurant on Yelp.  A few sentences will do it.  Each rating will show you who posted the review.  Perhaps you can reward them with an appetizer or free drink the next time they’re in.
•    People always remember the last thing you did for them.  If a customer complains because the food took too long to prepare, or their order was wrong, what they will remember more than the foul-up is your sincere apology and how you bent over backwards to make things better.  This should help prevent bad reviews.
•    It’s all about providing consistently good service.  Day in and day out, give your customers the best.  That’s what gets the best ratings and that’s what brings customers back.

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