Restaurant Social Media

Welcome to the second article in our Reputation Management for Restaurants series.  We’ve already discussed how gross we think it is when restaurants fail to respond to comments posted by customers on social media.  It’s nasty and we don’t like it.

The first article in this series detailed our thoughts on what can be done to increase the effectiveness of positive social comments.  That was fun, and well… positive.  This segment however, won’t be as fun.  Today we’ll be discussing potential brand killers… negative social comments.

Why Are Negative Comments on Social Channels Important to Find?

What Happens When a Customer Complains About Your Restaurant In Person:  When a customer complains in person, it isn’t fun, but the good news is that their negative comments won’t go too far.  While some friends and family will hear about it, luckily for your restaurant, if you’re able to squash the negative there and make it up to them, the complaint should stop with them and their immediate connections.

What Happens When a Customer Complains About Your Restaurant on Social Channels:  Your customer has a crappy experience and then makes their way to FacebookTwitter, or another social channel. While some will post their negative feedback privately, others will share directly on your social channels for your community to see.  Their negative comments are now seen by your existing community, their friends and family, and others passing by.  These negative comments reach an extended audience and could potentially ruin your brand’s reputation as being a great place to visit and eat.

Why Should Restaurants Respond to Negative Social Comments?

When a restaurant visitor has a poor experience and posts a comment about it directly on your social channels, it’s their cry for help and a chance for you to make it right.  See it as your opportunity to salvage and offer an incentive to bring them back and improve their experience.  Your community will take notice and will respect you for confronting it publicly.

But how does one go about responding to these comments? We’re glad you asked.

4 Ways to Respond to Negative Social Comments

  1. Simply Respond:  Even a “Thanks for letting us know and we apologize about your negative experience” goes a long way and shows your existing community that you care. We do suggest taking it a step further and including one of the bullet points below.
  2. Take it Offline to Gain More Information: Ask them to provide their e-mail or phone number so that a manager can talk to them about the experience and learn more about what happened.  You want to resolve the problem as publicly as possible, but you don’t want the gory details in a series of tweets or live on your Facebook page.
  3. Offer an Incentive:  Offer them a credit or gift card to come back to the restaurant.  Make sure they ask for a manager or whoever is handling the communication when they arrive.  Ensure they get the finest table and the best service to erase their negative experience.
  4. All of the Above:  Hey, sometimes you have to use all of the tricks to turn that public frown upside down.

What about Vulgar Comments and Social Media Trolls?

Not everyone will offer up genuine negative feedback.  There are certainly trolls out there who may not even be customers, posting extremely negative and sometimes vulgar messages on your social channels.

The first thing you want to do is confirm the negative comment is accurate.  Do what you can to check out the complaint.  If you find out it’s legit, then follow the process above and try to make it right.

Closing Thoughts and What’s Next in This Series

Would you ignore a restaurant visitor giving a compliment in person?  No, so why ignore it on Social Media when the world is a spectator?

The next blog post in this series (check it out now) will talk about how to manage the monitoring process and how to find hidden positive and negative messages about your brand.


Looking for help managing and monitoring your social media marketing communities? Bad Rhino has brought success to a number of restaurants and specialty food stores. Contact us now so we can learn more about your restaurant.