How to handle a bad restaurant review

by Jocelyn Ring, on January 7, 2013

ratingpoorsmall How to handle a bad restaurant review

How would you like to be Guy Fieri today? In case you missed it, The New York Times Restaurant Review of Mr. Fieri’s “Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square” was a scathing one with a score of “POOR” accompanied by a list of questions for Guy to answer. Here is the link.

As we have mentioned in previous posts, it is important to manage your restaurant’s reputation. While you can’t control what people will say, you can control how you respond. Here’s our quick list of three immediate steps.

1. Respond. Take a deep breath and gather your thoughts. A bad review stings, but you have an opportunity for some publicity and a chance to fix things that may have not been working. Consider it a blessing in disguise, perhaps others have been quietly saying the same things and have been telling their friends. You can get in front of the negative by taking responsibility and announcing your plans to fix what is less than satisfactory. If an apology is order, deliver one face-to-face that is sincere and lets people know that you understand their disappointment. Follow up with how you will make amends and do it.

2. Have fun with it.  Admit that life is not perfect and take a light-hearted tone in responding. A sense of humor will help get you past this rough patch and if it was a matter of subpar food or less than stellar service, your humor will likely be well-received.

3. Increase the volume on your story. Any press is good press, right? Keep the discussion about your restaurant going via social media, publicity or even ads. In this case, Mr. Fieri has an opportunity to answer a series of questions. This is a story that may have a few chapters.

No one likes to get a bad review, but consider it a learning opportunity and a challenge to overcome and get your brand back on track.


Posted on Monday, January 7th, 2013 at 2:12 pm and filed under Brand Turnaround, Crisis management, Customer service, Marketing for a restaurant, Publicity, Restaurant branding, Restaurant marketing, Social media, Word-of-mouth buzz.