The world is shifting quickly from the old world to one fueled by the internet and digital communication. Don’t let your restaurant fall behind the times. Leverage your digital brand on Yelp to drive sales both onsite and delivery. With more people considering take-out and home delivery over dine-in, having a robust online presence for your restaurant is a much need today! Yelp is an excellent place to start.
Put merely; Yelp helps connect people to local businesses. A network solely based on user-generated content, Yelp is a rich online directory filled with various local clubs, salons, restaurants, bars, gyms, and much more.
Yelp has also transitioned into becoming a social community of people who make purchases on the website, write trustworthy reviews, and upload images of the local business to help others with a specific requirement. Online reviews can have a significant measurable impact on a restaurant’s image and bottom line. Yelp enables you to take control of your reviews.
However, just listing your restaurant on Yelp will not make the cut; you have to take it up a notch and bring quality to your profile. That is how you will make the most out of this enormous online community! This article will help you do that.
Table of Contents
What Are the Benefits of Being on Yelp?
If you are not familiar with the platform or need reasons on why you should build your profile, this section will answer those queries. Spoiler alert; Yelp drives sales and foot traffic to your restaurant, both new and established.
Yelp Increase Sales
Yelp provides many valuable tools to help your brand increase sales. Ever wonder how many people visit your yelp page? Well, that’s the most straightforward question they answer. Now that customers can find out about you, Yelp provides other ways to increase sales. Here are some:
Yelp Exclusive Offers
When a user visits your listing, give them an incentive to order from you or visit your restaurant. It is a well-known marketing fact that consumers spend more money when you provide them with a discount or an offer. Yelp has an option for users to check-in to your listing and redeems the offer.
Built-in Reservation System
Users will love the convenience of booking a table directly through Yelp while on your restaurant page. Avoid making the customer use another app, call or visit another website with the chance of them booking a table at a competitor.
Take Delivery and To-Go Orders
Even if you have your own website with the ability to take delivery or to-go orders, Yelp is an additional channel for you to get more orders. Yelp has partnered with Eat24 and GrubHub for quick and easy deliveries.
Yelp Helps You Build Your Brand
We will cover how you can do this later in the article, but Yelp is a great platform to show your customers your restaurant establishment and all it has to offer. As a business owner, you can post photos of your restaurant, menu, dishes, plating, and more!
Much like Facebook; Yelp also provides a ‘Check-In’ feature to all the businesses. As soon as your customers enter your restaurant, they can check-in on Yelp, and all the other friends can see their Yelp feed. Encourage your customers to check-in by providing them an incentive such as a small discount or a cost-effective free item.
Yelp Connects You With Your Customers
Yelp allows you to get first-hand access to customer feedback and compliments through their reviews.
The users on the platform leave reviews and feedback for the listings. The platform is a great tool to study customer sentiments and respond to their compliments or criticism.
Use It for Surveys
When you have a new item or event, use the platform to understand the customers’ sentiments around this item.
Track and Analyze
Yelp can help you track your viewers, analyze interaction, and brand engagement on your listing. It’s easy to gather data on the platform as well as examine it according to your requirements.
Yelp Allows You to Study Your Competitors
There is a high probability that your neighboring restaurants and competitors are all listed on Yelp. Examine how they are doing and benchmark your performance against their profile quality, ratings, and overall customer engagement. If you are doing better, find out where the others went wrong and avoid those pitfalls. If you are doing worse, understand what helps them, and try to build on those concepts.
A large number of people check online profiles and read reviews before visiting a restaurant. This platform will help you take control of your restaurant’s online image.
How Do You Build a Restaurant Profile on Yelp
Getting started with the Yelp platform has never been easier. Isn’t it time you take your restaurant to the next level by getting ahead of your review game? Here is how to get started:
Claim Your Restaurant Business
Since Yelp is a user-generated platform, there is a high possibility that someone has already created a listing for your restaurant establishment. If that is the case, the first thing you should do is claim your business because you do not want some random stranger handling your Yelp profile. If not, adding your restaurant on Yelp is a reasonably simple task.
Fill Out All the Restaurant Details
As soon as you enter your restaurant’s name and the postal code, a form will show up, asking you to add all your business details. Be as specific as you can; this will help people locate your restaurant quickly.
Remember, this is an opportunity to elevate your restaurant. Not everyone goes into great detail; here is the chance to outrank and outperform your competition by simply being more thorough.
Confirm Your Email
After you are done filling all the business details, all you have to do is confirm the email-id associated with your restaurant and Viola! Your account has been set up. Make sure you enter an active and professional email in case a customer or Yelp representative wants to get in touch with you.
Some Tips to Finish Your Initial Set-Up
- Ensure that you included the correct details of your restaurant, such as an address, phone numbers, and email address so that the customers can quickly get in touch with you (or find you on a map).
- Make sure your photo gallery is up to date with some high-quality images highlighting delicious food and the ambiance of the restaurant (Good looking food can garner more attention than anything else).
- Add your restaurant under the right category and keep an eye out for your competitor’s profiles. Also, connect your listing to ‘OpenTable’ to accept table reservations if you are already using that system.
What Are Your Next Steps With Yelp?
Yelp has millions of users and tens of thousands of businesses listed on its platform. This large following means there is potential to drive real sales but also a lot of clutter. To stand out in the crowd, you need to work for it. Let’s walk through some steps that will help you build your visibility and your brand voice.
Search engine optimization is the first item on every new and old website that operates online, and it should be on yours too. Enlist your specialties, events, stories, themes, and other information you might think people are looking for. While there is no exact science of the right keywords, try to include the ones that best define your restaurant.
High-Quality Yelp Photos
While relevant keywords will help you get on the search result list, it still does not guarantee that the customers will select you over a competitor. Try to gather a lot of attention by uploading eye-feasting images. More than 30% of users on Yelp come via a mobile device. With this in mind, upload images that will fit and look equally attractive on smaller devices.
Positive Review Management
While it might sound smart to control reviews on your profile, many things can go wrong.
Do Not Solicit Reviews
If you just started your profile, it might be enticing to email your customers or even friends to drop a review. However, if you get many positive reviews only in a short span, it could look a bit suspicious. Most importantly, Yelp also has review filters. When the algorithm suspects unusual activity such as this, it could filter out those reviews, resulting in hiding all your good reviews!
Asking for reviews is good, but you have to be slow and smart about it.
Plan Organic Reviews
One way to do this by letting people know you are on Yelp! Add stickers on your social media, website, dining area. If people liked their experience and food, there is a high chance they will write positive reviews. To encourage this, make it easier for them. For instance, on your e-bill, restaurant comment cards, emails, and any other form of communication with recent guests – include a link to go and rate and review.
You could also try to ask questions on your page. Be specific. For instance, “we just introduced five new coffee flavors, come check-in, and let us know what you think on Yelp.”
Negative Review Management on Yelp
We all know the three golden rules of negative review response. Review the case, respond, and respond quickly. Here are some additional rules to help your craft the right response on Yelp:
Upload a Picture of Yourself
Upload a picture of yourself to the business account. It makes the response look more authentic when the customer can see a face by the comment.
Avoid Templated Messages
Do not always go for a templated message. Even though it takes more time to write a personal reply, it is worth the time investment. This approach helps you build a genuine connection with the audience, who will likely be customers in your restaurant soon.
Give out discounts/offers for a mistake but review it thoroughly. You do not want people dropping in negative reviews just to get an offer.
Always investigate the case. If you think that there was only a misunderstanding and not a genuine mistake from your side, defend it. “The customer is always right” is not the correct tact. However, be sure to do it delicately. For instance, if you want to support your argument with some proof (order/photo), send via a private message. Yelp gives you an option for that. You do not want the client to feel humiliated.
If you are crunched on time, let them know that you will look into this later. Not responding or responding late further angers the guest.
Yelp has an advertising option to help you move your restaurant to the top of the list and gain more attention. Usually, for restaurants, advertising on Yelp is not very expensive, and the benefits outweigh the cost. In addition to being on top of the list, Google also considers Yelp’s popularity an authentic index. So advertising on one platform can help you stand out on both.
All of these steps mentioned earlier are continuous and not a one-time strategy. Track what words, photos, response strategy, advertisement plan works the best for your restaurant. Then adjust your plan accordingly. Get creative as these things to avoid getting lost in the clutter. Stay up to date with new campaigns regularly to be on the top of the list. Over time, when you have built a loyal following, things get more accessible, and the management then starts to look different. Until then, you need to put in the work.
Get Going With Yelp Today
Yelp has done a great job creating this network effect from the businesses’ active engagement of both users and companies. The traffic on this platform is only increasing, and being there is a good investment for both your time and money. Level up your online presence with Yelp and start increasing foot traffic today!