Online feedback may be key to restaurant reputation
Over 50 per cent of diners are likely to avoid visiting a restaurant if the online feedback they read beforehand is negative.
According to recent research by Livebookings, the influence of the web on the food industry is now so marked that online eatery reviews written up by customers are more likely to be trusted than those of recognised food critics.
In the survey of consumers, 58 per cent of Britons said a bad review of a restaurant would be a turn-off and one in three said they set more store in the experience of other diners than the opinions of food writers (15 per cent). Indeed, close to half of potential customers said they always check a restaurant's reputation via online feedback before choosing to make a booking.
David Norris, chief operating officer at Livebookings, said the importance of understanding and managing natural web feedback cannot be ignored.
"Restaurateurs can no longer dismiss the importance of the internet in shaping how their business is perceived by the general public, they must take note of the feedback they are receiving and where necessary, act on it," he said.
However, there is some concern over the regulation of online feedback, with the British Hospitality Association (BHA) currently examining ways of managing rogue reviewers.