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Restaurant Review: How to Respond to Bad Restaurant Reviews

Have you ever been to a restaurant and had a terrible experience? Or perhaps someone else had an awful time at your restaurant? As much as we would like it, bad reviews are unavoidable in the food industry. But how do you respond when faced with negative feedback about your business? 

The way you handle customer complaints can have a huge impact on how people perceive your restaurant. If managed correctly, customers will appreciate that their opinions are heard and respected. On the other hand, if handled poorly, it can turn potential customers away from ever visiting your establishment.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through some strategies on how to respond to bad restaurant reviews so that you can protect both your reputation and profits!

Restaurant Review

A restaurant review is a form of feedback from customers who have visited a restaurant. It typically contains information such as the type of food served, the quality of service, and overall impressions. Restaurant reviews are often used to inform potential diners about the experiences they may expect when eating at that particular establishment. They can also be helpful for restaurants to improve service, food quality, and atmosphere.

You can find restaurant reviews on websites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business. They are also often used by newspapers and magazines to give readers an idea of what a restaurant is like before they decide to visit. Ultimately, restaurant reviews provide valuable information for customers looking for the best dining experience. 

How to Respond to Bad Restaurant Reviews

There are several ways to respond to a negative review. Here are some tips that you can use to manage bad reviews effectively:

1. Apologize and Thank Them for Their Feedback

Respectfully acknowledge the customer’s experience, even if it was not positive. Acknowledge the customer's feelings and apologize for any inconvenience they may have experienced.

2. Listen, Empathize, and Take Ownership

Showing empathy for the customer can go a long way in maintaining a good relationship with them. Let them know that you understand their issues and will do everything possible to address them to ensure they have a better experience next time.

3. Offer a Solution

After listening and empathizing, offer a solution to the customer’s problem. If it is something that you can fix right away, offer to do so.

4. Ask for Feedback Again

Once you have provided a solution to the customer’s issue, ask if there is anything else they would like you to ensure their next experience is positive. This shows that you are open to feedback and want to ensure the customer’s satisfaction.

5. Respond Publicly

If the review is posted online, be sure to respond publicly in a polite and professional manner. Acknowledge any issues they may have experienced and take ownership of the situation.

Following these tips can help you effectively manage bad reviews and maintain relationships with customers in the future. By doing so, you show that you care about your customers’ experience and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure their satisfaction. This will go a long way in building customer trust and improving customer loyalty.

Can Restaurants Delete Google Reviews?

Google reviews are an important part of your business’s reputation, so it's natural to want to delete any negative reviews. Unfortunately, the answer is that businesses cannot delete a Google review directly. Only the person who posted the review can delete it, or your business can flag it as inappropriate.

If you believe the review violates Google's content policy, you can flag it and have Google moderators investigate. If they decide the review is inappropriate, they can delete it. However, Google has a strict policy on what content they consider inappropriate, and there is no guarantee that your request to delete a negative review will be successful.

Should You Respond to Negative Reviews?

The short answer is yes. Responding to negative reviews shows potential customers that you are willing to take responsibility for your mistakes, and it's a great opportunity to showcase your excellent customer service.

Responding to negative reviews promptly, with patience and understanding, can also help build customer trust and brand loyalty. Depending on the situation, you may even be able to turn a negative review into a positive one by resolving the customer's issue.

Best Practices for Responding to Negative Reviews

1. A simple "thank you" or an apology can make a world of difference:

When responding to negative reviews, it is important to thank the customer for their feedback and apologize for any inconvenience they may have experienced. By doing this, you show that you take the customer’s feedback seriously and care about their experience with your business.

2. Reply promptly

Responding quickly and professionally shows that you care about your customers’ experiences and strive to improve them. It is very important to reply promptly to negative reviews. A delay in responding can indicate that a business isn’t taking the customer seriously, which can damage the brand. Being empathetic and genuine when responding is also important, as this can help build trust with the customer.

3. Take it as a learning experience

It is important to remember that a negative food review is an opportunity to learn and grow. Instead of becoming defensive, take the time to analyze what went wrong and determine how to improve. Acknowledge the customer’s concerns and apologize for any inconvenience. Ask them to provide more information about their experience, such as what dish they ordered and when they visited. This will help you identify potential areas of improvement.

4. Craft a personalized response

When responding to negative reviews, address the customer by name and show them that they are heard. Acknowledge their experience and apologize for any inconveniences they may have experienced. Show empathy in your response by listening to their feedback and understanding how they must feel. Avoid using generic statements or responses, which can appear insincere and impersonal. Tailor your answer to the individual and show that you care about their experience with your company.

5. Refrain from becoming defensive

Defending yourself when you receive a negative review can be tempting, but doing so will likely not help your cause. Instead of retaliating and arguing with the customer, take a step back and try to remain calm. The customer won’t want to feel like they are being attacked or dismissed, so be sure to remain professional and respectful.

6. Refrain from including your restaurant name in responding to negative reviews

It is important to be mindful when responding to negative reviews, as it can greatly impact your restaurant’s reputation. It is best not to include the name of your restaurant in any responses, instead remaining professional and courteous. Doing so will help maintain a positive public image and avoid potentially damaging situations. Additionally, by only including the name of your restaurant on positive reviews, you help to reinforce the good experiences and set a more positive tone for future customers.

7. Make sure to remain accessible for further correspondence

When responding to a negative review, it's important to ensure that you provide an opportunity for further communication. Show your customers that you care about their experience and are willing to talk with them directly if needed. Offer contact information or direct them to a customer service contact form on your eCommerce website. Inviting customers to continue the conversation offline can help to provide further context and create an opportunity for resolution. This can also help turn a possibly damaging review into a positive restaurant customer service experience.

8. Acknowledge and address the mistakes you may have made

It’s important to be honest and take responsibility for your mistakes when responding to negative reviews. 

If you made a mistake resulting in an unhappy customer, apologize for the issue and offer to make amends. Explain what went wrong, how you’ll fix it, and why similar issues won’t happen again. Depending on the situation, you might offer a refund or coupon to show your commitment to making things right. Showing that you are taking ownership of the issue and striving to make it better can help turn around a potentially negative experience.

Responding to Bad Restaurant Reviews: The Dos and Don’ts


  • Wait too long to respond to a review. Taking too long to reply can make the customer feel neglected and devalued, giving them an even worse impression of your restaurant.
  • Don’t take bad restaurant reviews too personally. While reading a negative review about your business can be difficult, try to remain professional and focus on finding ways to improve customer experience.
  • Engage in a heated argument with the reviewer. This is unprofessional and can permanently damage your reputation.
  • Attack or make personal criticisms about the reviewer. No matter how unjustified their claims may be, it's not worth risking further backlash from other customers.
  • Get defensive and make excuses for whatever went wrong. This will only make the situation worse, and it can damage your relationship with customers.
  • Ignore the review altogether. Responding to feedback shows that you genuinely care about customer experience, so be sure to address any reviews in a timely manner. 


  • Acknowledge the reviewer's comments and apologize for their bad experience. 
  • Reach out to the customer directly and offer a resolution. Showing you care about their situation can help turn a bad review into a positive one. 
  • Be receptive to feedback and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow your business. 
  • Don't be afraid to ask customers for more details if they are vague in their reviews. This will help you get to the root of the issue and develop a proper solution.
  • Take responsibility for any mistakes that you may have made. Customers appreciate when businesses are willing to take ownership of their errors and take steps to remedy them. 
  • Thank customers who leave positive reviews, as well. Acknowledging their compliments can help you build customer loyalty. 
  • Show appreciation for honest feedback. Even if it's negative, the fact that customers take the time to leave a review shows that they care about your business. Thank them for their input and use it as an opportunity to improve.
  • Invite them back. If the customer had a negative experience, you could try to make it up by inviting them back for another visit. You could offer to cover their meal or provide an incentive such as a free appetizer or dessert. Letting the customer know that you value their feedback and would like to give them another chance to have a positive experience may show them that you care about their experience. This could also turn the customer's negative review into a positive one if they accept your offer.

Overall, responding to reviews – good and bad – is an important part of running a successful restaurant business. Taking into account the dos and don'ts outlined above can help ensure that you are handling customer feedback in the best way possible. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Restaurant Review

In this section, we will answer some frequently asked questions about restaurant reviews to help guide you through the process.

What Should I Say In a Good Review?

When responding to a good restaurant review, expressing gratitude and appreciation for your customer’s feedback is important. Here are some examples of generic responses that you can use to thank your customers for their positive comments: 

  • Thank you for your glowing review! We’re so happy to have exceeded your expectations. Our mission is to ensure that all our customers have a great experience. We look forward to serving you again soon!
  • Thank you for taking the time to write this wonderful review! We strive to provide the best service and quality food, so it's wonderful to hear when we exceed those expectations. We hope you come back soon and experience the same level of quality that you enjoyed this time. Thank you again!
  • We are delighted that you enjoyed your dining experience with us! Our top priority is ensuring all our guests are satisfied, and we look forward to welcoming you back soon. Thanks again for your kind words!

How Do You Respond to a 5 Star Restaurant Review?

Reading a 5-star review for your restaurant is always a great feeling! In order to make sure that your customers are satisfied with their experience and that you create unforgettable memories for them, it’s important to respond promptly and appropriately. Here are six tips on how to respond to a 5-star restaurant review: 

  1. Thank the customer for their kind words. Show your appreciation and thank them for taking the time to share their experience.
  2. Acknowledge any special requests they may have had. If they mentioned anything specific that you did well, take a moment to show them how much you appreciate it with a personalized response. 
  3. Express your gratitude for their loyalty. Let the customer know that you appreciate their patronage, and ask them to come back again soon. 
  4. Offer special restaurant discounts or promotions as a thank-you gesture. Show your appreciation by offering them something special, such as a free dessert or appetizer. 
  5. Share their review with your team. Use the review as an opportunity to motivate and inspire your staff to continue striving for excellent customer service.
  6. Respond promptly. Respond as soon as possible, so the customer knows you have read their review and take it seriously. 

By following these steps, you can ensure that your customers are truly taken care of and that they continue to return for more! A 5-star review is a great success and should be celebrated! 

How Quickly Should You Respond to Negative Reviews?

The 24–48-hour window is the ideal amount of time for responding to negative restaurant reviews. By taking prompt action, restaurant owners can show customers that they take feedback seriously and are willing to make necessary changes. A quick response also conveys that customer satisfaction is a top priority.

Why Shouldn't You Delete Negative Reviews?

Negative reviews can be disheartening for business owners but deleting them could hurt your business in the long run. Here are just a few reasons why you shouldn't delete negative reviews:

  1. They provide valuable feedback - Negative reviews can help your business identify areas for improvement. Even if the feedback is harsh, it allows you to reflect and make changes that can benefit your business in the long run.
  2. They help your business appear more trustworthy - If all of the reviews for your business are positive and glowing, it can look suspicious to potential customers. By allowing negative reviews to remain visible, your business will come off as more trustworthy and credible.
  3. They keep you and your staff accountable - Negative reviews can remind you to stay on top of customer service. You and your employees should always strive to provide the best service possible, and negative reviews can help you stay accountable.
  4. They make your business look more transparent - By not deleting negative reviews, you are sending the message that your business isn't afraid of criticism and is willing to listen to customers. This helps set you apart from businesses that try to hide their negative reviews. 

In short, deleting negative reviews isn’t the best way to handle customer feedback. Instead, you should strive to use the feedback to make necessary changes that can benefit your business in the long run. This will help you improve and demonstrate your commitment to transparency and customer service. 

How Do You Deal With Negative Comments?

When dealing with negative comments, the best approach is to remain calm and professional. Refrain from responding in an overly emotional manner, as this will only fuel the fire and further incite negative reactions. Instead, take a step back and assess the situation objectively before responding.