• Stephanie Zajac

3 Ways Online Review Platforms Have Impacted The Food And Beverage Industry

Before heading to a restaurant and flipping open a menu, you may want to check your phone first. In recent years, online review platforms have been breaking ground in the food and beverage industry. Restaurant owners understand that reviews truly make or break the business, just as consumers leverage these tools in order to have the best dining experience possible. From cleanliness to service, review platforms like Yelp and Zomato—and many more—quickly evaluate the overall experience of a restaurant. Why are these platforms making such an impact? Read on to discover three big reasons why review sites are game-changers in the wine n’ dine industry.

Food Culture

A new culture has emerged in response to online review platforms: the foodie culture. Foodies, defined by Merriam-Webster as people who have “an avid interest in the latest food fads,” are everywhere. They’ve become bloggers, brand ambassadors, and social media influencers. Most importantly, they’ve shaken the industry so that food culture encompasses much more than satisfying your hunger. It’s a quest to find the optimal dining experience, and consumers can embark on this quest by using review platforms to evaluate the following:

- Food and drink taste

- Cleanliness

- Service

- Decor/atmosphere of restaurant

- Presentation

- Price

- Menu

- Amenities at the location (Wifi, takeout availability, outdoor seating, etc.)

Brand awareness

Brand awareness used to imply a website, a few social media platforms, and an overstock of printed menus. Now it extends beyond that, to curating a reliable presence on multiple online review platforms. Owners use these platforms to engage and inform consumers about what they have to offer. When consumers check out a page on Yelp, for example, they’ll see the outside of the building, the address, the company logo, and information about store hours. The restaurant brand lives on one platform, and having these platforms around has increased business visibility throughout the food and beverage industry. When consumers can get an inside look at a restaurant or bar, the business is known for more than good food and pretty drinks. It’s known for having a consistent brand that pleases its guests.

Boost the business

The food industry continues to expand, which means more competition among restaurants and bars. Prior to the surge of online review platforms, restaurants and bars relied heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations to keep the business going. The main goal was to keep guests coming back for more. Now, it’s two-fold: Encourage guests to come back and satisfy guests so that they tell the world how great your restaurant is. In fact, restaurants that boost their Yelp star rating by 1 star can increase revenue by 5-9%. How do these restaurants stand out in the sea of reviewers? They step up their game and continue to improve with more feedback and reviews. Owners can leverage these tools to grow the business. A few solid reviews can get a new customer’s foot in the door, and upon feedback, owners can continue to improve the business.

What’s next?

As the digital world continues to evolve, so will its impact on the food and beverage industry. We know the industry is in a state of fast and furious change, with new impacts coming from reviews and the widespread foodie culture. Today it may be a matter of counting your stars, and tomorrow it may be an entirely different metric. The impact has been made, thanks to modern-day digital review platforms, and it will continue to influence the industry one review at a time.

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