As I write this, I am on day 6 of a 7 day water fast, and I have a dirty little secret to tell you…

When people go on water fasts, all they think about is food for a few days.

In the winter I fasted on water for 30 days and there was a 2-3 day period where all I could think about was food.

I might be in part of the cycle right now.

As I rest my body and fast, I have been tempted to read online reviews of my favorite restaurants.

A guilty pleasure of course.

I am a serial entrepreneur with businesses in several niches, but restaurants is something I do NOT have the guts to get into:

Insane overhead, insane staff who are addicted to alcohol and drugs, stealing, build out costs of real estate, massive leases, location, marketing, and then you have to get to the right product and pricing etc.

Too many things I don’t want to handle.

As I lie here reading food reviews, I read about the restaurants I really like and use on a frequent basis.

I know what’s good, I’m a self proclaimed foodie and think of myself as a food connoisseur.

But as I read the reviews online, somethings become apparent to me.

To get a great review from a customer you must win in all 4 categories to get a great review regardless of quality of your product or service:

Category #1 Messaging

The first place where restaurants and businesses go wrong is with the messaging and marketing of their restaurant. I read countless reviews of local restaurants that I know are amazing, but they got horrible reviews because their marketing and messaging attracted the wrong type of clients.

If you want great reviews, it all starts with brining the right client through the door, not just any client.

Some messaging failures I saw online: Upscale restaurants attracting the bargain crowd, cheap crappy restaurants attracting hipsters looking for something cool, and worst of all; restaurants that were attracting no one person in particular like buffets and fast food.

They say you get Riche in the Niche or rich in the nich. To really win and get great reviews for your product or service you must serve a specific niche and stop trying to serve everyone.

The key to failure is trying to please everyone.

A wrong customer in your business will automatically bring the satisfaction down to 1/5 stars.

Category #2 Pricing

Pricing was a huge failure point for many restaurants. Many restaurants had amazing products, I know from first hand as a customer at many of these restaurants, but because of poor messaging, customers were entering the restaurant with the wrong idea and were shocked at the prices.

If you match the messaging with the pricing, the customer is pleased and will give a great review. If the messaging is off from the pricing, then people complained.

Again, it comes down to attracting the right type of customer into your business and repelling the wrong type to get a great review and subsequently build a great brand.

If you are attracting price sensitive customers to your upscale offer, you will get a 1/5 star review.

Category #3 Product

Surprisingly product, aka: the food, was the least complained about aspect online after reading hundreds of reviews. People like to eat.

Some of the biggest complaints about food were: overpriced, overcooked, undercooked, restaurant was out of stock, restaurant was missing an ingredient, delivery was way late, food was cold.

Overall, most people enjoyed the food at most restaurants and gave good reviews. As with most businesses, the product is rarely the differentiator.

Deliver a decent product for a decent price and you will get a good review.

Screw up the product and you will get a 1/5 star review.

Category #4 Service

Service was the biggest killer for most reviews. Bad service or a bad waiter or hostess immediately killed most dining experiences and brought the review down to one star out of five.

I could not believe how merciless the general public was with waiters who were undertrained or off their game.

Violations included: Not seating people fast enough, talking too much to the customer, talking to little, taking away drinks that were unfinished, being slow, being rude, forgetting orders, having no customer resolution for wrong orders.

Service is a major reason why people go to restaurants and also why people solicit businesses in general. I don’t want to fix my car, so I bring it to a mechanic.

One small slip in service and your reviews are destroyed, the people are merciless and they go online in a second to destroy you if your team is off.

The service must be perfect to the messaging or you get 1/5 stars.

Overall, if you want a great review online for your business, you must nail down: the messaging of your business, the proper pricing, the proper product and the proper service.

If you get any of those wrong, but the others right, your reviews will likely come down to 3/5 stars.

If you nail them all you will get a 4/5 or 5/5 stars and if you fail majorly on one or two categories your rating will go down to 1/5 stars.

The world is more competitive than ever where the consumer demands perfection on so many levels.

Elevate your game, nail your offering and come out on top!

Respect The Grind,
Stefan Aarnio