Restaurants experience spike in positive reviews over March

New statistics from Feed It Back’s monthly social review tracker have revealed that the restaurant sector experienced a positive spike in reviews over March, with the average social score rising to 4.2 – up from 4.1 in February.

The statistics, which were taken from thousands of social reviews across the restaurant, quick service restaurant and pub industries, highlighted that the average social review scores for restaurants across all channels – Facebook, TripAdvisor and Google – experienced a 0.1 positive increase in March. Facebook rose to 4.4, Google rose to 4.2, and TripAdvisor to 4.0.

Despite this spike in positive reviews, the average social review score for pubs and bars still outstrips restaurants, sitting at 4.3 in March, after decreasing slightly from 4.4 in February. The driver behind this drop in rating, was a fall in the average rating across Facebook, which slumped from 4.7 in February to 4.6 in March.

Looking across both sectors, the average social review score rose to 4.3, up from 4.2 in Feb. Google continued to be consumers preferred channel in March, accounting for 61% of all reviews – a 1 percentage point increase from February. Over the same time period, Facebook’s market share of reviews fell to 9% (down from 11% in February); while TripAdvisor’s grew to 30% (up from 29% in February).

Analysing the key drivers of positive reviews across Facebook, the data shows that special occasions, atmosphere and staff attitude were pertinent, with words such as ‘friendly’, ‘birthday’ and ‘atmosphere’ featuring prominently. Interestingly, positive reviews across TripAdvisor were more focused on the specifics of the offer, with ‘price’, ‘meal’ and ‘drink’ key words driving positive reviews. Google reviews, however, had an even blend of emotional and transactional drivers, behind its positive reviews, with ‘atmosphere’ and ‘friendly’ also featuring prominently.

Looking at the trends driving negative reviews, the wait time for food continued to be the prominent driver, with words, such as ‘wait’ and ‘time’ featuring prominently.

Commenting on the figures, Carlo Platia, CEO of Feed It Back, said: “A recent global report from pricing specialists Simon-Kucher found that three-fifths (58%) of UK consumers look at ratings before deciding where to eat, drink or travel. Once again, this highlights the importance of tracking reviews across all social platforms and identifying ways in which you can tweak your offer to proactively influence how attractive your business is online.

“It was great to see this month’s data reveal that there has been a consistent increase in positive reviews across the restaurant sector since the turn of the year. It will be interesting to see if this continues as we enter spring and the weather improves.

“Interestingly, this month’s report also sheds a light on the different motivations behind consumers leaving reviews across different channels, with those posting on TripAdvisor much more focused on the food and drink offer; while those sharing reviews on Facebook are more focused on the atmosphere, experience and people.

“Using social review data to build a better understanding of your customer, as well as proactively capturing and engaging with reviewers across the major platforms, is a crucial tool for operators to drive loyalty, enhance their offer and make themselves a more attractive online prospect for prospective customers.”

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