How Yelp Can Make a Meaningful Impact on Your Restaurant Franchise

A new show on FYI allows restaurant owners to confront some of their online Yelp critics

By Cam Le

Yelp has become one of the most prominent resources for consumers to share their reviews and opinions of restaurants. It is also a powerful deciding factor for many consumers when it comes making informed purchases. Although Yelp can be a scary place to some small businesses and franchise restaurants, when used strategically, review sites like Yelp can yield big growth opportunities. TV personality and founder of the sustainable seafood franchise Slapfish, Andrew Gruel, has been a big proponent of leveraging Yelp to grow business at his Southern California seafood restaurant franchise.

According to an infographic done by Merchant Warehouse, created by Column Five, 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Another 90% of Yelp users say that positive reviews impact their buying choices. Small businesses that takes advantage of Yelp business accounts also saw an average of $8,000 increased in annual revenue according to a survey done by Boston Consulting Group. So, how can you make an impact on your own business using the power of these review sites? Here are a few recommendations below:

  • Create an online presence and respond to reviews - make sure to leave customized and genuine feedbacks
  • Be consistent – actively reading and responding to user reviews
  • Run “Yelp Deals” –promote restaurant to a wider audience in an effort to generate more revenue via deal purchases
  • Embrace change – use feedbacks to improve daily operations and gain loyalty from consumers

To learn more about how you can use the power of review sites like Yelp to increase bottom line, check out FYI Network’s new show “Say It To My Face” featuring Chef Andrew Gruel and Chef Anthony Dispensa, owner and operator of Slapfish restaurant group. A sneak peak has been embedded below to enjoy. With over 18 years in the culinary business, Gruel and Dispensa are proponents of using social media to increase awareness of their restaurant brand. Tune in May 9th for the premier of the show and see how these chefs turn restaurants around by facing their toughest online critics. 

To learn more about Slapfish and franchise opportunities, visit Slapfish's restaurant franchise page.