Feedback from consumers is one of the primary ways restaurant managers can address issues at their establishments. Online review sites such as Yelp provide a platform for users to voice their experiences and opinions about everything from customer service to food quality to atmosphere, the Hartford Courant reports.
"Yelp users are writing about what the restaurant experience is like for a regular person, not a regular at the restaurant or a food critic," said Qunnipiac University law student Freesia Singngam, as quoted by the news source. "That's something I want to know before I'm ready to spend both my time and money at a new restaurant."
Singngam adds that owners are more likely to pay attention to online reviews, since they last longer than comment cards and are easily attainable by a simple scroll through the page.
Michael Luca, a professor at Harvard Business School, wrote a working paper in September which analyzed how consumer reviews affect restaurant demand.
He found that a one-star increase in Yelp ratings led to a 5 percent - to - 9 percent rise in revenue. In addition, the reviews had a greater effect on independent restaurants over chains, which have declined in market share since Yelp's popularity has risen.