How to respond to online reviews as a café


In order to keep up with the online world and all its constant changes, it is good to take note of the so-called SEO, or search engine optimization. More precisely, it is a process that results in traffic to a website from unpaid, so-called organic search results in search engines such as Google or Seznam. Getting people to writeyoureviews, whether positive or negative, will help you get more up in SEO searches. By doing this, you may be able to attract new potential customers.

Furthermore, you can use online reviews to improve your cafe's image, attract new customers and build stronger relationships with existing ones.

Today, let's take a look together at why reviews matter so much and how to respond to them.


Your online reviews not only influence the opinions of potential customers, they also have an important impact on how many people find out about your café in the first place. The number and quality of reviews on Google is an important factor that contributes to a café's ranking for 'nearby searches'. Since most people tend to look at the top three searches, your goal should be to appear among them.

Another bogeyman in the world of online reviews is TripAdvisor. People who are in an area for the first time are likely to look for information about interesting businesses on this app. Again, where you appear will depend on the amount of your reviews.

Two main benefits of good reviews:

  1. More people will find you because your cafe will show up higher on Google.
  2. People who find your cafe and see positive reviews will definitely want to visit you.


Some of the top places you should watch for and respond to reviews include Google, TripAdvisor, and Facebook. But people can also post about you on Twitter and Instagram. There's amonitoring tool to find out what's being written about you outside of social media, but that already costs a lot of money. So consider whether it's relevant to you.


Don't sit back and wait for a bunch of reviews to come in. Because you probably won't be expecting any either. On the contrary, take an active part in creating them!

How? Online, on social media, on flyers in the café, at the end of the menu, or on a board. Asking for feedback in person is a very effective way. Make it easy. Create a link pointing directly to the review site or create a QR code that people can easily scan on their phone while sitting in the café.


No one likes bad reviews, especially cafe owners who have invested their own blood and sweat into the cafe. Anunfair review can be really heartbreaking. However, by responding to a bad review, you are showing other potential customers that you care about their experience.

It's also a good idea to take the time to write good or mediocre reviews. Saying thank you for the recognition is a great way to invite your customers back to you.

But remember: you can't please everyone!


It's common knowledge that customers are more likely to leave a review after a bad experience than a good one. Expect to get a negative review at some point. However, if a 1-star review and a credible-sounding complaint goes unanswered, you certainly won't be doing yourself any favors.

There is a good and a bad way to respond to negative reviews. Keep the following tips in mind to leave the best impression on other potential customers.


How easy it is to be defensive or even aggressive when being criticized. It's a natural human reaction. A bad review can really hurt. However, it's important to remain professional.

Start with a public and prompt response. (If you are still feeling strong emotions, you may want to wait a while, but you should respond within 24 hours!) Show your point of view, explain what happened. If necessary, you can close the conversation with a suggestion to move to a private conversation where you can work out any details.


If the reviewer's response is very negative, the problem may be in their expectations. This can also be a common problem with select coffees, for example, where people are used to paying low prices for large quantities of coffee.

Another common customer expectation is that their food will be delivered from the kitchen within 3 minutes. There are a few measures you can take to avoid this situation - write the expected preparation time on the menu and ask your staff to inform the customer in advance of the approximate time needed, if necessary. Shorten their wait by automatically bringing them a carafe of water.

Teach your customer that quality costs time and money.


They happen. Maybe someone had to wait too long, or the coffee just wasn't prepared well. It's painful. But remember, the customer isn't always right. Trust your staff rather than the customer. But never contradict the customer.

The next coffee on you as an apology will cost you the minimum, a bad review could cost you much more.

If there were mistakes, explain why you think they happened and what you will do to provide a better experience for the customer next time. Of course, be wary of the recurring negative reviews.


Explain to your customer why the coffee may take longer to brew or why you're serving it in a smaller cup. However, when customers realise the amount of thought, effort and money you've put into your products, they'll feel more special.


Good reviews are, of course, much easier to read. It's great to get a valuable review from someone. These reviews can bring you a lot of enthusiastic customers, but they also expect to get exactly what they saw in the photos.


It won't take you too much time. Just like the positive review on Facebook, thank them for it and write "we look forward to seeing you again". Inseconds, can turn a one-time visitor into a lifelong customer.

In some cases, you can amplify a positive review. For example, share a post on Facebook or retweet a nice post on Instagram. Obviously, it's a little self-centered to do this all the time, but if someone has pointed out something specific or left a particularly awesome review, it would be a shame not to show it to your followers.


Sometimes a customer will highlight a particular food or drink in a review. In this case, it's a good idea to point out to the customer another offer you have that they might like. Maybe your customer will come try it next time.


Be proactive! By responding quickly and publicly to online reviews, you can greatly improve your café's reputation. Tackle problems in their infancy before they start to escalate. Treat responding to reviews as part of your normal routine, which can support the continued growth of your business.