How to Fight Bad Reviews Online

Chris Rumpf

Founder and CEO, 15+ Years of Restaurant Technology Innovation

How to Fight Bad Reviews Online

Let’s face it, even the best business can’t make everyone happy.  When you see the one-star feedback, how will you handle it?  Our pride usually puts us in fight-mode, but standing up to customers in this way is almost always detrimental to business.  Each review is different, and should be handled subjectively as it appropriate.  Here are a few tricks that can go a long way to getting back on top.  As they say, let’s make some lemonade! 

Get off the soap box, and embrace some humility.

Is there any consistency to negative reviews? Are multiple people suggesting your bathrooms look like a punk-rock club in the 80s?  Maybe stepping back, asking a trusted friend or employee to provide some truth can begin to open your eyes to a problem you were missing.  Of course, if no one understands that peanut sauce contains peanuts and you’re entire world revolves around the land’s best pad thai, well, truly, the customer is not ALWAYS right, so use your best judgement and trusted people to make appropriate changes when necessary.

Don’t hide, and don’t censor.

Spend time to thank both positive and negative feedback when you find it. Most sites online will allow for verified businesses to respond directly to feedback.  Candidly thanking and addressing concerns brought about through online feedback can go a long way to building trust.  Even if you’ve still lost the reviewer, most consumers now learn of restaurants online, and your reply to a negative review could persuade a new potential customer to choose your place over a competitor.

Let them fail on their own merits.

Yes, many times negative feedback can be genuine and helpful.  Other times, it can be like listening to a sick slug make noise from afar.  Consumers know when a review is genuine or not, and most review sites allow for crowd sourcing the best reviews by demoting the unhelpful flames that aren’t based on empiricism.  It may be difficult to step back and watch the flame burn out under its own power, but it some cases it is necessary.


With so many customer experiences beginning now online, using every opportunity to directly interact with your potential guests is critical.  Make sure to research your business online, and engage your audience to further your cause.