Background Shape

Restaurant Review Examples and How to Respond to Them

Tobias Roelen-Blasberg
Tobias Roelen-Blasberg
Co-Founder & Head of Product
Learn how to craft effective responses on Yelp, OpenTable, and Google Reviews to build customer loyalty and enhance your online reputation.
Restaurant Review Examples and How to Respond to Them

Reviews can significantly influence potential customers' decisions, affect a restaurant's reputation, and provide valuable feedback for improvement. In this blog, we'll select restaurant review examples from major restaurant review sites and craft effective responses to maintain a positive online reputation and build customer loyalty.

What makes a good restaurant review?

Businesses with active listings on major restaurant review sites would definitely receive online reviews one way or another. However, some online reviews can significantly influence your business, like a food critic. Expert review management involves differentiating regular restaurant listing reviews from online food reviews that can truly boost your restaurant brand.

Here are the characteristics of good online reviews for restaurants:

a. Goes beyond star rating

A good restaurant provides an exquisite dining experience that goes beyond simple star ratings.

A detailed online review offers more insight than just a star rating, providing a fuller picture of the diner's experience. While star ratings give a quick snapshot, detailed descriptions can help potential customers understand the context behind the rating. This depth of information is more engaging and useful, contributing to a richer user experience and often leading to higher rankings on search engines.

passionate restaurant review
This Yelp review shows excitement for this specific restaurant business.

b. Detailed dining experience

Reviews that describe specific aspects of the meal, service, and ambiance are more informative and helpful. Detailed reviews help future customers set their expectations and can highlight particular strengths or areas for improvement. Search engines favor content that is comprehensive and relevant, which can improve the restaurant's SEO by increasing the likelihood that the review appears in search results for relevant queries.

restaurant review dining experience
A sample restaurant listing review that details their dining experience.

c. Includes photos and videos of the restaurant

Visuals can enhance the review by giving potential customers a clearer idea of what to expect. Photos and videos make the review more engaging and credible, providing a realistic view of the dining experience. Visual content also improves SEO, as search engines can index images and videos, increasing the review's visibility in search results. With that being said, encouraging diners to leave reviews with media assets is definitely worth the shot!

restaurant review photos and videos
This diner didn't shy away from uploading the food they've eaten.

d. Identifies staff member

Mentioning staff, especially the chef, can personalize the review and highlight excellent service. This not only shows appreciation for good service but also makes the review more relatable and trustworthy. Personalized good reviews can foster a connection between the restaurant and potential customers, enhancing the restaurant's reputation and encouraging a positive perception.

yelp review restaurant staff
While other reviewers always give a shoutout to chefs, this reviewer praised one of the restaurant staff.

e. Specifies restaurant name and location

For restaurants with multiple locations, specifying the restaurant name and location visited helps in managing and addressing feedback accurately. This detail is crucial for SEO as it ensures that reviews are correctly attributed to the right location, which helps in local search optimization. Accurate location information improves the relevance of search results, making it easier for local customers to find the right restaurant.

restaurant review with location
A review example that mentions the complete address of the restaurant.

Restaurant owners can learn how Google Maps indexes restaurants and other businesses, by reading our article Mastering Google Maps Pack: A Guide to Local SEO Success.

f. Uses SEO Keywords

Incorporating relevant keywords can improve the visibility of the review in search engine results. This includes location-based keywords like restaurant name and location and industry-based keywords such as type of cuisine and specific dishes. Using keywords can make the review more searchable. Well-optimized reviews can attract more traffic to the restaurant's profile, enhancing its online presence and visibility.

restaurant review using seo keywords
This simple review may be far from a Food Critic article, but it has strategically mentioned industry and location SEO keywords.

Discover how Google SEO and reputation management intersect to shape your brand's online presence.

g. Gives recommendations to future diners.

As mentioned a while ago, a good review from Yelp could be at par with an expert article from a food critic in terms of influence.

Suggesting what to order or highlighting special features can be very helpful to future diners. Recommendations make the review more actionable and useful, encouraging potential customers to visit the restaurant. Reviews with specific recommendations can also include long-tail keywords, which are beneficial for SEO, as they match more detailed and specific search queries.

yelp review with recommendation
More than the 5-star review, this Yelp post recommended a specific amenity of the restaurant.


Why are restaurant reviews important?

Restaurant review sites are essential in today's digital age, influencing 60% of diners who consult online reviews before dining out. These reviews serve as trusted guides, providing detailed insights into a restaurant's offerings, service quality, and overall experience. They play a crucial role in shaping customer decisions by offering a transparent view of what to expect, from ambiance to menu highlights.

Moreover, restaurant reviews act as a public reflection of a restaurant's reputation. A good review enhances credibility and attracts new patrons, while constructive criticism offers opportunities for growth and improvement. By leveraging reviews effectively, restaurants cannot only build trust and loyalty but also differentiate themselves in a competitive market, ultimately driving business success.

Why is it important to respond to restaurant reviews?

Responding to reviews has several benefits, including:

a. Building customer loyalty

Acknowledging customers' feedback from restaurant review sites demonstrates that you value their opinions, fostering a connection with your audience. According to Forbes, 64% of consumers desire brands to engage with them, highlighting the importance of responsive interaction.

b. Showing appreciation

Thanking customers for their positive reviews reinforces their good experience and makes them feel appreciated. However, only 39% of consumers believe their reviews are acknowledged, suggesting an opportunity for improvement in customer relations especially on review site listings.

c. Managing online reputation

Addressing negative reviews from leading review websites constructively helps mitigate potential damage to your reputation. With 53% of consumers expecting a reply to a bad review within a week, timely responses are crucial for maintaining a positive online image.

d. Improving customer relations

Engaging with reviewers on restaurant review sites, whether it's a bad review or a good one, can encourage repeat business and foster a loyal customer base. This proactive approach to customer service can significantly enhance long-term relationships and customer satisfaction.

What are the key factors to consider when responding to restaurant reviews?

If you're preparing to streamline a review response process for restaurant review sites, here are some of the factors you should consider:

a. Review content

Thoroughly understanding the review allows you to address specific points mentioned by the reviewer accurately. This shows that you value their feedback and are attentive to details, which can positively influence potential customers and enhance your restaurant's credibility.

b. Overall star rating

Restaurant review sites' star ratings provide quick snapshots of the customers' experience and should guide the tone and content of your review responses. A balanced approach in your reply, whether addressing high praise or constructive criticism, demonstrates professionalism and can significantly impact your restaurant's reputation.

Learn how to measure the ROI of online reviews using star ratings in our article Understanding the ROI of Online ReviewRatings: Metrics, KPIs, and More.

c. Review recency

Leading restaurant review sites like Yelp, OpenTable, and Google Reviews place a high value on the recency of user-generated reviews. Recent reviews offer the most up-to-date information about a restaurant's current offerings and service quality. Responding promptly to these reviews demonstrates your commitment to continuous improvement and staying engaged with your customers, which can positively influence your restaurant's online reputation and attract new patrons.

To learn more about review recency, read our article Why is Review Recency Important for Your Business?

d. Reviewer anonymity

Each reply carries your restaurant name. Even when dealing with anonymous reviews, it is important to respond respectfully and constructively. Addressing anonymous feedback with care shows that you take all customer experiences seriously, which can build trust with your audience and enhance your restaurant's credibility.

e. Photo sharing

Photos shared by reviewers on major restaurant review sites can visually highlight positive experiences or pinpoint areas needing improvement. Referencing these images in your responses can reinforce your message, making your replies more engaging and authentic. This attention to detail can significantly boost your restaurant's reputation by showcasing transparency and a commitment to quality.

How to respond to restaurant review examples by sentiment?

Effectively responding to reviews from major restaurant review sites can be streamlined by categorizing them by sentiment. To help you with this, we've compiled review examples and crafted a detailed guide on crafting responses for both positive and negative reviews.


a. Positive Restaurant Review Response

Key elements of a positive review response:

  • Gratitude: Start by thanking the reviewer for their positive feedback.
  • Specifics: Mention specific aspects of their review to show you read and appreciate their comments.
  • Invitation: Encourage them to return and try other offerings.
  • Personalization: Use their name if possible to add a personal touch.

Review Example:

"I had an amazing experience at [Restaurant Name] last night. The food was absolutely delicious, especially the smoked salmon, and the service was top-notch. Our waiter, John, was very attentive and made excellent recommendations. The ambiance was perfect for a relaxing evening out. I can't wait to come back!"

Response Sample:

"Dear [Reviewer's Name],

Thank you so much for your fantastic review! We're thrilled to hear that you enjoyed the smoked salmon and that John provided you with excellent service. Our team works hard to create a memorable dining experience, and it’s always rewarding to hear that we succeeded. We’re delighted you appreciated the ambiance as well. We look forward to welcoming you back soon and hope you'll try some of our other signature dishes. See you soon!

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Restaurant Name]

Discover how you can make the most out of your positive review through our article How to Respond to a Positive Review Examples.

b. Negative Restaurant Review Response

Key elements of a negative review response:

  • Apology: Start by apologizing for their negative experience.
  • Acknowledgment: Acknowledge their specific concerns to show you understand their issues.
  • Commitment: Express your commitment to addressing their concerns and improving.
  • Action: Offer a way to rectify the situation, such as providing contact information for further discussion.
  • Politeness: Maintain a respectful and professional tone throughout.

Review Example:

"I was really disappointed with my visit to [Restaurant Name]. The food took too long to arrive, and when it did, it was cold and underseasoned. Additionally, our server seemed disinterested and inattentive. This experience really put a damper on our evening, and I'm not sure if I'll be back."

Sample Response:

"Dear [Reviewer's Name],

We are very sorry to hear about your recent experience at [Restaurant Name]. Please accept our sincerest apologies for the delay in service and the quality of the food. This is not reflective of our usual standards, and we are addressing your feedback with our kitchen and service staff to prevent such issues in the future. We appreciate your honest feedback as it helps us improve. We would love the opportunity to make it right. Could you please contact us directly at [contact information] so we can discuss how to enhance your experience? Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and we hope to have the chance to serve you better in the future.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Restaurant Name]"

Learn how to mitigate the impact of negative reviews through our article Negative Review Examples: Don't Let Bad Reviews Ruin Your Business.

How to respond to restaurant review examples by topic?

Restaurants are bound to receive a variety of reviews across major restaurant review sites. Effectively responding to each customer-generated review requires attention not only to the sentiment expressed but also to the specific topic addressed in the review.

Here are some review examples categorized by topic, along with expert responses to guide you in managing your online reputation and fostering customer loyalty.

a. Food review

For positive food reviews, express genuine gratitude and highlight the specific dish mentioned. Reinforce the customer's positive experience to encourage repeat visits. On the other hand, for negative reviews, acknowledge the specific issue, apologize sincerely, and invite the customer to discuss further to resolve the issue. This shows you value their feedback and are committed to improvement.

restaurant review restaurants
A good restaurant deserves this detailed review for its continental cuisine.

Positive Review Example:

"I visited [Restaurant Name] last night and tried the smoked pork belly tacos. They were absolutely amazing! The flavors were perfectly balanced, and the presentation was beautiful. I can’t wait to come back and try more dishes. Keep up the great work!"

Sample Response:

"Dear [Reviewer's Name]

Thank you so much for your kind words! We’re thrilled to hear that you loved the smoked pork belly tacos. Our chefs work hard to create delicious and memorable dishes, and it’s always rewarding to know we’ve hit the mark. We can’t wait to welcome you back and recommend trying our [another popular dish] next time.

See you soon!

[Restaurant Name]"

Negative Review Example:

"I was really looking forward to trying the ribs at [Restaurant Name], but they were dry and lacking flavor. It was disappointing, especially since I've heard good things about this place. I hope they can improve this dish because the rest of the menu looks promising."

Sample Response:

"Hi, [Reviewer's Name].

We're sorry to hear the ribs didn't meet your expectations. We strive for perfection in every dish, and it seems we fell short this time. We'd love the opportunity to make it right. Please contact us directly so we can discuss how to improve your experience.

[Restaurant Name]"

b. Location

Positive feedback about the location and ambiance should be met with gratitude. Emphasize your commitment to providing a welcoming environment. For negative reviews, apologize for the inconvenience and indicate actionable steps you're taking to address the issue. This shows responsiveness and a willingness to improve.

restaurant review location
A reviewer describing the location and his dining experience.

Positive Review Example:

"I love the ambiance at [Restaurant Name]! The décor is stylish, and the atmosphere is so welcoming. It's a great place to relax and enjoy a meal. I'll definitely be coming back with friends."

Sample Response:

"Dear [Reviewer's Name], thank you for your lovely review!

We’re delighted to hear that you enjoyed the ambiance of our branch in [location]. Creating a warm and inviting atmosphere is one of our top priorities, and it’s great to know we succeeded. We look forward to welcoming you back soon!

[Restaurant Name]"

Negative Review Example:

"I had a hard time finding [Restaurant Name]. The directions on the website were a bit confusing, and the signage outside was not very noticeable. It took me a while to locate the place. Hopefully, they can improve this for future visitors."

Sample Response:

"Hello, [Reviewer's Name].

We're sorry you found our location difficult to find. We understand how frustrating that can be.

Note that our [location] branch is located near [specific landmark]. We'll look into improving our signage and directions. Thank you for your feedback, and we hope to see you soon.

[Restaurant Name]"

c. Customer service

When responding to positive reviews on customer experience, recognize and appreciate the specific team member mentioned. This not only boosts staff morale but also shows customers that their feedback is valued and acknowledged. For negative reviews, acknowledge the issue, apologize, and assure the customer that corrective actions will be taken. Invite them back to demonstrate your commitment to improvement.

restaurant review customer service
The manager of this restaurant listing should be on Cloud 9 with this awesome Yelp recommendation.

Positive Review Example:

"Our server Angie was fantastic! She was attentive, and friendly, and made great recommendations. The service really made our dining experience special. Thank you, [Restaurant Name]!"

Sample Response:

"Dear [Reviewer's Name], thank you for your wonderful feedback! We’re thrilled to hear that Angie provided you with excellent service. We’ll make sure to pass along your compliments to her. It’s always encouraging for our team to receive such positive feedback. We look forward to serving you again soon!

[Restaurant Name]"

Negative Review Example:

"I was very disappointed with the service at [Restaurant Name]. Our server was inattentive, and we had to wait a long time for our food. This really spoiled our evening. I hope they can address this issue."

Sample Response:

"Dear [Customer Name]

We apologize for the service you received. This is not our standard, and we'll address it with our team immediately. We value your feedback and would appreciate another chance to provide you with the exceptional service we're known for.

[Restaurant Name]"

d. Amenities

When responding to positive reviews about amenities, thank the customer for their feedback and reaffirm your commitment to providing a comfortable and enjoyable dining experience. On the other hand, for negative restaurant reviews, address the specific issue, apologize, and indicate that improvements are being made. This shows customers that you take their concerns seriously and are committed to enhancing their experience.

restaurant reviews amenities
While others focus on food, this one writes reviews for amenities.

Positive Review Example:

"I really enjoyed my visit to [Restaurant Name]. The free Wi-Fi was a great perk, and the seating was incredibly comfortable. It’s nice to find a place where you can enjoy a meal and get some work done. I’ll definitely be back."

Sample Response:

"Dear [Customer Name]

Thank you for appreciating our free Wi-Fi and cozy seating. We aim to provide a comfortable dining experience for all our guests. Your positive feedback encourages us to keep enhancing our amenities.

[Restaurant Name]"

Negative Review Example:

"Parking at [Restaurant Name] was a nightmare. There were very few spots available, and I had to circle around for a while before finding a place. This was quite frustrating and put a damper on our visit.."

Sample Response:

"Dear [Reviewer's Name], we apologize for the inconvenience you experienced with our parking. We know how important convenience is and are working on improvements. Your feedback is invaluable to us as we strive to enhance our guests’ experience. Thank you for your patience, and we hope to have the chance to serve you better in the future."

[Restaurant Name]"

Should you use templates when responding to restaurant reviews?

Using templates for responding to restaurant reviews on platforms like Yelp, OpenTable, and Google can streamline the process, ensuring consistency and efficiency in addressing customer feedback. Templates help maintain a professional tone and ensure that all reviews receive timely responses, which is crucial for maintaining a positive online reputation. However, it's essential to personalize each response to avoid sounding generic and insincere. Personalization shows genuine appreciation for the customer's feedback and demonstrates that their concerns are taken seriously.

AI-powered review response generators offer a promising solution by combining the speed of templates with the benefits of personalized responses. These tools analyze review content to generate tailored responses that address specific points raised by reviewers. This approach not only saves time but also enhances engagement by providing responses that feel relevant and thoughtful. AI systems can adapt and improve over time, learning from interactions to deliver increasingly effective responses.

The easier way to respond to restaurant reviews – MARA AI

Responding to online reviews can be a daunting task, especially if it demands a certain level of personalization such as addressing comments on the menu, chef's taste, customer taste, and more.

Fortunately, MARA AI Review Assistant can help you. This intuitive tool is designed to ease your Online Reputation Management process, making it more efficient, personalized, and time-saving. It offers the best and most personalized AI for responding to and analyzing your guest reviews.

Streamlined Review Inbox

One of the key features of this tool is the Review Inbox. Your review inbox makes responding to reviews as simple as hitting "Generate reply" and clicking "Send". The Review Inbox connects to multiple review sources, including Google,, and Tripadvisor, giving you a panoramic view of all your reviews. And you can even configure review response automation: Why not allow MARA to automatically respond to simple reviews, like 5-star Google reviews with no text, ensuring you never miss a review? Daily notifications about new reviews keep you updated and in control.

mara review inbox
Streamlining review monitoring with MARA.

Advanced Review Analytics

To help you understand and analyze the multitude of reviews, the Review Assistant also incorporates Review Analytics. This provides actionable, easy-to-understand insights that are tailored exclusively to your business. With MARA, you can quickly get the gist of all your reviews without needing to read each one. The analysis is so detailed that you can find out about specific issues like "chef's interaction with diners" or "lack of vegan breakfast option”. These insights help optimize guest experience without requiring you to be a data expert.

mara review analytics
Extracting customer insight through review analytics.

The most personal response AI

MARA's AI isn't just about efficiency; it's about personalization too. The Brand Voice feature allows the AI to adapt to your tone, making sure your responses sound authentically you. Plus, with Smart Snippets, you can "teach" the AI how to respond to recurring praises or complaints. Your AI then incorporates this information into its responses, but always with different words, providing more personalized, relevant replies.

This review response assistant has quickly become a game-changer for over 2000 customers. Its promising capacity to elevate your overall rating, amplify response rates, glean insights from customer feedback, and economize both time and money, is the reason behind its growing popularity.

What are the best restaurant review sites?

These platforms collectively serve as vital tools for restaurants looking to manage their online reputation and attract new customers through authentic feedback and reviews.

a. Yelp

Yelp stands out as one of the most highly influential review websites in local dining decisions. It features a diverse array of user-generated reviews that play a pivotal role in shaping a restaurant's reputation. Reviews on Yelp provide insights into the dining experience, from food quality to service, making it a crucial resource for both locals and visitors.

b. Google Reviews

Google Reviews are integral due to their seamless integration with Google Search and Maps. These reviews significantly impact a restaurant's online visibility and local search rankings. They highlight customer experiences, helping potential diners discover a restaurant based on real-time feedback and ratings. So, make sure to create a Google Business restaurant listing!

c. Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor is a review website that can effectively sway travelers and tourists seeking dining recommendations. Its extensive reach and broad audience make it indispensable for restaurants located in tourist-heavy regions. Reviews on Tripadvisor provide detailed insights into dining experiences, guiding potential customers with comprehensive feedbackfrom fellow travelers.

d. OpenTable

OpenTable functions not only as a robust reservation system but also as a platform for verified diner reviews. Reviews by verified diners add credibility and influence future reservations. OpenTable reviews often highlight specific aspects of the dining experience, such as ambiance, service quality, and the expertise of the chef, helping diners make informed decisions.

To learn more about review websites in which you can get star reviews, read our article from Discover the Best Customer Review Sites for Your Business.

Final Thoughts

Engaging thoughtfully with restaurant reviews is crucial for cultivating a positive online presence. By responding constructively, you can strengthen customer loyalty, refine your services, and bolster your reputation. Implementing the strategies outlined in this guide will help nurture better customer relationships and encourage repeat business.

Managing online reviews doesn't have to be daunting. Utilizing specialized software allows you to streamline responses, personalize interactions, and gain valuable insights from customer feedback. Ready to optimize your review management? Try our AI Review Assistant, MARA, today—completely free for testing, no credit card required, and set up in under five minutes!

This article is part of our hero content series on “How to Use Online Reviews to Your Advantage – The Ultimate Guide".

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you write a thank you for a restaurant review?

Express gratitude sincerely. Example: "Thank you for your kind words and support. We're thrilled you enjoyed your experience and look forward to serving you again. Your positive feedback on Yelp helps others discover our restaurantand encourages us to keep delivering great dining experiences."

What is the best reply for a food review?

Acknowledge the feedback specifically. Example: "Thank you for your feedback on our dishes. We're glad you enjoyed the flavors and presentation. Your detailed review on Yelp helps other food enthusiasts find delicious options in our area."

What should a good food review say?

A good food review should be detailed, describing the taste, presentation, and overall experience. Encourage customers to share their thoughts by asking specific questions about their meals. Reviews that mention Yelp and other generated reviewplatforms can help fellow diners make informed choices about where to find a good restaurant.

Reply with AI - the best-kept secret of leading businesses.

review AI for Westin hotels
review AI for Radisson hotels
logo steigenberger
review AI for Accor hotels
review AI for Moevenpick hotels
review AI for Best Western hotels
review AI for Leonardo hotels
review AI for Sheraton hotels
No credit card required 

Related articles:

Loader 3 dots