Restaurant Review Sites: What Local Business Owners Need To Know To Manage Their Reputation

The top 10 restaurant review websites you need to know.Earlier in the month we wrote a blog post that got a lot of attention, The Ultimate List of Over 115 Business Review Websites. Since many of our clients are restaurant and bar owners we decided to write a post specifically for this industry.

If you are a local bar or restaurant owner you know how competitive the industry is and how a bad review can tank your business. The obvious website culprit is always thought to be Yelp. True they are the big player when it comes to the best restaurant review sites. However, it is imperative that restaurant owners consider all the ratings and review websites because those left on these less thought of web properties can also have a significant negative impact on business and drive away patrons. In this article we will show you exactly which websites you need to focus most of your attention on and why.

Search Terms and Search Rankings

Search rankings for the top restaurant review websites.Head over to Google and type in “restaurant reviews” or “food reviews”. The search rankings depend on your location but chances are Yelp will not even be in the top 3 of the 10 results on the first page. Studies show that the top 3 results get around 90% of the search traffic for a particular phrase.

Below is an example for a search performed in Indianapolis. This term is searched in Google 5,400 times per month. The top 3 results are, and

The big takeaway is that you cannot focus all your attention on 1 website. You may have pretty good ratings on one and horrible reviews on another. You could be losing a tone of business and not even know it. Even worse it may be very apparent to you that no one is coming in to eat at your establishment and your scratching your head as to why.

Google's search results for restaurant reviews in Indianapolis, IN.

The Top 10 Restaurant Review Sites

Here is the list of the top 10 restaurant review sites.So we have made the case that you need to pay attention to your reviews and rating on all the major sites. Now the obvious question is “Which ones are they?”, well we are glad you asked.

We have ranked the top 10 restaurant rating sites below based on their Monthly Organic Traffic. We have also included additional statistics about these domains which include Number of Keywords and Branded Search Keywords. Definitions for these data points are as follows:

a) Monthly Organic Traffic – This is the number of visitors that come to the website via a search on a search engine like Google, Yahoo and Bing. This gives us a good idea which website is likely to be utilized the most when a user goes to a search engine looking for reviews and rating on surrounding restaurants and bars.
b) Keywords – This is the number of keywords this website shows up for in the search results. So “best restaurants Chicago” and “Ruth Chris Chicago” would be two separate search terms. This gives us a good idea of the chance that a particular site will come up in the search results.
c) Branded Keywords – This is the number of searches performed with a branded term in the keyword phrase. “Yelp reviews for bars Indianapolis” would be an example of this type of search. This metric gives us a good idea about how popular the particular company is when it comes to restaurant and bar reviews and ratings.

Yelp business and restaurant review website.

1. Yelp

What can we say about Yelp that has not already been said. It is the 800 pound gorilla in this category of websites. The monthly search volume definitely supports all the reasons that Restaurant Owners put so much focus and emphasis on the opinions expressed about their establishment on Yelp.

Do you want to know what some of the most heavily searched phrases are that pertain to Yelp? They are those related to asking “How to remove negative reviews from Yelp”. For that reason we have decided to include a special section below on that very topic.

Monthly Organic Traffic




Branded Keywords


TripAdvisor is a well know vacation website but also popular for restaurant reviews.

2. TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is a well know vacation website but also has become very popular for people seeking trustworthy restaurant reviews. Vacationing and dinning do go hand in hand so it is very easy to see why.

The aspect you need to think about is that this website opens your business up to a whole new customer base. The out of town traveling individuals and you know people are open to spending more money than usual on their vacations.

Monthly Organic Traffic




Branded Keywords

3,100,000 - Food Review Website

3. Zomato

Zomato is a true up and comer. We say up and comer because we see their brand term searches up by 42%. This means that people are using search terms with the name Zomato in them 42% more month over month.

What does this tell you? Well it should tell you that if you are not paying attention to the reviews on this site, you probably should. Chances are your business is already listed even if you did not create the listing yourself. So if you have not already, head over and claim it.

On top of all this they have a mobile app that has become extremely popular. So not only are people seeing what others have to say about you through online search but also through their mobile app.

Monthly Organic Traffic




Branded Keywords


Open table is a great review and booking website.

4. OpenTable

Many restaurants already use OpenTable for reservation management. If you don’t you should certainly think about it. One other bonus about their platform is that Google now puts a link to theor website in local search results for specific businesses. This means that they are going to be getting ever increasing amounts of traffic which also means they are going to have a lot of potential customers for you.
Mesh Restaurant Business Listing

Monthly Organic Traffic




Branded Keywords


ChowHound is a restaurant review and recipe website.

5. ChowHound

ChowHound is less of a restaurant user review website and more of a recipe and blogging focused site. We have included them on our list because they do have a lot of great editorials that cover restaurants in specific local areas. It is worth a shot to get your establishment critiqued by one of there writers and to get a featured article on their blog. It would bring in a lot of notoriety, web traffic and almost certainly patrons from their user base. With 5.3 million monthly visitors they are nothing to snub your nose at.

Monthly Organic Traffic




Branded Keywords


MenuPages is a restaurant review website that is currently only in major cities.

6. MenuPages

MenuPages is currently only in major cities which include New York City, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C., South Florida and Los Angeles. So if your business is located in one of these cities we recommend that you include MenuPages in your watch list and make sure you have a listing.

The primary focus is on menus. They seem to be using the city by city strategy where they move in to one geographical market, get a foot hold and then move on to another. They have an interesting model with menus that sets them apart so as stated before we recommend you keep your eye on them.

Monthly Organic Traffic




Branded Keywords

31,000 is a restaurant review website that lets users give their opinion.

7. has a unique and interesting approach. They have integrated coupons into their ratings platform. It makes perfect sense just like integrating events. It is surprising that there is not a company that has put all three together.

Although their monthly traffic is on the low side, we definately recommend getting a listing and uploading some deals and/or coupons. Everyone loves a deal and we expect this platform to grow in notoriety and popularity.

Monthly Organic Traffic




Branded Keywords


Zagat is a food review website.

8. Zagat

Zagat is a lesser know food review website but should still be taken into consideration. With over two and a half million monthly visitors via organic searches alone, chances are prospective customers will find you on this website. The user experience and web design have been done very well and we expect Zagat to continue in gaining ground within this vertical.

Monthly Organic Traffic




Branded Keywords


Gayot is an up and coming restaurant review and event website.

9. Gayot

Gayout came on to the scene in 2009 and did not do much in the way of building a user base until 2014 when it saw some big growth. In the last year that has diminished some but it looks like they are still fighting for space in the niche.

One aspect of their business model that sets them apart is they have incorporated events into their listings. It is amazing that other more popular food review sites like Yelp have not done the same. It seems like a natural fit and would open them up to an entirely new type of visitor traffic.

Monthly Organic Traffic




Branded Keywords

2,600 is a food review website that has lost a lot of popularity since 2002.


They have a great domain name but don’t let that fool you. We have included them in our list but we don’t recommend spending much time worrying about ratings on their site.

The reason for this statement is that this company was doing well in the search results and gaining a lot of ground up until 2014. It looks like they got hit with a Google Panda 4.0 Algorithm Update Penalty. We have linked to more information explaining exactly what that means but Google’s Search Algorithm is beyond the scope of this article. The main point is that this web property is not very relevant.

Monthly Organic Traffic




Branded Keywords


Other Review Websites

In addition to the bar and food review sites mentioned above there are also the big 3 that you need to monitor. These are pretty obvious but we would not be doing our job if we did not include them in this post.

Google My Business

Get your business listed on Google.

Facebook Page Reviews

Facebook Page Reviews

yellow Pages

Yellow Pages Restaurant Business Listings

How To Monitor and Respond to Negative Reviews

How to handle bad reviews.So now that we know which sites are the most likely to drive new customers to our bar and/or restaurant, it is time to talk about the dreaded subject of negative reviews and what can be done about them. We have decided to include this topic in this post because upon doing our research we realized that some of the most heavily search terms were those related to negative reviews. More specifically keyword phrases with search intent that made it clear business owners are looking for ways to manage and respond to negative reviews.

In the table below we see some examples of popular searches and how many times per month they are searched. As we can see those pertaining to Yelp are pretty popular.

Keyword Search Volume
how to handle bad reviews 90
bad yelp reviews 390
bad reviews on yelp 140
yelp bad reviews 110
how to deal with negative reviews 70
response to negative review 70
how to deal with bad reviews 70
yelp negative reviews 70
how to handle negative reviews 50

So how do you deal with negative reviews?

How to deal with negative reviews.You personnally cannot remove negative reviews. However, there is hope. You have two different options and we recommend doing both of them. Not only will you fix your bad review problem but you will also be able to generate a high number of positive reviews. People are 9 times more likely to leave a negative review so it is imperative that you take proactive measures.

Strategy #1 – If you see that a person or multiple people have left negative reviews about your restaurant the best course of action is to try and contact the individual directly. First things first though. You need to correct whatever issue it was that prompted them to write it in the first place.

Contact them and politely explain that you have corrected the issue. Offer them a free meal or some other form of amends. Finally ask them if they would be so kind as to update their review reflecting how they now feel about your business. WE want to make it very clear though that you CANNOT offer a reward for a re-write. This will get you in hot water with the review websites and may actually violate FCC regulations.

Get automated email alerts about new reviews.Strategy #2 – Whether or not strategy #1 worked we recommend strategy #2 for any business owner. Build up as many positive reviews as possible. This will drowned out any current or potential future ones.

The nice thing is about most sites is that reviews are in chronological order. So for any past negative ones, the more positive ratings you generate, the farther down the page those negative ones will be. To generate these positive reviews simply email your current customers, ask them to visit which ever site your are targeting and to please leave honest feedback about your experience with us.

Monitoring Bar and Restaurant Reviews

The platform.We hope by now we have also made the case that moving forward, if you have not already started, you need to be monitoring and actively managing your reviews on all the most popular sites. What you don’t know will almost certainly hurt you. On the flip side, when you get a positive rating from a customer you should be sharing that feedback on all your social network profiles.

Now for the shameless plug. Our platform can help you with everything mentioned in this article. The first thing to do is run a Business Listing Scan with by clicking on the link to the right. So take a look at what we have to offer. We can help you increase your positive reviews, manage and eliminate your negative ones, as well as, monitor all future activity. If you have enjoyed this article do us a solid and share it on your favorite social network. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below.