If you’ve ever had a really good restaurant experience and wanted to share it with others, we can relate. It can be hard to know where to dine and where to avoid, and getting it right feels great.
So if you’ve ever visited a new restaurant and said, “I wish someone had told me about this place sooner,” you can help others like yourself: Write a restaurant review online.
Writing a helpful online restaurant review can be challenging if you’re not sure what to say. Sometimes, simply putting more words on the page isn’t the right answer.
So, whether you dine out often or just once in a blue moon, check out these tips for writing well thought out, beneficial restaurant reviews.
Think of what others would find valuable
Be the restaurant reviewer you would want to read!
Of course, you have the freedom to express whatever you like, and variety is the spice of life. If you just want to get your thoughts out to the universe, go for it!
But if you want to provide valuable insight, consider including some important details that other diners generally find valuable. It varies depending on location, type of dining, and time of day, but some consistently important features of a restaurant are:
- Menu variety
- Aesthetic (look and feel)
- Food taste and appearance
- Staff personality and service
You’ll notice that, for the main features, there really isn’t a right or wrong answer. Some people want a bigger menu, some want a smaller one. Some diners want a friendly wait staff, and others might prefer a serious staff that does a great job but cuts the small talk. It’s important to mention these restaurant features without always qualifying them as necessarily good or bad. Provide the intel and let others come to their own conclusions!
Of course, there are some things that provide insight that only someone who experienced the restaurant first-hand would be privy to and would be helpful for people who are considering dining there; for example:
- Exceptionally great dishes
- One-of-a-kind menu items
- Chef accommodations for a special diet
- Accuracy of your order once brought out
- Overall staff demeanor
Set the context for your experience
If you visit an Italian restaurant for Valentine’s day, and they have a special menu, make sure to mention that in your review alongside your reaction. While your unique menu item still speaks to the quality of a restaurant, it’s less helpful if one of your readers gets their hopes up without knowing these items might not be available when they visit the same restaurant!
The same works in reverse. If you visited a bar on Saint Patrick’s Day and it was really crowded and busy, then you might want to note the drinking holiday as the night of your visit. After all, this crowd was probably more the exception and not the rule, therefore it’s important to give valuable, complete insights.
Consider your own personal perspective. If you went out for your birthday, you may have felt like you had a great time because everyone got you what you wanted. Or, if your girlfriend or boyfriend broke up with you that night (we’re sorry!), that certainly might add a bitter edge.
You don’t have to write all the context in, but consider it as you leave a review. Your mood, opinions, and feelings at the time of writing can all have an effect, and it’s best to account for it.
In fact, it’s best to avoid posting a restaurant review
- If you don’t really feel like saying much
- If it’s been awhile since your visit and you can’t remember the details
- If you’re feeling exceptionally upset about anything else
A better context for reviewing is when
- The details are fresh in your mind
- You’re in the mood to write
- You’re in a quiet, happy setting
Stick to the facts
When leaving a review, it’s helpful to remember that there are tons of perspectives out there. A great way to stand out in the sea of reviews is to use facts so that your reader trusts you and uses your review to make a decision.
Some facts you might want to use are things like
- Menu item names
- The date, time, and day of the week
- Wait times
It helps to be specific! When you’re inaccurate, the information can be just as misleading as an opinion.
We wish you the best of luck in your online reviews! If you’re still wondering what to say, read some reviews that you respect from other diners, and then borrow the formats that you like.