Writing Restaurant Reviews – Guidelines to Make Your Reviews More Informative

Writing informative and objective restaurant reviews can be tricky if you don’t know what to look for or how to structure the review. While everyone has their own level of ambition and knowledge the following guidelines will provide you with a solid base to write informative reviews which are useful to your readers. However, these guidelines can easily be modified for any kind of service or experience and equally well for any other type of media.

Anyway, the guidelines: Keep it centered on the food – Describe it with detail, use adjectives, mention the dishes original name but explain them if it isn’t obvious what they are. Other details to note:

Surroundings – Location, view from window, neighborhood
Atmosphere – Interior design, d├ęcor, cleanliness, other guests, sound volume, mood
Menu – Menu and Wine list contents broadly described
Service – Speed, presentation and demeanor
Exclusives – What makes this restaurant stand out
Make notes – Mental or in a notebook, if possible take pictures
No novels – don’t work in yourself in the story, keep it factual and unbiased
Don’t go too hard on failures – think of the possible reasons for the failure, is it just an “off” night
Ask for information – make the staff tell you about the establishment, the food, the menu and so on
Sample the courses – If you can’t sample the whole menu, try to sample a few dishes at least with the help of your friends
Extras – You can nick (or ask for) press material, menus and so on to use as reference later, this is also often found on the restaurants website if they have one

And don’t forget to keep it personal! The review should reflect your experience there, it might sound counter-intuitive to keep it factual, unbiased and personal at the same time, however it really isn’t. What it means is that although the dinner might be a part of a big night out or some kind of celebration that you want to write about, those things should not be the backbone of the review even if they might be mentioned. The review is about the establishment, not you.

To illustrate my point I’ll finish with an example, an review of the Beirut Cafe in Stockholm. Although my knowledge of Lebanese food is not the best it serves as a good example for a nicely structured review of the compact type:

First off, Beirut Cafe is very popular so book your table in advance. My party showed up a Tuesday at 7pm and it was jammed! The host was very helpful and eventually managed to seat us in the lounge area. The locations is a little bit off, it’s not that it’s very far from the central parts of Stockholm, it’s just that there’s nothing else that way except fancy residences. There’s a mixed clientele although there’s mostly groups probably having some kind of after-work get together.

They have a wide array of mezes with a very good overall quality. The Kras Nana and Sojok stands out as the best mezes. The minced meat beef with mint and lemon (Kras Nana) is perfectly balanced and the lamb sausage with vegetables (Sojok) is without competition the hottest dish with the most punch served (in our selection at least). Most of the other ones just beautifully complement each other without taking over the show. The only thing not quite up on par with the rest was the Sojok bel baid (lamb sausage omelet), it was a little bit soggy and bland, maybe because I only sampled that one towards the end of our sitting.

The wine list is rather limited although they have an impressive selection of the Lebanese producer Chateau Musars champagne from 1956 and forward. A Merlot (Santa Helena Vernus Blend) and two red wines from Chateu Musar are available by the glass, the Merlot is fairly average while the least expensive of the Chateu Musars (can’t remember the name though) is very good, full of life without too much tannin and great value for the money.

I cannot stress how good atmosphere they have created, the interior design is just fabulous and never fails in any detail, the music is clear but never intruding, the service is very swift but at no point rushed and the service staff is helpful and friendly.

Beirut Cafe is an establishment of international class that’s truly one of the highlights in Stockholm.

Article Writing Tips – How To Write a Professional Restaurant Review

If you have writing skills and you are looking for a way in which you can expand your writing skills to give you another avenue in which you can earn more money, you might want to consider adding restaurant reviews to your writing resume. There probably isn’t a single person that doesn’t like to eat and there are many different publications that would be more than willing to pay some good money for a good professional review on a restaurant. If you think this is something that you might want to start doing, read further to find out how to write a good professional review on a restaurant.

The first rule of thumb is that when you pick a restaurant that you want to review, you should go to it at least two times before you consider writing the review. You might want to first try during the week and then again on a weekend. This will give you different viewpoints with regards to the atmosphere and the service quality during different times of the week. You also will want to try and make sure your visits will cover both the lunch and dinner menus so you can have a better feel for the food and quality of the food.

When you are at the restaurant make sure to take note of the atmosphere, the decoration and the level of the service that you get from all the employees that you have contact with. This means from the host or hostess to the manager if you happen to come in contact with them.

You also need to make sure that you take not of the customers as well. This will give you an idea of where the clients might come from. It will help you see if the restaurant seems to draw families, tourists, seniors, college crowd, etc. You can also figure out what the average dress code seems to be as well.

When it’s time to order make sure that you try your best to order one thing from each course, if at all possible. In other words, try an item from the appetizer menu all the way through to an item from their dessert menu. This will give you a broader experience of what they have to offer and will make your review a lot more complete. Also when you are looking at the menu see if they happen to have a website. If they do, you can use this later as further research for your review.

When you are eating the food make sure that you concentrate on the different textures of the food, the different flavors and how the food is presented on the plates. The most important part of your review is the food itself and it’s quality.

As soon as you get home you should begin to write the review. If you do it as soon as you can it will make it easier for you to be able to remember all of the things you observed while you were dining. The fresher it is in your mind the far better review you will be able to write.

You should try and organize your review into different categories. Those categories should include at least the following:

Atmosphere
Service quality
Food quality
Price
Type of customers
Type of dress code

When you have finished that you should write 50 to 100 words for any of the categories that you actually reviewed while at the restaurant. Probably the best way for you to make sure that it flows well is to write it as if you were sitting down and talking to a friend and letting them know how the dining experience was. When you are writing your review remember that the readers want an honest review and one that is easy for them to understand.

Note: When you do a review make sure that you don’t tell anyone who is working there. This could change the entire way in which the service is delivered and this could taint your review.

Article Writing Tips – How to Write a Good Restaurant Review

If you already are dabbling in article writing and even have your articles posted on blogs or websites, you might want to add to your writing skills by writing restaurant reviews. This will not only be fun but will increase your marketability as a writer. There probably isn’t a person in the world that doesn’t like to eat and more so eat out on occasion. By writing restaurant reviews you will be providing a service to others and also getting an opportunity to make a little more money for your writing.

Of course the first thing you are going to want to do is to visit the restaurant that you want to review. The good thing to do as well as the fair thing to do is go there at least two times before you sit down and write your review. You might want to dine once there during the week and then go again on the weekend so that you get different points of view of the atmosphere and the service. Weekdays and weekends can be quite different. You also want to try and do your best to order of the lunch menu as well as the dinner menu. This should give you a better idea of the food they serve.

Make sure to pay close attention to the atmosphere and the way the place is decorated. You also need to pay close attention to how good the service is from all the employees that you come into contact with, not just the waitress or waiter. This should include the host or hostess, the busboy, the manager as well if at all possible. It’s important to get an overall view of the employee situation.

You should also keep a close eye on other customers in order to get an idea of what kinds of people are attracted to this particular restaurant. Does the place attract more families or is it more for the young single group or more for the older people of the area? You can also take a look at what everyone is wearing to figure out what the average dress code might be for the restaurant as well.

If you can afford it, try to order one item from each menu course. In other words try one thing from the appetizers all the way through one item from the dessert menu. This is going to give you a wide range of foods to sample and to be able to write about in your review. When you look at the menu make sure to check and see if they list a website, this will come in handy later when you are writing the actual review.

Once the food gets served make sure to concentrate on the different textures, the different flavors and the way the food is presented on the plate. The most important part of your review is how you convey how the food tasted and the quality of the food.

It is important that you sit down and write your review right after you leave the restaurant, so try and go straight home so that you can sit down and start putting down all of your thoughts about the experience. You will have a better shot at writing a good review if everything is still fresh in your mind.

You should make sure the review is organized into categories. Categories might include atmosphere, the service, food quality and the price. These categories are very important to your readers. If there are other things like entertainment or a children’s menu make sure that is added as well.

You should try to write anywhere from 50 to 100 words on each category that you reviewed. Probably the best way to do this is to pretend that you are simply having a conversation about this restaurant with one of your friends. By doing this it’s going to be more honest and more realistic. Readers want something that comes across honest and something that is easy for them to understand.

Easily Get Restaurant Reviews From Customers

These days, people don’t buy anything without reading reviews first. Amazon.com is the world’s favorite shopping mall. Visitors look for an item that is both heavily reviewed and has a mostly positive rating. There is suspicion of items that have no reviews, as that means to most folks that the business is probably new and the item they’re looking at is of questionable quality. Positive customer reviews weigh in big time within the consumer psyche and the convenience at which reviews can be posted means that every interaction with a customer is a potential opportunity to make or break many future sales. These ideas began with the retail industry, and they’ve spread like wildfire to restaurants.

So, should you ask for reviews or not? Let’s review the pros and cons:

PROS

Incentivizing is a great motivator for everything in the world. If you want reviews from your customers, offer them something of value. Asking for reviews isn’t bad as long as you’re not flat-out paying for them. Put something fun together: drop review submitters’ names into a monthly raffle for a free lunch, pick a top reviewer and send them to an exotic themed vacation (think Olive Garden sending families to Italy), have your top chef prepare dinner for a certain special patron. There are tons of ideas that involve a thematic approach to incentivized rewards versus just handing out cash. Get your patrons involved and excited and reap the benefits of a truly passionate reviewer!

If you choose to nudge patrons in the right direction, make it easy for them. Offering them a comment card is one way to go, and you can put that review up on your website, but how can you get the word out on UrbanSpoon or Yelp, two of the most popular restaurant review sites? You’ve got to tell customers where to submit their feedback. “Search for us on UrbanSpoon!” is a quick, easy and non-pushy way to let people know you’re active on that site. Make sure to develop a way to track your review-submitting patrons so that you can reward them. You’ll generally receive an email notification when a review is submitted to either one of those sites.

Posting restaurant reviews can be fun! Think about the power of mobile Smartphone applications: a patron can take a picture of your menu (or their meal plate) on their phone and post it online instantly, even while they’re still eating their Southwest Quesadilla Special. They can then immediately “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” your business based on their experience. This is incredibly helpful to other customers. PRO TIP: Consider taking clear pictures of your menu and your location and uploading them to review sites before someone else does. Doing so helps potential new customers decide if they want to eat at your establishment by taking the guesswork out of what you’ve got to offer. The more information that’s readily available about your business, the better.

CONS

The first question you need to ask yourself honestly is this: “Is my restaurant ready to be reviewed?” Many restaurant owners get antsy and jump the gun, so to speak, in taking steps to force reviews. They may have had a slow grand opening and think that getting “good press” on sites like UrbanSpoon and Yelp is the only way to stay operative. These sites are dynamite for influencing potential customers, but hard selling reviews is not the way to go. If your restaurant isn’t 100% where you want it to be at, incentivizing reviews could also mean reminding people that they can post negative reviews, too. As many small business owners have learned, one negative review that’s boosted to the front page of Google can spell doom for their business. Just like a positive review can encourage new folks to try an unfamiliar restaurant, a negative review can drive just as many away. Lesson: don’t force reviews if you’re not ready for them.

Positive reviews from non-incentivized customers will almost always feel more “real.” So although it may take longer to get a review, it may be worth your wait.

Have you ever read a restaurant review and just known that it was the owner writing it, or one of the company’s employees? How did that make you feel? Most consumers who feel like they’ve experienced a fake review will immediately go elsewhere, with a permanent sense of distrust in that business.

Some review databases (like Yelp) frown on incentivized/paid reviews. They’ll go as far to delete over-zealous, fake sounding reviews in order to keep their site “honest.” In this case, it may not be worth the investment to reward a reviewer.

If your restaurant is outstanding on both service and menu fronts, you may not have to encourage review submittal at all. A new patron should be so floored after having left your establishment that they want to share their experience with the world. Have you ever been to a restaurant where the server was “on it,” the food was excellent, the wait was nonexistent, and the atmosphere was just fun? I bet you wanted to tell people about it. This same theory applies to restaurant reviews: provide an entirely excellent experience at every point of contact and expect to be rewarded for your hard work.

The answer is up to you. If you can solicit reviews in a fun, creative way, that plan might work out well for your business. Beware of over-incentivizing; remember you want honest reviews, not a bunch of fluff. No doubt, reviews are a superb way to generate new business. You might even say they’ve become essential in today’s world of infinite information. Keep in mind that consistently great service will be rewarded with words of praise, so keep your bar set high, your plates clean, drinks full, food hot, and staff friendly. You’ll eventually get to the point where you don’t need to solicit reviews anymore, they’ll just come naturally.

Share Your Restaurant Experiences on Various Restaurant Reviews Websites

Nowadays people do not buy anything online without reading reviews of that particular item like food, cloths, electronics gazettes and many more other. It has been noticed that people go for an item that is highly reviewed and has large positive comments or ratings. Let us take an example of restaurants, if you would like to know about a particular restaurant, online reviews websites can help you to provide an idea about the restaurant which you are looking for. So, restaurant reviews website are provide you a great help to choose good restaurant in the city which offer good food and excellent services to their clients.

Providing restaurant ratings is a great way or medium to share your thoughts, views and ideas about your experience with the restaurant. You can share your restaurant experiences on various restaurant reviews websites. When you write reviews on a particular restaurant you should have proper knowledge about the restaurant and you should also know, what are the main key points of the restaurant which you included in your review? Before write a review it is important that you know how to frame the review structure, so that you can include all the important things in it and provide enough idea about the restaurant. These reviews also help to increase the business of the restaurants. Writing reviews is personal views so always stress your own writing style. Make sure that you always write on present tense and use your own personality so that your review will look original and unique.

You can include various things in your review like always provide details about the interior decoration or appearance, what color combination are used, lighting and cleanliness of the restaurant. Also explain about the services they provided and write little bit about the staff. Another important thing is that always include about the food served by them, whether it is good or not. Last but not least make a note on the atmosphere of the restaurant. Is it friendly, extremely busy and loud, or relaxing? There are endless restaurant review websites are exists which are dedicated exclusively to helping consumers to discover the best eateries near them. If your restaurant experience was riddled with both pros and cons, then make sure you list both to provide readers with an accurate, well-rounded review. When you provide your reviews about a particular restaurant also write about the menu card of that restaurant. Explain a little bit about the variety of meals choices, any unique dishes, and food are cooked properly or not and taste of the food also. Write about the meal’s presentation, taste and smell.

Always use only descriptive and creative words. In your review you can easily suggest that this particular restaurant is good for family member or couples or friends group or individual people. So, by providing your reviews on restaurants you can easily share your restaurant experience through various restaurant reviews websites.