How to Reply to Bad Restaurant Reviews: Easy-to-Follow Tips and Examples

How to manage a restaurant online

No matter how good your food is, how exceptional your service, and how optimized all your processes are, you will get bad reviews. While receiving negative reviews is inevitable, you control how you respond to them.

How you reply to bad restaurant reviews can make or break your business, so read the following article carefully to learn how to do it properly.

Why you should reply to all bad restaurant reviews

What’s the first thing you do when searching for a new place to eat near you? Check the online reviews! So do 77% of online internet users! Therefore, you must be aware that anyone who finds your restaurant online will also see your reviews.

The good news is that 89% of consumers are likely to still order from your business if you reply to all your online reviews. Check out the benefits of taking time out of your busy schedule to reply to every single positive or negative review. But, to reply to bad reviews for a restaurant, you must first claim your profile on the available review platforms around your place, such as Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Here is what your account should include when you reply to a bad restaurant review:

  • Updated working hours: let people know when they can visit or order from your restaurant. Keep them updated, if you don’t want to risk getting more negative restaurant reviews from people who showed up in front of a closed restaurant;
  • Link to website: show clients you run a trustworthy business by linking your profile to your restaurant’s website. Bonus points if you have a visible menu button on it that leads to an online restaurant menu where clients can order instantly. If you don’t, we can help you with a sales optimized website that can convert visitors to clients. Click here to get started.
  • Location: try to include some indications, like closest metro or bus station to help people reach your restaurant;
  • Contact information: link to your social media to grow your chances of getting loyal customers;
  • A variety of photos: entice potential customers with a variety of food photos and pictures of the restaurant’s décor.

You receive important feedback

As your restaurant depends on the customers’ orders, focus on their feedback to improve your business. Take to heart every comment and investigate further to get to the root of every problem.

You can ask the reviewer to send you more details in a private message or through email so you can offer them the best solution.

For example, if you read more than three comments complaining about cold food, you clearly have a problem along the delivery process. Find out what is wrong and let the reviewers know when you have solved the issue.

You build trust with your community

If you ignore bad restaurant reviews, the audience will think you don't care about the business and how it is perceived. On the other hand, if you reply to every comment, even with short answers, you show customers you care and want to offer them the best experience.

Show your community you care about their opinion by posting personalized replies, including their name, and inviting them to discuss further in private.

You can improve your local SEO

Google has many factors involved in ranking a business in local results, and online Google reviews amount to 16% of them. Consequently, if you want your restaurant on the first page of Google, mention your business’s name every time you reply to a positive review.

Avoid including your restaurant's name when replying to bad reviews, as your ultimate goal is to change them.

Improve your Google rank and prevent bad reviews Provide customers with an online ordering system for free Start now

Read more: How to Optimize Google My Business for Your Restaurant: Must-Know Tips

You can change bad reviews into happy customers

Not only can a bad review be a learning experience, but with a little effort and the right words, you can convince the clients to give you a second chance.

If you solve the problems mentioned in the reviews and invite the customers back for a flawless experience, they may change their negative review into a positive one.

Easy to follow formula for replying to negative reviews

How to respond to negative restaurant reviews? Rely on our easy to remember formula!

It may be hard to remember all the advice when replying to bad restaurant reviews, but, in time, it will become second nature. For starters, we are here to help you with a simple formula you can copy-paste into your sticky notes and personalize every time you need it.

Thank them for their time - Say sorry – Empathize with their situation – Offer a solution – Invite them to discuss further in private

Let’s see an example:

Bad restaurant review: We ordered two times, and both times the food arrived cold! The pizza looked good, but we couldn't really enjoy it as it was not hot!

Answer using the formula provided: Hello Mike! Thank you for taking the time to review our restaurant! I am sorry the food arrived cold, and you could not enjoy our delicious pizza. I want to make it up to you and offer you a voucher for a free meal, please contact me at name@restaurant to discuss further details! Have a good day!

Tips for replying to bad reviews about your restaurant

It’s important to respond to every bad restaurant review, and it is essential to do it promptly. Make it a habit to check every review platform at least once every two to three days and reply to any new comments.

Moreover, pay attention to spelling and grammar. To maintain a professional image for your restaurant, the message should be easy-to-read with structured paragraphs. Here are more tips for turning bad reviews into positive ones.

Address the reviewer

Some restaurants make the mistake of using the same standardized response for every review. This shows they don't care about their customers. They only want to please the search engines by leaving a reply.

Show your clients you value their opinion by addressing them by their name and including details about the situation mentioned in their comments.

Also, avoid replying as a restaurant (e.g., at the pizza restaurant, we are sorry to hear that). Instead, be personal, such as "Hello, Mike, my name is Andrei, the owner of X place, and I would like to personally apologize."

Present apologies

Firstly, never reply to reviews when you are angry. Some bad restaurant reviews can be awful and directly attack you, the owner, or other people and things you may hold dear. Take a few deep breaths and allow the anger to wash away so you can reply calmly and professionally.

Apologies are important because they show the restaurant's human side, and clients want to see the business take responsibility for its mistakes. There may be cases of false complaints, but you can still apologize that they had a bad experience and try to solve the issue in private.

Don't forget to thank the reviewer for the time they took to write about their experience. It is a great conversation starter, proving you are open to problem-solving.

Empathize in writing

Try to put yourself in the reviewer's position to empathize better with their situation. Don't get defensive. Maintain a professional and helpful tone, set on coming up with a solution that will benefit both the client and restaurant.

If you find that you are at fault for the problem described in the review, take full responsibility and don't leave it up to interpretation. Let the client know you understand their feelings and what went wrong and are available for further discussions and solutions.

Offer a solution

This is the most important part of a response to a bad review as it shows you aren't replying just for views. You are actually taking action. Explain how you resolved the error the client identified and what you plan to do to prevent the same issues in the future.

Even though you may not be able to sway that same customer into changing his reviews, other people will appreciate your openness to change and fast problem-solving.

For example, if a client had a problem with a rude waiter, let them know the employee was reprimanded and will participate in more training to improve customer interactions.

You can also offer some sort of retribution (free meal, a voucher for two more orders, etc.) as both a solution and a way to incentivize people to revisit your restaurant and have a better experience.

Encourage discussions in private

You can't write entire novels as a reply to bad restaurant reviews, so encourage reviewers to continue the discussion through other means, such as mail, phone, or direct message.

This way, you let them know you are not dismissing them but are willing to spend as much time as necessary to resolve their complaint.

Keep the answers short and sweet and any further interaction away from the review platforms as you don’t want other people to witness the whole process. Not to mention, all the replies will then be forever available on the internet for any search engine to find.

Examples of bad restaurant reviews and how to reply to them

The formula and tips provided above can be used for every review platform, but each one has some specific features you must consider. Let’s take them one by one and see some examples of how to efficiently reply to bad restaurant reviews.

Read more: 10 Restaurant Review Sites You Need to Be on Right Now

How to reply to bad reviews on Google

Bad reviews about restaurants left on Google also affect your SEO strategy as they are considered while locally ranking your business, so you should take extra care while replying to them. Here are some things you should always include:

  • If you can not come up with a solution on the spot, reply to the reviewer to let them know you are working on it and offer an ETA. Afterward, return and edit the comment;
  • Always end the message on a good note;
  • Only apologize if you were at fault for the issue.

Here is an example of an adequate reply to a bad review on Google:

bad reviews about restaurant

How to respond to negative reviews on Facebook

You want to use Facebook as a means to promote your business, not highlight its mistakes, so make replying to bad reviews a part of your marketing strategy. Let your mouth-watering food pictures shine and reply promptly to every comment:

  • Thank the reviewer for the time they took to review your business;
  • Offer an incentive for new orders or visits to your restaurant;
  • Offer to move the delicate discussion into direct messages where you can further assist them.

Here is a great example of how to reply to bad reviews on Facebook:

bad reviews examples for restaurant

How to reply to bad reviews on Yelp

Stand out from the millions of other restaurants on Yelp by implementing a clear strategy for replying to bad reviews. Here are a few pointers you must consider:

  • Include your name at the end or present yourself at the start of your reply to make it more personal;
  • Apologize for the specific problem they mention in the review;
  • Offer a discount or gift to help them change their mind and give your restaurant a second chance.

Here is a good example of replying to bad reviews on Yelp:

bad restaurant reviews examples, yelp bad restaurant reviews

How to respond to negative reviews on TripAdvisor

If your restaurant is located in a tourist spot, make sure to claim your business on TriAadvisor and update all the information so you will be easy to find with just a simple search on Google.

Keep your working hours and menu up-to-date to prevent any complaints related to incorrect information. Check out these tips for replying to bad reviews on Tripadvisor:

  • Don't use your restaurant's name in the reply. Only do so for positive reviews;
  • Offer details on how you solved the problem mentioned by the reviewer;
  • Maintain a polite and professional tone even if the review uses foul language.

Here is a professional example of replying to bad reviews on Tripadvisor:

bad reviews about restaurant
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How to respond to a 1-star review without comments

Probably the most dreaded type of reviews, the ones that come with no explanation. Are they fake, is the competition trying to lower the score or is it just an unhappy customer with no time for a detailed review?

No matter the reason behind the 1-star review, you should treat them as a normal bad food review sample and respond to them. Here are a few examples to draw inspiration from:

  • “Hello, Adrian. I am sorry you were not happy with your experience at our restaurant. Could you tell us what the problem was so we can come up with a solution? I am always available at!”
  • “Hello, Monica. I was very sad to see your low rating. Please let me know what wasn’t to your liking. We strive to make every customer happy, and I would hate for you to have a bad opinion about our restaurant. Let’s talk at and try to find a solution!”

Restaurant review responses for neutral or 3-star ratings

We’ve seen more than one example response to a bad restaurant review, but there is one more question we would like to help you answer: how to respond to a 3-star review without comments?

You see them often, just a name and a star rating, without any explanations. As 3 is the middle ground between 1 and 5 it could be considered a neutral review. Therefore, should you ignore them?

The answer is a resounding NO. You must respond to them, but in a different way than you would reply to negative reviews. Thank the reviewer for the time they took to rate your restaurant and invite them to tell you in private how you could offer them a better experience next time.

Here are a few examples:

  • “Hello Michael, thank you for taking the time to rate our restaurant. Could you tell us what we could do for you to give us a top rating? We appreciate any suggestions. Contact me at”
  • “Hello Elisabeth, thank you for rating our restaurant. If you have the time, please contact me at to let me know how we can create a better experience for you next time you visit. Have a lovely day!”

How to avoid getting bad reviews for restaurant service

Getting bad reviews is unavoidable, no wonder there are so many searches for “responding to negative restaurant reviews examples”. You and your team are only human, and you are bound to make a mistake.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing all that is in your power to prevent errors from happening. Your best bet is to start relying more on technology. For example, our online ordering system will streamline your order-taking process, eliminating any chance for human mistakes.

Clients can easily place the orders directly on your website and you accept them and offer and estimated time of arrival with our intuitive order-taking app. Check out this video that shows how you can set up online ordering for your restaurant in 10 minutes:

You should also consider getting more positive reviews on Google and other review platforms to offset the bad food reviews examples. Ask customers in person, on social media and through email campaigns to leave you a great review if they enjoyed their experience with your restaurant.

To get more reviews fast, you can consider offering a small discount for every review or a restaurant contest where you choose someone from the latest reviewers to win a special meal for two.

How to reply to positive restaurant reviews (+ examples) to entice loyalty

As we have previously mentioned, you should reply to every review, no matter the type. While for a bad restaurant review, you may have to take a breather and struggle to find the right words, replying to good restaurant reviews should be a piece of cake.

You should obviously start by thanking the customers for the positive review. Go further and make them feel special, show your interest in their opinions. End by either offering them a small promotion for the next order or inviting them to try a dish they might enjoy, based on their previous orders.

With our online ordering system, you can offer happy customers a restaurant promo code in no time. We recommend creating a promotion with “5% off the next order”, create the discount code and offer to send them the promo on email. This way, you entice people to become loyal customers.

Check out this video to learn how to create discount coupon codes with our efficient online ordering system:

Here are some good restaurant review replies to draw inspiration from:

  • “Hello Elena, thank you so much for your kind words. We are verry happy you enjoyed your time here are at Taco Worldwide Experience. Clients like you motivate us every day to give our best. We’d like to reward you with a little discount for your time and beautiful thoughts. Please email me at and I’ll send you the coupon code. Hope to see you again soon!”
  • “Hello, Rachel, thank you very much for sharing your positive experience with us. We enjoyed having you and your family dine at our small family restaurant. The chef was absolutely delighted when you complimented our traditional pasta ala norma as it is a family recipe. We have since introduced more traditional recipes in Nonna Gia’s menu, like rigatoni ala ragu and arancini con spada. Please visit us again and let us know if you like the new additions.”


Bad restaurant reviews greatly impact a restaurant's success, so you must always use a professional approach when replying.

Make it a habit to respond promptly and use the formula above to get accustomed to providing a personalized answer that includes all the relevant information, such as apologizing, offering solutions, and incentives.

Empathize with the reviewers and reply to convince them to change their minds and give your restaurant a second chance.

Otilia Dobos

Otilia Dobos is sometimes a content writer, other times a copywriter, but always produces high-quality content that helps clients up their marketing game. She devotes her attention to helping restaurant owners have a successful business with well-documented and SEO-optimized articles.

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