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This is copied direct from The National Restaurant Association:

To remain competitive in the restaurant industry, your online reviews must be strong and current.

To get new customers to come in and old customers to sing your praises, you need proactively manage your online reputation.

Consider that 85 percent of consumers use the internet to find local businesses. They choose which establishments they will patronize by comparing real customer reviews and ratings, as well as businesses' websites. (Tip: Make sure your site is mobile friendly; many customers search for restaurants on-the-go.)

Getting those important diner reviews is easier than you might think. Here are five simple ways to get your biggest fans to be your best advocates online.

• Create a handout to with every receipt. Instruct patrons where to go online to write a review, and let them know what they will get in return. Good feedback is worth a lot, so offer something patrons want, such as 10 percent off their next meal or a free dessert.

• Print table tents with QR codes that direct customers where to post feedback about your business. That makes giving feedback quick and accessible while they dine.

• Create your restaurant’s profile on a variety of review sites, including Google, Yahoo local, Zagat,, Yelp and UrbanSpoon. The more places your business appears, the easier people can find you and post feedback.

• Link to your review sites through your social networks. People who are fans of your restaurant or “like” it on Facebook are the prime audience to ask for a quick review. Post links to various sites often, and remember to thank your fans when they complete a review.

• Respond to every negative review, and make it right. Ignoring or deleting bad reviews on any site can negatively affect your online reputation. The U.S. Customer Experience Impact Report revealed that 82 percent of customers left because of poor customer service, and 55 percent said failure to resolve their problems in a timely manner drove them away.

So, be proactive, respond kindly and promptly, and try to make the reviewer happy. And NEVER delete reviews. Follow these simple tips, and soon your foot traffic will be higher than your puff pastries.

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