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Hey everyone, I’m high.

Not what you might think 😜 😜 😜 😜

I’m on a high right now as I write this because my little restaurant “that could” has just hit “#1 in Bethesda” on TripAdvisor.com out of 273 restaurants.

THAT is a big deal.  Now I realize the scope of what this is, and what it is not.  But we have to CELEBRATE this victory.

Working so hard at our craft, and working at our reviews and making sure the best we can that our guests are as happy and see the value we offer has paid off!

The business take on all this relates to how important being a tech savvy restaurant (or small business) guy is.

Gone are the days where you just put up a sign, make some decent food, and HOPE folks come in and eat.

It takes hard work of course for the “basics” to be right.

Happy guests.

Great food.

Pleasant staff, that are happy to be with you.

But even after that, doing what you need to do to keep track of all your online reputation is so important.

In 2017 we can’t just run our restaurant and rely on “old school” word of mouth.  We HAVE to be aware of as many online reputation sites as we can.

The obvious ones are Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor.com, OpenTable and so many more.  While you may never be aware of all the places your restaurant is listed (they often copy each other’s data as “new” reviews), by monitoring the biggest ones (or paying a company to do so) you can make the most of your time and keep an active communication with the people that review  you.

Often when new guests who have never been there look at your reputation online, they’ll notice that you are actively answering questions and addressing reviews, it’ gives them a sense of calm that you’re actively involved in your restaurant.

So for us at Chef Tony’s we have taken our online reputation very seriously.  We engage a company to HELP with our social media management, post pieces of content and answer some of our reviews.  We usually “vet” the comments to make sure the flavor of the writing is in line with our style, but most importantly is that we are active and quick to get back to people if they have comments or questions about our restaurant.

What has kept us very well regarded, and actually hitting #1 on TripAdvisor.com is actively pursuing our reputation by sending emails to our list and using an inbuilt tool on TripAdvisor.com to email anyone who is on our list to ASK for reviews.

You cannot just simply wait for people to review you, most will never make the time, even though it’s just a few minutes.  People are just so busy, and you probably won’t be top priority in their day.

But if you ask for the review, writing an impassioned email to your followers showing how important it is, you’ll get quite a bit.  On my most recent push of just 600 people, plus maybe 12 in a personal email to a few people, I garnered over 40 reviews.  This is a big deal.  It is probably what put us over the top and got