A survey conducted by Pew Research and released early this year reinforces what restaurant brokers have been telling clients for years. Make sure you know what’s being said about your business online before selling your restaurant. 51% of adults get their information about local restaurants, bars and club from online sources. This includes search engines (38%), specialty websites (17%) and social media including Twitter (4%).
While the internet is a great source of data, it can also be a basis for misinformation or derogatory reviews. If you’re selling your restaurant, it’s important to know who's saying what about your business. Is the online chatter highly flattering or widely inaccurate? That matters when you’re selling more than ever because while 51% of adults will use the internet to check you out, it’s our experience that 100% of all restaurant buyers will do so. You won’t get more for your business because you have tons of followers or great reviews BUT buyers will devalue your business on the basis of bad reviews online.
Here’s a great tip for staying on top of what’s being said for restaurant sellers. Establish a Google alert on your business. All you need is a Google account. Follow simple instructions to set up prearranged search terms. Then every time your restaurant shows up in a new search, you get an email and a link to the posting. This gives you all the current chatter on your business in a timely manner. That’s important since time can be on your side to solve an issue or bury a bad review. You don’t want to wait to hear from five or ten people about a bad Yelp posting since by that time, it’s a sure bet that hundreds have already read the review.
Another tip if you’re selling your restaurant is to make sure you have a functional and up to date website. Your website should match your dining experience and be a true reflection of your brand. A restaurant broker can write a great ad promoting your business but it will be meaningless if the first thing someone sees online is a website getting calls from the 80’s for its graphics back. You don’t want to sabotage your chances for success in selling your restaurant with a sloppy website when it’s cheap and easy to bring it up to date.
Lastly, while you’re selling your restaurant, you want to make sure that business is stable or growing. As long as people look for information about local restaurants on the internet ahead of any other source, you need to control the conversation with those valuable customers. Those shopping online are definitely valuable. The survey shows those looking online earn $75,000 or more and have college educations. In addition, the 51% of adults who get information about restaurants, bars, and clubs from the internet are more likely to be women, young adults, urban, and technology adopters.
If you're selling your restaurant, stick to our motto of "no surprises." That includes the online ones.
Background on this report
Source: Survey conducted by Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism and Internet & American Life Project, produced in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
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