Around three years ago I almost had to close my family business, a small Italian restaurant which was started by my grandfather many years ago. This was a very difficult time for me but after a series of disasters and cash flow problems coupled with mounting debt, I was about 2 weeks away from closing the doors. I began to look online to see if I could find some inspiration which would get us out of this jam, and that was when I began to read some reputation management consultant reviews where business owners were waxing lyrical about the benefits which they had seen after using a rep management firm. I made the call and the guys set to work, this was my hail Mary, and it sure paid off.
One of the most damaging things that happened to the restaurant was that we were found guilty by association after a partner restaurant of ours, under completely different ownership I might add, had an outbreak of food poisoning because of poor levels of hygiene, and 2 diners were actually hospitalized. The internet blew up with campaigns to boycott our restaurant and the whole thing got out of control. The reputation management company started here and they were able to produce lots of positive information about the restaurant which drowned out all of the noise online about the ill-fated partnership.
I must confess that I am completely lost when it comes to modern technology and I usually leave that side of the business to my children. Something which none of us had really considered were the online reviews which were being left about us on pages other than Google such as Yelp. The rep management team were right on this and they set up alerts which would tell us when someone had left a review, good or bad. Using these alerts we could quickly respond to any reviews, good or bad, which showed the world that we take responsibility for our diners.
Prior to contacting the guys at RMC we did have social media pages but we weren’t very active on them and apart from the odd promotional post, we never really utilized them. When the team set about repairing and improving our reputation management they were very passionate about the need to completely revitalize our social media channels. Using their industry expertise they set up positive social media pages with content which was highly sharable and which stayed in line with the values of this family-owned restaurant. Our social media is now one of the most common ways that we get new customers through the door and we get a huge amount of great comments on there which we are always engaging with.
The reputation management team spent around a month on their efforts, during which time we managed to keep the business afloat. This was three years ago and last month I paid off our final creditor and the restaurant is booming.
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