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Online Customer Review Tracking Tool

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

 

hello restaurant owners,

 

my background - i am an engineering student looking to develop a new web service geared to the food service industry (specifically to help the local mom and pop restaurants in my community in Canada).  i am here asking for some input if this idea would be worthwhile pursuing and to hopefully understand the interest level. 


the idea - restaurant owners would login to a website that aggregates customer reviews geared specific to their industry 

 

why its useful - my assumption is that most restaurant owners are too busy to spend time to go online and research what customers are saying about their industry (ie. what foods/decor/service they like, what they don't like) and knowledge such as customer reviews are often overlooked/ignored simply because the complexity of gathering it and the time required to do so.  the second problem i'm trying to solve is, "which of my competitors should i be keeping my eye out on because they are gaining popularity online?". This would help identify industry/cuisine specific (ie. Greek food) competitors to keep an eye on (ie. their social presence) and aggregate public information about them (again saving you time to find these review sites, and identifying who to check out)

 

how i would add value - you might think, "well i can simply go onto sites like Yelp and read it myself"; where i come in to help is I aggregate and compile more relevant information specific to your industry and your physical location from multiple review sites to save you time.  for example if you are a greek restaurant - i would first use an algorithm to determine 3 leading local greek restaurants that you may or may not know of, and provide you reviews from multiple different review sites so you can read what customers like/dislike about them (competitive knowledge).  secondly, i will provide a keyword counter which tells you if the most common thing customers are talking about is "Souvlaki" for example. third, i also present the basic company profile (website/blogs/menus/location) if available - these all act as a good benchmark and should help your own restaurant in terms of "direction".  how i identify these 3 leading local greek restaurants is based on an algorithm which monitors the "chatter" (ie. which greek restaurant are customers talking about) on review sites. the term 3 "leading" restaurant may be misleading.. more like top 3 "reference" or "benchmark" restaurants.  on top of that you would be able to search up nearby restaurants and if there are reviews about them, it would show up.

 

would appreciate any feedback so I can deliver something useful to this industry!

 

THANK YOU!!


Edited by andrewc - 1/18/12 at 3:45pm
post #2 of 10

Hello Andrew and welcome to Cheftalk.

 

I'm moving your introduction to the General discussion forum on here, where you will get input from both professionals and those of us who are keen amateurs!

post #3 of 10

It's an interestig idea, but why M & P's (mom & pops)?

 

If there ever was a good description of "independant", it would be a M & P.

 

But yes, we  (m&p's) have no time to read social media, and yes an aggregator would be a time saver.

 

But why?

 

There are two types of people who walk into parties with a brand new hairstyle:  Those who are independant, and really don't care what others say about said new hairstyle, and those who canvass everyone's opinion and run about willy-nilly, getting more and more confused with each new opinion.  Social media is just another word for "gossip".   

 

Most M&P's are very well aware of what is going around them, but choose not to---for many reasons-- to adopt other's suggestions.  I for one, am proud to make and sell my own stuff, ideas, and willavoid at all costs trying to sell the same items as competitors.  I do not want to compete on price or quantity.  I am comfortable with my quality and originality.

 

Web based businesses ar just like any other businesses in that they need a source of income.  And paying for a collection of gossip, is not my idea of money well spent.  I.m.h.o. anything web based that is free won't be free for long, in that the service was provided only for collecting information and then folds, or sold to a company that will charge for the service. 

 

I'm sure others will have different ideas, but this is my take. 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

hi foodpump,

 

thanks for the input. i would agree completely that web base services need an income to continuously evolve to what the end-user demands.  the intention was to have an annual fee for the service but nothing outrageous like some of the few existing "review trackers" out there (mainly used by big hotel chains).  these are also offered to restaurants but with costs ranging from $150-$250 per month (on top of $350 start up costs) i think it is a bit out of the reach to the local M&P's.  bit far from even considering a price for this service but I had in mind about $10/mth. eventually covering wages for (1) a technical developer and (2) a physical report mailed out to the restaurant.  i'm curious to know if you think that might be worthwhile? (ie. every quarter you receive a report in your mail of reviews from customers about either your own restaurant or restaurants within the same cuisine)    

 

for whatever reason i think as much as anyone knows their own business - things are still continuously changing and having a form of feedback is essential, regardless of how well things are managed! .. so a lonely engineer thinks : )

 

your hairstyle analogy was quite an eye-opener for me. never saw it like that.  respectfully i would disagree that social mention is gossip.  being in college myself, i've seen a trend with discussing dishes/restaurants growing online. some people go to lengths in blogging about what they enjoy eating (one example, http://eatdrink-and-be-mary.blogspot.com/2011/08/myungdong-kalkuksu-noodles-and-shabu.html). and in my honest opinion reading about a friend's opinion does sway my vote in where i eat!  

 

is it correct to assume your opinion is that the majority of M&P's would have no interest in receiving customer reviews? my impression now (based on your opinion which i'm taking very seriously!) is that it is just something 'interesting to read' but does not hold enough real value to create action on.

 

-andrew

 

post #5 of 10

Andrew,

 

For those local independent (M&P) restaurants that depend on local traffic, it would probably have little or no value.

 

When I operated a small restaurant, I would not have utilized it had it been free, the feedback walked in the front door wink.gif

 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #6 of 10

Well, I do get constant "feedback", coming either directly from the customer, or from the feedback comments on our website.

 

It's not the price, but just the fact that I would have to pay for a collection of coments.

 

Even at $10.00/mth, I feel my money would be better spent with "pro-active" forms of generating business. 

 

My personal opinion of "impossible" is trying to please everyone all the time.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

foodpump/McCracken: thank you for the feedback. spent the last few days thinking about this idea and decided to trash it : ) 

 

wanted to run another simple idea by you (or anyone else).  in terms of online marketing, my opinion on building the quickest and most cost effective online presence is getting your basic business listing (name/address/phone) listed in the major and local directories (major = Googles while locals = review/directories specific to your region ie. Toronto). 

This process of getting your basic listing added (which is free) does not require someone to be very tech-savvy but does require quite a bit of time.  Beyond the basics like Google Places, Yahoo, Bing, YellowPages, Yelps, there are literally hundred others.  I would say many of these other directories should not be overlooked.  For example, one branch of "directories" that local restaurants should get listed onto are smart phone applications (ie. Gowalla, FourSquare, FoodSpotting).  Smartphones are without a doubt a growing trend and students like to use their phone to tell them what is nearby to eat (we never know where to eat).  Aside, there are new "review" sites opening everyday and magazines going online that list local restaurants.

 

The challenge to the restaurant owner becomes making time to comb through the internet continuously to keep up with all these and make sure your listed (if not, the procedure to get listed is slightly different from directory to directory, ie. submitting via email, finding the right page where you can submit listing, confirming via phone, etc).

 

the idea is - helping restaurants "get listed" specific to their location.  essentially i would start by picking one location (ie. Toronto, Ontairo) then comb through the net finding all sites/directories/services/magazines tied specific to the location and save restaurant owners this time of getting listed! 

 

what do you think?

 

 

post #8 of 10

IMHO, this idea has some merit, especially if it is set up for, say, a one-time, business card type entry, wel, maybe a trifle more:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Cuisine, style,
  • hours
  • Cash, CC,DC, etc.

 

Fill it out ONCE, gets to all directories

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #9 of 10

I think Pete's got the right idea.  Sounds good

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

  


Edited by andrewc - 1/31/12 at 10:57am
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