By Jessica Ayre

Your pizzeria, like any other restaurant, needs plenty of online reviews to stand out from the competition. Potential customers rely on Google searches to find the best local pizzeria near them, because they want to hear what others are saying about your restaurant before they visit or place an order. Reviews are what help you rank first in those searches.

Here are five ways you can gather more reviews for your pizzeria while growing your reputation and winning more customers over time.

1. Ask for reviews in person.
One of the most effective ways to increase your online reviews is by simply asking for them in person. You can ask customers at checkout, by training your staff to say something like:

“We’re glad you enjoyed your meal! If you have a moment, we’d greatly appreciate it if you could share your experience with others by leaving a review.”

Provide customers with clear instructions on where to leave their review. This can be done by:

  • Sending a direct link to your review page via email or text
  • Posting a sign at your register advertising your review page
  • Giving them a business card with a QR code to scan that sends them to your review page
  • Simply sharing clear instructions on how to best leave you a Google review

Remember that customers will only leave positive reviews when they have positive experiences, so put those quality experiences at the top of your priority list as well.

Related: Who are the country’s leading pizza influencers for 2023?

2. Send an email review request after a visit.
Asking for reviews through email is a standard practice for collecting reviews and should be done after every transaction, shortly after purchase. You can ask for your customer’s email address at checkout or through your POS or online ordering service, depending on what you use.

Your email should acknowledge your customer and thank them for their business. Try writing something like:

Hi, [First Name]!

Thanks for choosing [Your Pizzeria]. We hope you enjoyed [Dish] and we’d love to hear your thoughts on your experience with us. Here’s a link to our review page [URL]. Thank you so much!

[Manager/Owner Name]

It’s important to keep your message brief—you don’t want to deter customers from leaving you a review by sending an overly long message.

3. Text customers to ask for their feedback.
Your review request will be seen almost instantly when you text it to your customers. Texts have a high open rate and give you an easy way to connect with customers after they’ve eaten at your pizzeria. Get customers opted in to receive texts by:

  • Having them text a keyword such as PIZZA to your business number, maybe for discounts on future orders
  • Asking them to opt in for texts at checkout via your POS or online ordering system
  • Putting an SMS Chat widget on your homepage, which customers can use to start text conversations with you

Once your customers are opted in to receive texts from you, send a quick thank you with your review link attached. Be mindful of the character count and keep your text short. Pre-made text templates come in handy here, so you don’t have to draft a message every single time you send a review request.

Touch on all key points, such as:

“Hi, [First Name]! Thanks for choosing [Your Pizzeria]. To best serve you and others, would you mind leaving us a review? Here’s the link: [URL]. Thank you!”

A well-equipped business texting software with review management capabilities can help you connect with your customers and manage reviews all in the same place.

Related: This pizza shop helped one boy make hundreds of new friends

4. Engage with your customers on social media.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are great spaces for your pizzeria to grow your reputation and gather even more reviews—especially since people flock online to ask their friends and family for must-try spots in the area.

As a pizzeria, you should maintain an active presence on social media platforms by engaging with users who tag your business, and also by posting the right content to draw your audience’s attention.

Here’s how you can start engaging your audience:

  • Post photos of your most popular dishes and daily specials
  • Offer behind-the-scene glimpses in the kitchen
  • Re-share any user-generated content with your customer’s permission
  • Share a link to your review page, encouraging customers to share their feedback

Social proof is extremely powerful, and people love seeing your customers’ experiences at your restaurant. Reposting a photo of an Instagrammed meal or sharing a customer testimonial goes a long way when it comes to vouching for the quality of your service and food. It helps build your credibility and looks good to potential customers who are looking for a place to eat.

5. Respond to every review—both positive and negative.
A good way to show customers that you appreciate their feedback is by interacting with every review they leave you. Even if it’s just a star rating with no words, you should respond and say thank you.

Be sure to vary your responses so customers know that a real person is behind the screen. With positive reviews, acknowledge the customer both by their name and the specific details of their feedback.

If they leave a negative review, apologize for their less-than-desired experience and ask them how you can make it right. Instead of trying to argue with the customer, it’s best to show how willing you are to find a resolution. The quicker you are to resolve their issue, the more likely you are to win repeat business—and a courteous, helpful reply will impress potential new customers who read your reviews.

Responding to reviews shows that you care deeply about both your customers and your business. This builds trust, grows your reputation and motivates customers to leave you the feedback you need.

Customer reviews help you understand what does and doesn’t work for your pizzeria while drawing new foot traffic to your business. By encouraging customers to share their feedback, you’ll create a positive loop that enables continuous growth, customer satisfaction and long-term success for your pizzeria.

Jessica Ayre is a content marketing specialist at Text Request, a business texting solution. If you want to utilize texting to strengthen your communication efforts, Text Request can give you all the tools and resources you need to create a successful text messaging strategy, including reviews management.