Let’s Give Them Something to Yelp About

You’ve done it! Before you commit to making a purchase, you do a quick web search and see what the consensus is on the item in question. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $10 phone charger, a $60,000 vehicle or selecting a venue for a night out. So, let me ask you this – Have you ever not made a purchase based on a bad review that you read? Most likely the answer is yes. In the hospitality industry, it’s no different. Potential customers are looking for something new and exciting. They’re looking for a place that people are talking about and they’re looking to make sure that if they make the trip or dedicate time to going out, they’re making the right decision. The challenge for you as a restaurant or bar is that people are more apt to leave negative feedback on their experiences rather than positive ones.

Part of our job is understanding who we are calling and identifying opportunities for improvement. As such, online reviews are a great start and after looking at thousands of venues we have noticed a couple of common areas to drive success with our service:

  • Service
  • Atmosphere

What the reviews are telling us

This is the biggest source of negative reviews and the biggest deterrent of new patrons. You’ve probably seen things like “We waited 20 minutes before someone took our drink order” or “It wasn’t even busy, but we waited over 45 minutes to receive our food order”. These types of reviews a killing your ability to attract new patrons. 

The solution – Reduce perceived wait time

Studies have shown that even if you can’t shorten the actual wait time, reducing the perceived wait time will have a direct correlation to customer satisfaction. No one likes waiting. If there is nothing to distract them from the wait you better believe they’re watching the clock, looking at their phone (and the time on it) and talking about how long it’s been since they placed their order or waited at the bar to get a drink. Having best-in-class entertainment is a key element that will help reduce that perceived wait time. Using visuals can reduce perceived wait time by up to 35% according to Celia Anderson at SignStix.



This is one of the biggest sources of positive reviews and the biggest driver for attracting new patrons. “They had a great vibe”, “The music was awesome!” or “This was a cool place, we had so much fun”. Reviews that echo these types of messages will be sure to bring in new patrons and start the ripple effect in terms of getting more and more positive reviews. Converting these newcomers into loyal patrons can make a huge impact on your bottom-line. Who doesn’t want to be the talk of the town right?

The solution – Making an emotional connection with your patrons


You don’t have to be a psychology major to do this. People like things that are familiar, consistent and speak directly to them. Music and associated visuals have a direct impact on the vibeAs outlined in this article by Mark Changizi in Scientific American, sounds and sights will evoke different emotional responses and attachments. Music and music videos that connect with your patrons will release dopamine and put them in a better mood. This is the type of connection you want to make that will encourage them to leave those positive reviews. Conversely, if you’re not playing the right music or visuals that relate to your customers it has a negative impact on their experience. Imagine you have a great vibe going and then someone walks over to the jukebox and puts on a slow ballad, a country song or a hip-hop song that doesn’t fit with the majority of patrons. What happens next… “Can I get the bill please?”. This is why dayparting strategies are so important in the bar and restaurant industry. Playing the right music and displaying the right visuals for each demographic you cater to creates that atmosphere they want to talk about to both the online communities and their friends.

Control Play makes it easy to not only provide best-in-class entertainment to your venue but also use our data-driven solutions to help you create that emotional attachment to your patrons. At the end of the day, you’re busy enough with all other operations and that’s why so many rely on us to build the perfect playlists, daypart strategies and visuals that create customers for life. 

See it in action with a Live Demo

Shawn Brown

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