Consumer habits have changed a lot over the years. The current restaurant trend is clear – more and more consumers rely on online review sites and social media when picking a place to eat. It turns out that 90% of consumers use online restaurant reviews as the main deciding factor when looking for a place to dine.

This statistic is based on the new TripAdvisor survey that focuses on studying the “Influences on Diner Decision-Making“. This study was conducted at the beginning of 2018 with data from 9.500 international diners from Europe and the United States.

Diners rely heavily on online restaurant reviews

It’s clear that consumers put more and more trust into social media reviews and online reviews sites. And this is true for both traveling consumers and the ones that eat in their local area.

Right now, the dominant type of dining consumer is on mobile – the average diner persona pays attention to the dominant reviews, looks at user-submitted photos and checks for online owner engagement when looking for a new place to eat.

Looking at the average statistic, more than 90% of consumers report being influenced by online reviews, while over 70% are steered towards a certain restaurant after looking at online photos of the place.

The US is in the lead

A staggering 94% of US diners are reportedly influenced by restaurant online reviews. The number is comparable with the other countries that participated in this survey – 90% in France, 93% in Italy and 91% in Spain. The UK is a little behind with 87%.

This statistic should be closely analyzed by restaurant owners considering the fact that it’s mainly reflective of how consumers behave when looking for a new place to eat in. It’s clear that maintaining a positive suite of online reviews is one of the main strategies that you can use to attract new customers via digital marketing.


online reviews 1 - 90% of Diners Pick the Place Based on Online Restaurant Reviews



But the implications go even deeper than that. The same study shows that 31% of diners are inclined to spend more money on restaurants with positive reviews. On the other hand, having too many bad reviews might take away up to 70% of your new potential customers.

Restaurant photos are key

Another important factor that will impact the perception of the consumer is the photo section. The US is a little behind in this segment with over 60% reportedly being influenced by photos taken inside the restaurant. Spain leads the pack with 72%, while Italy, France, and the UK come in at 67%, 64%, and 52% respectively.

online photos - 90% of Diners Pick the Place Based on Online Restaurant Reviews


Other factors

Besides online reviews and photos, consumers looking for a new place to eat also take into consideration the availability of online delivery, the ability to make reservations and the presence of a mobile-optimized site or application where they can browse the menu.

One thing that is reported as detrimental for a restaurant owner is an establishment without a mobile presence.

reserving onlin statistic - 90% of Diners Pick the Place Based on Online Restaurant Reviews


The Takeaway

The world of digital marketing is getting more complex with each passing year. But since a lot of restaurant owners spend less than 10% of their time promoting their business online. This creates an opportunity for those of you determined enough to put the effort in to promote your small business online the right way.

As a restaurant owner, managing your online reputation is an essential part of running your business. While tending to your online reviews is extremely important, it’s mandatory to deploy other restaurant marketing strategies that will attract more customers if you want to get ahead of the competition.