Twitter, Yelp and other social media platforms are beset with foodies and wanna-be restaurant critics who offer their comments at the drop of a napkin and in real time, particularly when they have a bone to pick with the establishment.

As it happens, the restaurateur most likely has a chance to respond, and try to pacify the poster in real time.

Twitter data suggests 78 percent of the customers who post negative tweets about a restaurant are still in the restaurant when they post the comment. Twitter brand strategist EImear Lambe, speaking at the Digital Innovation Forum in London last week, said that the platform’s data shows restaurants will usually be able to engage in damage control if they monitor Twitter for negative posts about the establishment.

“This means that if you are monitoring your Twitter feed, you have the opportunity to nip it in the bud and go over and solve the customer’s problems and turn it into a positive interaction,” Lambe told the forum audience.

Social media, whether it be Yelp, Twitter or other platforms, increasingly drives consumer choice in shopping or dining. Rather than arguing or even attempting to ban bad reviews, Taylor notes that restaurants can simply participate in the “immediacy of social media” to mitigate bad reviews.

Rather than issue apologies after the fact, “[r]ealizing that much of customers’ criticism occurs while they’re still eating gives restaurants the chance to directly address problems,” according to Kate Taylor at “Plus, tackling criticism head-on can silence critics who spew hate and exaggerated claims online that they would be unlikely to say to a server or chef’s face.”

Lambe told the London forum that 52 percent of Twitter users get restaurant information from the platform, making real-time social media monitoring a must. And following Twitter should be a priority, he said. Lambe pointed out that there are seven tweets posted about a restaurant for every one review on

While Twitter’s data shows that 72 percent of restaurant tweets are positive, Taylor suggested it is possible to inch the needle toward 100 percent. “[W]ith some careful monitoring of social media, restaurants have the chance to change their customers’ minds before they leave,” she wrote.


Taylor, Kate. 3 Out of 4 Negative Tweets Happen While Customers Are Still Inside the Restaurant; September 22, 2014.