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Socially Savvy: How to Cope with the Question of Price

Heather McNeil - June 2nd, 2014

As a tech-savvy social media consultant, Heather McNeil’s business is managing restaurants’ online presence and helping them navigate tricky Internet waters. Read more about McNeil in Online and On Top.

Dear Heather,

These kinds of reviews always stump me. While the review isn’t necessarily negative, I’m unsure how to tackle the “price question.”

Comment: I’m a meat eater. I liked [the restaurant]. I had a 1/2 order of Peking duck and shu mai. Both were very good. My date, a vegetarian, had a bowl of noodles and plum sauce, and pea shoots. Both were pretty good. I felt that the duck, at $20, was fairly priced. The pea shoots, at $16, was bizarrely priced.
The restaurant is pleasant and comfortable, but I won’t be taking my vegetarian friends. —Andrew

Response: Hi Andrew,
I wanted to address the issue of pricing with regards to the pea shoots. When I saw our menu for the first time, I had the same question. This may be more than you wanted to know, but hopefully provides some clarification.
This excerpt is from the book “The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen” by Grace Young and Alan Richardson.
May I ask why you won’t be returning with your vegetarian friends? Did your guest not enjoy their meal? I would love your feedback if you’d care to share it with me.
Thank you for dining at [the restaurant]. We appreciate your business! –Heather McNeil

When responding to reviews that discuss pricing of a particular dish, it is always best to provide an explanation. The last thing you want is for your guests to feel that it’s a haphazard process. In this example, I was able to offer a third party validation for the price of the pea shoots. Whether or not the reader clicks on the link (which simply states that they are one of the most expensive vegetables), the assumption is the justification is there. Not only does this validate your pricing structure, it establishes credibility by building trust. Remember, every person who reads these reviews is a potential customer. If you begin to establish trust online, you are one step ahead when the guest visits your restaurant.

Send your questions for McNeil to FoodArts@FoodArts.com.