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How to get more reviews for your coffee shop

Hi there,


This almost doesn't even need to be written, but I'll just *chime in a bit.


YES. Your coffee shop needs reviews.


Reviews are social proof – they legitimize your business by folks who have been there before.


We're all human (though Neuralink is starting to blur the lines), and we value the opinions of others more than virtually anything else – even strangers.


Bakery with a long line out front? Color me intrigued. I want some!


Dozens of people watching the sky? Yeah, I'm probably gonna look up, too.


Book on the "Best-seller" list? Well, if a bunch of others liked it...


Et cetera.


It's that moment when there's 0 reviews that we start to wonder what's going on.


This relates to a cognitive bias called the "Second Dancer Phenomenon" – which essentially states that when a dance floor is empty, no one wants to be the first, but also, when there's just ONE dancer, they might be a weirdo. When the second dancer joins, okay, that's proof, I'll join in, too.


(BTW, I made a Chrome extension to remind about different cognitive biases every day – check it out :D)

Do all reviews have to be good?


Like the cognitive bias above, social proof is there to validate your business. To show that others have been there.


And, we can expect that not everyone will have a pleasant experience.


In fact, when ALL we see is 5-star reviews, our "fraud detector" tends to go off.


So, not all reviews need to be STELLAR. Take some 4-star. Even some 1-star reviews. Hey, you can't make everyone happy all the time.


As long as your aggregate score stays relatively high (4+).


In fact, you can even use your bad reviews in your favor:


One revered cafe in my city received a 1-star review simply stating "gross" – no mention of cafe, environment, service, etc.


Well, the owner took a screenshot and posted it to their social media asking their followers what they thought.


The response was overwhelmingly positive – the followers took the side of the owner and rallied. Ultimately building EVEN MORE brand affinity with their audience.


*slow clap

How to get more reviews for your coffee shop


Well, have you asked?


Most people won't think to write a review unless they've had an awful or amazing experience.


Yeah, I know amazing experiences are the goal, but they don't always happen – and when they do, the customer might not have the time/energy/access to leave a review.


Instead, solicit for reviews whenever you can. Follow this up with "Online reviews help us grow and thrive as a business."


When your baristas provide a great drink and the customer says "Wow, this is the best coffee I've had in months!" – make sure that barista knows to say thanks and follow up by asking for a review on Google/Yelp/etc.


Bring it up often.


Use these serendipitous in-person interactions, social media, your email list, and wherever else you communicate with customers to ask for reviews.


Make sure to mention or link to the platform where you're trying to build reviews. Reduce as much friction as possible.


Use these tactics to make leaving a review easy as pie:

  • Near the bus bin or exit, post a QR code that links to your review platform

  • Print QR code on small stickers and put them on cups, pastry bags, coffee travelers

  • Train baristas to ask for reviews when customers rave about the product

  • Include a link in your digital receipt template

  • Includes reviews on your website, with a button for visitors to leave their own review

  • Include your star-rating in your social media bio – this put social proof up-front

What not to do for reviews


The best situation is a beautiful, organic review that praises your cafe.


I discourage you from doing anything disingenuous related to reviews like:

  • Buying reviews

  • Trading a discount or free product for a 5-star review

  • Giving your competition poor reviews

  • "Yelling" at bad reviews you've received

  • Making fake accounts and leaving reviews yourself


Reviews represent your business – so make a habit of engaging in honest practices when it comes to reviews.

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