The Impact of Loadshedding on Restaurants and Negative Customer Reviews: A case of Ons Huisie – Blouberg Family Restaurant (Rating 4.2 Stars from 6 628 Google reviews)
The negative effects of load shedding on the economy are lamented by economists, investment advisers, the South African Reserve Bank, Statistics SA, market commentators, and the public. Saying that South Africa’s power supply is in a terrible state would be stating the obvious. Although the electricity supply crisis is not a new occurrence, what has changed recently is the frequency and timing.
One can only fully comprehend the challenges of trying to run a business without electricity for hours at a time, every day, by hearing about the experiences of other business owners. It is clear that some businesses are impacted by the ongoing and deteriorating power situation more than others. eKomi, therefore, gained insight into the difficulties faced by owners, most of whom are sole proprietors, and the preparations they need to make to deal with load shedding through a visit to Ons Huisie, Blouberg Family Restaurant on the West Coast, Table View in Cape Town, South Africa.
Restaurant Business and Loadshedding
Due to load shedding, the struggling hospitality industry across South Africa is using alternative power, like gas and fuel generators, to keep business going. But the current situation is becoming much more difficult due to record-high fuel prices and the upcoming festive season. According to estimates, load shedding could cost SA more than R4 billion per day, and most restaurant businesses suffer greatly as a result of this.
Generally, businesses are impacted by load shedding in a variety of ways. No matter what the business does or the industry it is in, load-shedding power outages will almost certainly have some impact on it. Restaurants usually operate in a hectic and frantic, so a power outage indeed adds stress in creating a wonderful dining experience for guests. Some restaurants can’t trade because they still rely to a great extent on electricity. This means they can’t provide their customers with the kind of service they deserve if they don’t have access to this crucial resource.
However, some have made shifts to cater for their customers. Though alternatives exist, the much worrying issue with business operators lies in the negative comments displeased customers leave online. Worse, if untrained staff are unable to satisfy the visitors properly because of a lack of help or negligence, it may result in complaints, and they might decide not to dine in that restaurant again.
Industry Impact of Negative Customer Reviews
The adage “perception is reality” holds true in the restaurant business world. A high overall customer rating and positive reviews for restaurants can significantly increase customers, higher customer lifetime values, and a better bottom line. Negative reviews, on the other hand, might result in fewer customers and lower sales for a business. The consequences of negative reviews can seriously affect a restaurant’s success.
Loadshedding has become a huge factor that influences service failure in restaurant dining experiences that result in unfavourable online reviews. Consequently, any service failure that impacts the quality of the food or the cleanliness of the establishment results in customer participation in unfavourable online reviews, plans to switch restaurants, and discouragement of potential customers from making a purchase.
Service quality is a strong and important determining factor of service failure that affects behavioural intentions and is superior to other significant predictors. Moreover, the demeanour of the front-line staff is likely to result in dissatisfied customers. In an interview with Gregory Kotze the Manager at Ons Huisie Blouberg Family Restaurant, he emphasized the impact of loadshedding on their business, he said, “Everybody has become used to loadshedding. It should not be like this.”
“It is absolutely chaos when the power goes off twice during the day for two hours at a time. We often have to simply close up early,” he said. They use gas and generators, but nonetheless, the service becomes slower and often clients get frustrated with the time taken from order to getting the food. As such, disgruntled customers do not hesitate to post negative reviews based on their experiences, and this has been by far the most challenge they have had to address to maintain their reputation.
“I cannot penalize my staff if they get negative and pressure from clients, because we all know the harsh reality of loadshedding,” says Kotze. He added that “my staff are fantastic and come in early and work late when required. But I can only ask so much from them.” Conversely, online reviews unquestionably play a significant role in luring or discouraging potential clients. Negative online reviews put the restaurant’s reputation in danger and reduce business.
Even if ten positive reviews convince a customer to eat at a specific restaurant, one incredibly negative review can completely alter their opinion. Reviews that are unfavourable have this effect. Therefore, restaurants must successfully manage and react to negative reviews for this reason. According to recent research, customer attitudes toward service providers can be changed through recovery efforts, meaning it is possible to identify disgruntled users, address their problems, and convert them into loyal customers.
Many restaurants are either unaware of the effects on their business or are unsure of how to handle unfavourable online reviews. It is a wise business move to create a plan for managing the online reputation and responding to unfavourable online reviews as part of the digital marketing strategy. Restaurants should use consumer feedback and online reviews to identify potential improvement areas.
A long-term marketing plan for the restaurant should include having enough positive reviews to outweigh the few negative ones and provide a balanced net positive reputation that makes customers feel good about your establishment, food, and service. Customers can then trust your restaurant to deliver the dining experience that their loved ones, friends, and co-workers are looking for.
Conclusion – Industry’s Productivity and Power Supply
There has never been a better time to concentrate your efforts on obtaining favourable consistent ratings for your restaurant in the current market, where customers are more dependent than ever before on online ratings and reviews for their dining decisions. We hope you found this article illuminating and if you are interested in learning how you can increase customer lifetime values by concentrating on developing a stellar reputation in this cut-throat sector. eKomi team would be delighted to assist you in automating the process of obtaining more favourable consistent ratings and reviews as well as measuring customer feedback, so you can begin enhancing your restaurant’s reputation right away!