Last week I was sitting at Waverider's Coffee and Deli in Nags Head. I was waiting to meet a friend for lunch and I took a seat in one of the many sun-drenched seats by the window and scrolled through my Facebook feed. I mindlessly clicked on the “thumbs up” icon while friends shared photos of the waves in Hatteras or snapshots of their children’s handmade Valentine’s Day boxes. I love Facebook for these simple joys.
I kept scrolling and I noticed a local man and business owner had checked in to a locally owned restaurant. He took it upon himself to leave a heartless and crude review of the business and said that he would not be going back. My heart flip-flopped. I was surprised that someone who has built his own livelihood by word of mouth and self promotion on Facebook would knowingly knock another business. The folks that own this restaurant are truly some of the kindest people. They are a young family and their restaurant has always served our family so well. We dine in, we grab take-out on soccer nights and we seriously love their food. We’ve never had bad service and we recently introduced out-of-town guests to this great establishment. You know what we have never done? We’ve never left them a raving review online.
Months ago, I took family portraits for a great friend and her family. It was an honor and a joy to spend some time with this family and I was so happy to share their finished gallery with them. I was even happier to receive a holiday card from them with one of the portraits on it. As a friend, this was the ultimate compliment and I was beaming as I pinned it onto our holiday card display. I certainly wasn’t expecting them to review my photography services on Google but when I received a text alert that I had a new review I instantly clicked on the link. The rave review that they left for me was so kind and did my heart a lot of good but more than that, it boosted my online rating and I’m certain it will be the reason that someone else books their family portraits with me this Spring or Summer. I’m a sucker for a Christmas card but this review really and truly meant the world to me!
After my Facebook scroll I hit Google and left a rave review for the restaurant. I was so dumbfounded that someone had posted to Facebook about an experience instead of going directly to the owner or manager of the restaurant because as locals, we know that our businesses are personal and even just one back handed Facebook comment can really sting. Much like a rave review can make me feel like I’m on top of the world, a negative review can really impact a person who has put their blood, sweat and tears into their work.
As locals, we have a chance to advocate for the great local businesses that serve our community and our visitors. Remember when your mama told you that if you don’t have anything nice to say then you shouldn’t say anything at all? She was talking about social media and online reviews! We’re all so quick to talk about the negative aspects of an experience when in reality, most folks just want to hear about the positive aspects. I strongly believe that people want to hear positive reviews when making a decision on a business or a restaurant to patronize. I think it’s so important to take a complaint directly to a business owner or manager and exercise that avenue before you make an online post or review that won’t likely even make it to a manager in order to help improve future service. As locals, this is the time of year that we can come together for our favorite local businesses and leave them rave reviews. This simple practice has the ability to boost our local economy and line the pockets of some of our friends.
Last year I started Outer Banks Mom Approved as a way to share and advocate for the great local restaurants that make dining with children easier. My husband and I love to eat out and we’re so grateful to have so many great places that love to serve families and serve them so well. This little program is growing because people love to hear good things about our sandbar. After reading the negative post on Facebook, I’m making it a point to review local businesses on Google and Facebook more often, too.
So let’s spread the positivity today! What are some of your favorite Outer Banks businesses? Give them a shout out or tag them in the comments! Next time you dine out and love your experience, remember to drop a positive online review for them! You just might make someone’s day! I know I am counting down the days until The Rundown Cafe in Kitty Hawk reopens for the season on March 1st so I can enjoy a meal with my family on their famous Hula Deck!