The vast majority of UK customers will make a decision on where to eat based on an online review, according to TripAdvisor.
The study by the customer review site looked at what online channels people used to choose a place to eat – and what content influenced the most, including reviews, photos, and replies by owners and managers.
It discovered that 52 per cent of people were influenced by photos of the venue – and 87 per cent would base a decision on whether to eat at a place solely on an online review.
TripAdvisor also revealed that 94 per cent of people had read a management response to a review on their site – with 80 per cent finding such a response helpful.
It said: "Responding to both positive and negative diner reviews can help you improve your restaurant's service and ultimately attract new diners. In fact...the majority noted that they found it helpful and that it encouraged them to try a restaurant, despite a bad review."
The study also found that 64 per cent claimed they preferred to use TripAdvisor when at home, while 70 per cent used it when abroad.
Additionally, the website pointed to the importance of mobile devices in the decision making process.
It said: "Survey results reveal that diners are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to find restaurants while on-the-go, with up to 79 per cent of respondents in some markets reporting that they regularly research restaurants nearby via their phones."