If you are reading this article you are one of the brave. Strong enough to take the risk and I commend you. You may find yourself second guessing things about your venture like location, vendor selection and finding quality employees. One overlooked aspect of owning a successful restaurant, or any business in today’s modern age is an effective online presence and a quality website. This blog will steer you in the right direction. Here are ten items you should implement on your website.
10. Allow Customers to Make Reservations Online
Adding a simple widget like Open Table’s Make a Reservation for customers brings several advantages. First and foremost, it is an almost guaranteed seating. This is an easy to implement feature that makes your restaurant a priority. If they can book right then and there why would they continue to search for other options. It also implies that your restaurant is in high demand.
9. Offer Online Promotions
Promotions help get first time customers in the door. They range the gamut from loyalty points (Fivestarts) to local events (Restaurant Week). If you are struggling with content for social media, running a contest can spur photographic masterpieces. Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google Maps nowadays push direct traffic. A promotion to drive reviews can kill two birds with one stone. By drawing attention to your restaurant with a promo, you can keep your restaurant top of mind.
8. Social Media Integration
You may question the cost and resources on actively posting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter but three out five Centennial’s buying decisions are influenced by social media. Might as well stick your Instagram feed on your site so people can feast with their eyes. Maybe someone wants to showcase your menu to their friend, add a social media sharing icon via AddThis. More content at a person’s fingertips can definitely drive sales and drive interest.
7. Responsiveness and Mobility
With various types of devices ranging from an Apple iPad Pro to a Google Pixel, your website’s content needs to reformat on the fly, better known as responsive design. The ultimate goal of a responsive website is to avoid pinching and pulling. In 2015, Google announced that a mobile friendly website would be a factor in their search results. At the end of the day, an improved user experience will drive your conversion rates.
6. Focus on SEO
SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is the practice of receiving top results on Google, Bing or Yahoo for specific keyword phrases. For instance, someone might search for “Italian restaurants near me” on Google. It is imperative that you’ve optimized your website… embedded title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and alt image tags on multiple pages. A few initial steps before you contact an SEO company include:
Defining your niche (i.e. romantic scenic italian restaurant, award winning vegetarian restaurant).
Make sure your contact information (restaurant name, address, phone), also know as NAP, are consistent across platforms.
Having customers reviews on Google Business, also known as Google Maps.
If you want to ensure that your restaurant is busy SEO is a win, win.
5. Newsletter Sign Up
Email isn’t going away. In the same vein, email newsletters are a simple way to let your existing client base be in the know. You can use it to drive sales through specials and highlighting new employees. You can connect with customers through helpful tips and recipes. You can even boost your social following or traffic to your site. Be sure to not purchase an email list but simple embed a sign up form on your site to gather those addresses. Once you have a few dozen people, choose a template and get cranking.
4. Make Location Easily Accessible
Especially with a mobile site, the less clicking the better results. Thus instead of forcing an individual to navigate elsewhere, it’s a no brainer to integrate a Google Map. Visitors can not only get a birds-eye view of your business but a street view, see recent reviews and get turn-by-turn directions. If embedding is proving to be problematic, worse case scenario simply provide a link to receive directions.
You know how important your menu is, so don’t skimp on photography. The old adage, “a picture says a thousand words” is definitely the case when it comes to your restaurant website. In this day and age it is tempting to use your thousand dollar smartphone but a professional can not only make your food sing but make your location that much more alluring. Environmental photography appeals to a client’s emotions. Professional food photography drives more sales.
2. Promotional Video
People vastly prefer watching compared to reading nearly spanning every industry and demographic. Video often helps you stand out from the pack by providing an entertaining and easily understandable way to educate potential clients on what differentiates you from the competition and why they should choose you. A few simple ideas for your video may include interviewing your chef, getting a client testimonial, explain the history of your restaurant and a walk through. Video can definitely be a costly venture but it will take your marketing to the next level.
You’ve spent countless hours begging customers to post reviews on a million different platforms… if you’ve been able to destroy the competition, might as well gloat, embed those reviews! Not every platform allows for this functionality thus it takes a specialist to make the magic happen. Google Business currently doesn’t have a simple widget but allows developers to utilize an API. Likewise for Facebook, they don’t allow for simple embedding thus it might be cost effective to utilize a tool like ReviewsOnMyWebsite.com or EmbedSocial.com. With a few clicks both Yelp and TripAdvisor make it a dream to add reviews to your site.
In conclusion, a well designed website with ample functionality will not only drive interest and inquiries but sales!