Many restaurants today believe that the quality of their service, atmosphere and food is all they will need in order to have a successful, thriving business. In part this is true, however a poorly maintained website can cause you and your business countless missed opportunities in revenue. Today, it’s routine for consumers to research restaurants online before choosing a new place to eat. Their decision will ultimately depend on how great your digital presence is and without the right elements, your restaurants website can expect a higher bounce rate.
Your website is a digital version of your brick and mortar location. You wouldn’t expect anyone to walk into your establishment if the windows were broken, the door off its hinges or rats were scurrying around the dumpster out back. No, you have to make a strong and trusting first impression which, today, is usually your website – your #1 digital doorway. Without a website that compliments your brand, your values and what makes you unique, you can kiss any new clientele goodbye.
The restaurant industry is saturated with outdated, poor-quality websites, this can reflect poorly on your business regardless of what industry you’re in. That’s why it’s pertinent that restaurants have the best-looking (and functioning) website possible. It’s important to always do your research on elements that will elevate your brand and your website. The imprint that the “World Wide web” has left on society is only getting bigger & stronger- so grow with it.
This may be stating the obvious but having an up-to-date menu on your website is probably the smartest thing to do for your restaurant. People like to try new things but first they must see if what they crave is out there, so they turn to Google and find your restaurant. After finding your restaurant, consumers tend to go straight for the menu and if they like what you are serving, they’ll look for your restaurant’s contact information. A responsive website menu that is integrated within your website is best. Don’t just upload a PDF or image file as your menu: these tend to not be mobile friendly and hard for users to read if viewing your website on mobile platforms. Of course, another great reason to have a responsive menu on your site is SEO. It’ll be easier for search engines to crawl your site for the necessary keywords pertaining your business. Search engines can not crawl the content in images, so try not to use them.
Over the years, I’ve come across numerous websites for restaurants where there was no contact information in sight. Imagine how frustrating this is when you’re starving or have a reservation request. As a business owner, put yourself in the shoes of your consumer and envision why they would be visiting your site. Usually, for one of several reasons. First they want to see your menu, and next they will want to call you. In order to do that they are going to need a clear and easy way to find your restaurant’s phone number. Beyond this they will also want to know your location, business hours, or how to ask a question (make a reservation). Make it clear where you are and how to get in touch with you. Don’t hide your contact information at the footer of your website; most people don’t make it all the way down. Keep your phone number & address at the top of all your pages in addition to the footer. Try linking your restaurant with Google Maps, this way consumers can click right on your location and receive directions. Also, a clickable number that is auto dialed when clicked is a great idea for your website.
Since your consumers can’t taste the amazing food while viewing your restaurants website, it’s important to capture that awesomeness through great photography. Give a glimpse of what you have to offer with great quality images on your website. When taking pictures of your food, remember that people like to see actual portion sizes, so be honest. Get some close-up shots as well but don’t go overboard, every menu item doesn’t need a picture- just the top-selling items. Make sure to take loads of pictures, even if you don’t use them all, they are great content for social media.
Investing in a professional food photographer is great for your business, as a picture can speak a thousand words. Low-quality, unappetizing images can be bad for business – so hiring a professional is the smartest thing to do.
One of the greatest things about browsing on your phone is that you can browse from the comfort of your couch, and consumers would like to book there as well. It’s 2018, that means more and more top food chains are resorting to online-ordering and reservations, and with more and more people wanting fast results – being able to book a table on your restaurant’s website is a must. Booking software like OpenTable, or Yelp Reservations are a great feature to have on your website. Do your research on what booking software t is right for your restaurant or call us for more guidance on your Booking (Reservation) Software Needs.
Just like Online Reservations, consumers want to have the option to order their food online. Fast food chains like Mcdonalds are implementing delivery services now, it’s not just for pizza or chinese anymore, even dine-in restaurant chains have a delivery/takeout option. If you plan on putting this feature on your website, make sure you have an SSL. Consumers feel more comfortable putting in their credit information on a secure website versus one that is not secure.
Want to know if your website is secure, click here and we’ll give you a free website audit.
As a Restaurant Owner, it’s understandable that you know a little something about atmosphere and what makes it enjoyable for others. Think of your website as an extension of your business, therefore, it should resemble it as well. Ask yourself this question: Does your website offer the same atmosphere as your actual brick & mortar location? Consistency is the number one rule to follow when it comes to branding. Don’t have a website that has nothing to do with what your brand itself has to offer, this can include colour schemes, pictures, typography, etc. When designing your restaurant’s website, you want to keep in mind the type of customers your trying to attract and expectations you are trying to uphold.
An event calendar is a great way to keep your consumers up-to-date on everything that’s going on in your restaurant. Whether it’s national lasagna day and your establishment is offering a free lasagna or you’re observing a holiday – event calendars will keep your consumers engaged and on your site longer. However, all restaurants many not need a event calendar but if you have rotating specials or frequent events, then a calendar might be something to look in to. If you decide to put a calendar on your website, just remember to update it frequently or what’s the point.
Hosting events or game nights at your restaurant can be a great way to attract new and existing clientele to your restaurant. Along with social media platforms like facebook and instagram, your restaurant’s website is the hub where all your customers can get the information or photos that they need – including events
According to Statista.com, 52% of all website traffic comes from mobile users, and we can tell you that number is only growing. It’s crucial for all restaurants websites to be able to adjust to any device or screen. Many people are on the go so searching for a restaurant frequently happens away from a computer. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, then you’re missing out on all those potential customers looking for something to eat on the go. Mobile websites have become extremely important in a time where most fast food chains offer mobile experiences and online payment thus steadily increasing the need for your restaurant site to be mobile friendly.
Restaurants should be cross-promoting their social media platforms. This could be said for all businesses, however that is a different blog for a different day. The frequently trending #foodie hashtag on instagram is one of their most popular and highly followed hashtags on the social media platform. Food Brands using this hashtag get twice the engagement versus restaurants who aren’t using it. A simple social post can elevate your brand. So get involved and get creative, make sure your brand has the correct social presence and then create a specific page dedicated to those links. Make sure that links to your social media platforms are updated frequently, especially if your handle has changed. Your social media should link back to your website as well, as many people use yelp, instagram and facebook to check out local restaurants in their area.
All businesses can benefit from reviews on their website but for restaurants, it’s a must. Before visiting any restaurant, salon, hotel, etc, I always check that specific establishments’ reviews. There are millions of people out there that do the same so why not make it easier for them and include this element on your restaurant’s website? Consumers are more likely to visit a restaurant if they have 4-5 stars and great reviews, and if you have it, flaunt it. Give your audience more reason to stay on your site and read those great reviews, then book a table.
Install a widget that connects to your Google Listing, when customers visit your website, they’ll see all the great things your fellow patrons have to say about your food
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well if that’s the case, video must be worth a million. Adding video to your restaurant’s website gives your brand personality and keeps your audience engaged, plus it makes great content for other social platforms. Here are some ideas of video content that you can put on your website:
Give your brand a little more personality, showcase some vulnerability by adding pictures of you (the owner) and the staff on your restaurant’s website. Let your audience know who is cooking and handling their food. Highlight your front-of the-house staff; put the staff that hold a higher position on your website first as the turnover for these workers aren’t that high. Keep in mind, if you decide to put staff pictures and blurbs on your website: regularly update that page.
If you offer catering or allow your restaurant to be rented out for parties, weddings, or other events, be sure to highlight this information on a separate page of your website. These can be huge opportunities for you and your business, so you want to make the information as easy to find as possible. Take as many photos of these areas and put them on your site for consumers to see. Otherwise, website visitors may be tempted to look
Be sure to include all catering pricing, size of rooms you have available, along with a price list for everything. This will alleviate the influx of calls inquiring about your pricing.
This element isn’t necessarily for actual consumers but more so for the restaurant’s success. In order to keep track of how successful your website and it’s elements are, you will need some sort of analytics software.There are numerous types of tools that can track website visitors to which pages get the most views.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few useful metrics you should be tracking
Kind of like an event calendar, email list are great for reminding consumers about the exciting things occuring at your restaurant. However, that is not all what email list can do, by encouraging your restaurant’s website visitors to sign up for your newsletter, you are capturing their business forever. Emails are the second best thing to a customer’s name and phone number so once you have them, use them in your Marketing Automation Plan.
As Business owners ourselves here at Center Stage Social, we understand and value the time time each and every entrepreneur puts into their brand. Otherwise, you would wouldn’t be reading this blog. We also understand the hard work it goes into running a business, especially a restaurant, that is why we have compiled this list of elements that can potentially heighten the success of your business. Not saying this blog is the answer to all of your problems but it will surely help with designing your website for success. It is important to have a website that stands out from your competitors, especially when so many look the same. You also want have a site that is functional and make sense to the consumer.
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