As the owner/manager of an independent restaurant, your primary focus is likely on creating a one-of-a-kind dining experience that keeps guests coming back year after year. However, in today’s digital world, part of the guest experience needs to include a well-designed website that helps entice people to visit your establishment. The fact is that people increasingly research online when deciding where to eat, with nearly 60% of people viewing a restaurant’s website before deciding whether or not to eat there.
If your restaurant does not have a website, or it is outdated and hard to use, you are missing out on a substantial marketing and revenue opportunity, as people might choose a competitor with an eye-catching website instead of your restaurant. Yet, this may lead you to wonder what you should include on your website in order to help it stand out from the crowd. If you are considering creating a website for your restaurant and you are not sure where to start, here is a look at 5 things every independent restaurant should have on its website to help them attract customers.
When designing your restaurant’s website, it is important that you do not forget the basics. Make sure that the address, phone number, and hours are clearly visible on your website’s homepage. You want to make it as easy as possible for prospective guests to locate your restaurant, so they should not have to hunt around on your website to find your contact info. Otherwise, guests may get frustrated and look elsewhere.
Having accurate hours on your website will also save your restaurant staff some trouble, as this is one of the most common questions people call a restaurant to ask. Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly by making your phone number clickable so that mobile users can call your restaurant with one tap. Not only does this simplify things for guests but making your website as mobile-friendly as possible will also increase your Google search rankings. You should also include an email address or embedded contact form on your website where guests can contact you if need be.
Direct Links to Your Social Media
In line with making it as easy as possible for guests to connect with you and learn more about your restaurant, you should make sure that you connect your restaurant’s social media accounts to your website. Of course, this makes it critical that you establish a social media presence for your restaurant, and that you update your social media accounts regularly. In fact, it is better to have one social media account that is well-curated and updated regularly than to have social media accounts for your restaurant on multiple platforms that you never use, as people may think it is no longer in business if your social media account hasn’t been updated in months.
Not only is social media an extremely effective marketing tool that allows you to showcase the best that your restaurant has to offer, but it is also a great way for you to connect with your local audience. Social media is your opportunity to show what makes your restaurant special by posting photos of food and special events, as well as stories about your staff. Make sure that you update your social media accounts multiple times a week, and embed your social media links directly on your website so that it is easy for guests to access these accounts.
An Updated Menu
One of the most common reasons customers will visit a restaurant’s website is to look at its menu. In fact, as many as 93% of consumers prefer to look at a restaurant’s menu before deciding where to eat. This makes it critical that you not only include your menu on your website but that you keep it as updated as possible including current menu prices. More so than ever, the cost is of considerable concern to guests when weighing dining options, and if prices aren’t included on your menu online, guests may assume that your restaurant is too expensive for them, and they will move on to the next option.
When adding your menu to your website, make sure that you don’t simply upload an image or a PDF of your menu, as this can make it hard for mobile users to read and navigate your menu. Considering that the vast majority of diners use their mobile device when looking up places to eat, you want guests to be able to quickly and easily view, and search within, your menu on their smartphones. Make sure that you include a few photographs of your top-selling items on your digital menu to entice guests to visit your establishment.
Speaking of photos, there is no better way to leave a lasting impression with potential guests than including professionally shot photos of your restaurant and food on your new website. The fact is that we eat with our eyes, and if your website’s photos not only convey what guests can expect at your restaurant, but they also make guests hungry, then you are more likely to convert website guests to customers. You should then invest in high-quality photographs that will entice guests to want to try your food as soon as possible.
An Online Ordering System
Ordering food online from restaurants has grown in popularity in recent years, with roughly 60% of diners admitting to ordering takeout at least once a week. Thus, if your restaurant is not offering an option to place to-go orders online, you are missing out on a significant revenue stream. While there are popular third-party websites that you can list your restaurant on where guests can place online orders, these websites take a significant commission that can eat into your bottom line. Not only would an integrated ordering system on your website help you to cut out the middleman, but guests often prefer to order directly from a restaurant. When designing your website, you should then make it a priority to include an online ordering system, as this would allow you to better cater to the needs of current diners while also providing you with a new revenue stream.
While creating a new website for your restaurant is a major task, it also provides you with new opportunities to market your business, connect with guests, and meet changing industry demands. Feel free to contact us to learn more about the steps that you can take to optimize your restaurant’s website.