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While the quality of food and service, ambiance, and location of your restaurant are all-important, so too is your restaurant’s website. Guests today will search online to find somewhere to eat, especially if they are tourists visiting your area.
Getting your web strategy right is vital if you want to keep customers coming through your doors.
A Mobile-Ready Design
The concept of having a mobile-ready design is not new. Since smartphones came to the market, these devices are the tool of choice for many consumers. We can interact with friends and family, download apps, search the internet, and view videos online—all while on the move.
According to statistics from mondovo.com, 83 percent of customers will look up directions and opening hours using mobile phones while 75 percent check out menu items. Increasingly, customers expect to see seamless integration between technology and their everyday lives. That certainly means your website, in the least, needs to look good on all mobile devices.
“Mobile search and voice search are dramatically altering the way we find a restaurant. Potential guests see your mobile experience as a direct reflection of the experience they will receive at your restaurant. If you cannot win them over on mobile, you will not get the chance to win them over at your table.” – Andrew Marsh, Senior Digital Strategist, Search Engine People
Including a Web-Based Menu
Adding a web-based menu to your restaurant website should be a priority. It means your restaurant has a greater chance of displaying in Internet searches through platforms such as Google. A PDF or image document of your hardcopy menu may have sufficed in the past, but it won’t bring you the benefits of one written specifically for the web in HTML. This also gives you the opportunity to provide accurate visual representations of dishes to tempt potential guests. Online menus can also be updated relatively easily to keep your online descriptions current.
Always display the correct information on your site concerning hours of operation, including your location and telephone number. These should be prominently displayed on all pages. You want to make it ultra-easy for potential diners to reach out and contact you or ask a question. Embedding your site in Google Maps is also a good option. It means that diners always have accurate directions to your restaurant whether they are walking or driving.
Social Media, Reviews, and Testimonials
Prove to potential guests that you’re a great place to dine. You can do this through a variety of methods including social media, encouraging reviews, and posting testimonials on your site. It’s easier than ever to integrate social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter into your site. Reviews are also a great way to show everyone what real people think about your restaurant and the food.
“The vast majority of visitors are likely to trust an online review as much as they are a recommendation by friends or family.” (Source: A BrightLocal survey.)
Of course, you do need to choose the channel and options that work for your brand, and careful monitoring is needed at all times, but linking and aligning these to your restaurant website as much as possible should be a priority.
Online Reservations and Ordering
One of the most important innovations in recent years—certainly driven by the smartphone revolution—is the prospect of interacting on the move in real-time. Providing the chance to order or reserve a table online not only streamlines your restaurant processes but may well attract new guests at the same time. The software available today is increasingly sophisticated and is proving cost-effective and useful for restaurants in all categories.
Finally, what really sells your restaurant? Appealing visuals such as photographs of your dishes, the interior of the restaurant, and customers having a good time. They are an important way to depict your brand and highlight the ambiance people can expect once they are seated at your table. Focus on getting this right for your restaurant website. Images that download quickly, look professional, and say something about your restaurant can and do make a difference.