We must acknowledge the fact that the world is constantly evolving and consumer behaviors are constantly changing. Where do prospective customers go when looking up information on a restaurant? The Pew Research Center says that most of them will search on the Web.
If you’re a restaurant owner without a website for your establishment, you’re in trouble! The importance of a Web presence has never been more important. If you already have a web presence, there are many ways in which you can improve it to make it more easily accessible and visible to prospective patrons of your restaurant.
Brian Casel, the founder of Restaurant Engine – an organization that provides services to restaurants seeking to expand their online customer base – says, “A well-designed website, when used effectively, could be a restaurant’s best marketing tool. It’s a critical piece because visitors to your website have come to make their decision as to whether or not they will dine at your restaurant.”
He also gives us five tips to improve a restaurant’s website that will both help you get in Google’s good graces and help you attract more customers. We’ll give you the points in a nutshell:
- Dump Flash – Seriously, the amount of visibility you’re losing to Flash makes it more worthwhile to dump it than to keep it. It’s a painful truth for some, but you shouldn’t bat an eyelash when told to get rid of Flash. Google doesn’t read it, meaning that you’re just relying on your domain name for visibility, something that doesn’t often give you any kudos unless you’re a famous restaurant in Paris. Even then, it just won’t work.
- Go mobile – Our chief evangelist – Ramon Ray – already saw this one a while back. In his article, he shows how an overwhelmingly large amount of restaurant businesses do not have a website that renders properly on popular mobile platforms. This is disappointing, to say the least, since a multitude of people research local businesses “on the fly” with their smartphones. If you’re not on their radar, don’t expect them to even step on your welcome mat.
- Convert to HTML-based menus or similar – People using Apple’s iOS and other mobile platforms might be annoyed by the fact you have a menu in PDF format. Create an HTML menu and scrap the PDF one, or run them side-by-side to allow for choices. People generally don’t like having to download a file to see something.
- Get social – While this is advice that every business should follow, the restaurant business needs to follow it more tightly. Post things on your Facebook page such as new menu items and updates on events and guests coming over.
- Keep your site relevant – As long as your site’s dynamic, your customers will always have something new to come to. Google also gives websites that keep up to date some recognition with higher rankings in their results pages. There are many ways to make your website dynamic without having to put up much effort, such as a well-designed WordPress theme.
As long as you follow through these steps, you’re likely to create a more engaging environment for your customers which will help you maintain your focus on the offline side of the business. Pace through and make the right changes. This will keep your cooks busy!