These days, a great website is as important an asset to a restaurant as a garden or a famous signature dish. All three are great ways to project your brand, draw people in and make more sales.
Unlike the other two, a great website is something that is attainable for every restaurateur.
This is just as well. As we will see, the online aspect is something that successful restaurants can no longer afford to neglect.
Another arena to compete in
Just like a busy high street (think Soho or Upper Street), the web is full of competitors from whom you need to stand out. SinglePlatform found that 84% of people are likely to look at more than one restaurant before deciding where to eat and 92% of people have searched for a restaurant in the last 6 months.
People are already looking at your restaurant online: you now need to give them the information to let them choose yours over the competition.
Here are some key areas to focus on:
1. NAP: making sure your company Name, Address and Phone number are correct is crucial to your site driving sales.
2. Including all your menus on the site will help people decide whether they want to eat there. 80% of diners want to see a menu before they arrive.
3. ‘The first bite is with the eyes’ is an age old saying in the industry: but it translates to the online world, too. Fantastic, professional imagery of your food will go a long way to selling it to website visitors.
4. A detailed ‘About Us’ section may seem superfluous, but actually it is crucial. Bloggers and journalists looking to give you publicity will be looking at your site for anything interesting to include in the article. If they can’t find enough information, they might just not write about you at all.
Plug in a booking application
One of the most tangible ways that a website can convert traffic into sales is through booking applications such as OpenTable and TripAdvisor’s ‘book it now’ feature.
Linking your site to an online booking platform is becoming a major stream of revenue. OpenTable now places reservations for 19 million diners every month. Users can book on desktop or via desktop apps – another reason that making sure your page is mobile optimised is becoming essential.
Once you register with a booking app, you can also use the app as another platform on which to promote your operation. You can offer users unique deals via promotional codes or pay to put your restaurant in a prime listing position on the home page of their platform.
Make it mobile friendly
Making your website easy to use on mobile is incredibly important. In 2015 Ofcom reported mobile usage had overtaken laptop browsing in the UK. This means that most of the time, people will be on their phones when they check out your restaurant’s website.
It is therefore crucial to make sure your page is mobile optimised. SinglePlatform also found that 81% of people have searched for a restaurant on a mobile device in the last 6 months.
If the website is slow and unresponsive when served to a phone’s smaller screen and slower connection, you risk people leaving the site before you even have the chance to explain why they should visit your restaurant.
This is especially important as Google launch AMP – accelerated mobile pages. This is a kind of certification that your website’s code can have. It confirms your site will load well on mobile devices. If your site is AMP compliant, it will rank much higher on Google Search results pages, meaning more people will see your Korean restaurant when they search “Korean Restaurants London”.
Finally, linking your site to social media is the best way to turn it into a sales conversion weapon.
Sharing dining experiences on social media, especially Instagram, is now a standard practice among millennial and Gen Z diners. Making sure your site is well placed to profit from this behaviour can pay off big time.
Ensure you have an active Instagram account that users at your restaurants can tag in their posts. This well help you capture on the publicity raised by social media users, drive customers to your website, increase bookings, and, ultimately, make sales.< Back