Filling Seats with Online Presence

Is your website letting you down? How to attract more customers to your door, using your website

Marketing: we get it, it’s just another thing on the long list of things that everyone says you ‘should’ be doing to ‘get your restaurant out there’. Although word of mouth is still just as important as it was decades ago, today it would be a mistake to rely on that alone.

Having an online presence, has become a pivotal part of any successful restaurant’s marketing strategy. Put simply, customers expect to be able to learn as much about a restaurant as possible before they even open the front door. With this in mind, we’ve put together a simple guide to take your restaurant online, and the main things to consider when creating a successful website.

Look and Feel

To begin with, your website should have a look and feel that matches your actual restaurant or café. Your website is often the first contact point for a potential customer who may simply be googling ‘best pizza place St Kilda’ not physically walking by your site. Your website is where you set the aesthetic and tone of your dining experience: a new visitor should have a pretty good idea of what you’re about within 30 seconds of loading the page.

Key information to include:

·       Opening Hours

·       Your menu (with prices!)

·       Relevant reviews

·       Any disclaimers ie: “Cash only” or “BYO wine only”

Social Media

There is no doubt social media has become a powerful way to reach your target audience and any restaurant website should include links to relevant social media.

If you’ve got the time and resources to manage social profiles on the big three—Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—good for you! But we suspect running a restaurant doesn’t leave you a lot of time for much else so you should focus on just one of these platforms: Instagram. This is because Instagram is the most visual in nature perfectly suited for restaurants sharing their #foodporn creations.

But before you panic about taking professional photos of all your food, keep in mind that the most common thing for a young person to do as soon as their food arrives in a restaurant is to take its picture and upload it to Instagram. You can repurpose this user-generated content to promote your restaurant with minimal effort at your end.

Online Table Reservation

These days, consumers are much less inclined to pick up the phone, and more likely to search online for a solution to their problem. We pay our bills online, chat to our friends online and even search for love online. So offering a free online booking service is equally important. Let your customers decide where and when they want to dine and book directly online.

Similarly, if you offer takeaway or delivery service, customers will want the ability to order online rather than make a call.

Content Marketing

Creating a blog is another way to increase the likelihood of your restaurant appearing in search results and driving potential customers to your website. It doesn’t need to be in depth – as long as it is providing value for readers – you can highlight new menu items, upcoming events, excellent reviews and favourite recipes. Once you have the blog up and running you can drive readers to it through social media.