Starting a restaurant is a very personal and hard thing to do. You may have been a chef, you may be an investor who loves food. Your website is the portal to your world. You have done an amazing job getting this far, maybe you are on your second or third restaurant. But I can guarantee with absolute certainty you are losing customers if you are not doing these 5 things to market your restaurant effectively. Not doing them will annoy your potential customers and give business to your competitors.
These 5 things, amongst many others, is how I help my clients looking fantastic online rather than looking like somewhere that was founded in 1987 and never got updated. Let’s dive in.
- Ensure that you have a decent online health – When I work with any client I make sure that not only your website is up to scratch, but I also make sure that reviews on TripAdvisor, Google and OpenTable, or wherever else your restaurant is reviewed, are favourable.
And if they are not, what are you going to do about it? How do you respond to a negative review, how do you get rid of it?
This is an eternal question I get asked and there are no quick fixes. If you book your free consultation below I can certainly get rid of negativity online and get you to rank better on reviews.
- Ensure your passion is reflected in your brand online – Too many restaurants, shops retail establishments have their cousin’s uncle design their website and think, ‘yeah that will do, no-one’s going to look at it.’
You may be losing 20 or 30 customers a day because they looked at your website and did not like the look of it. Customers are visually led first then informationally led second. They will look at your site and then look at the reviews. If anything is off, or you are not giving yourself the best chance then you are setting yourself up for unwarranted criticism and the chance for people to turn away.
- Understanding what customers are looking for – When people come to your site they are looking for 3 things. Where is it, is it good and how much will it cost. You cannot give them an opportunity to think badly of your restaurant. These can be the smallest things but these small things matter. Typos, poor lighting on premises photos, awkward fonts, un-branded colours, poor navigation, not mobile optimised, DOWNLOADABLE ONLY PDF for your menus (I’ll come back to that in point 5), can all add up to a poor experience and customers based on these factors may not go to your restaurant. I have seen friends look at a restaurant’s website, and I know full well that it does great food, and they see a multitude of sins as listed above, and they say, “Nah…looks a bit crap…”
And in a similar fashion that you are trying to make the best food in the world in your restaurant category, you need to aim to make the best website in the world. Your website is just as important as your entrance, as your staff, as your crockery. You are trying to make the best experience and this should be reflected on your website. If it’s not you are giving the potential customer a chance to validate their risk assessment and move on to your competitor.
- Mitigating Risk – If marketing is about one thing it should be about mitigating risk. As a customer, I don’t want to waste my time, my money, my taste buds on anything that does not match up to my expectations.
Picking a restaurant to have a Sunday dinner with the family will largely be chosen by location, cost and reviews. The picker, let’s call him Rick, will be assessing his choice based on this criteria not only by his own standards but by the standards of his party.
His Dad, might be averse to cost, his Mum might be sensitive to atmosphere, his sister with three kids might need space and the menu needs children’s options. All these desires add up to a risk. Rick decides on your restaurant because he can see from your website that it is spacious, has great decor, it’s affordable, has a kids option.
So when you illustrate these things on your website you are not giving Rick a reason to go somewhere else. He needs to see from your site that he is safe picking your restaurant and you never know when he comes back to town he may go there again, post online, write a review or recommend your restaurant to a friend.
And as a bonus Menus and downloadable PDFs – The bane of any customer is googling ‘restaurants near ‘my town’’, they get their results and see your restaurant near their hotel. It has 3 to 5-star reviews, she likes the look of the decor, the website is clean, on brand and personable.
She goes to look at the menus and you have put a link to a downloadable pdf. You may think this is helpful to you as you already have a pdf for a printed version of your menu and you have maintained consistency, but like most people who are navigating your site on their mobile, she has to pinch and zoom all over the place. She has to navigate away from your site, she then has to attach it to a WhatsApp message to send it to her friends or go to the document to then share it. It’s a pallava.
For ease and good user experience, I cannot urge you enough to list your menu on your site AND have a downloadable PDF.
I will post a guide on how to do this properly and give examples of how restaurant websites are doing this well.
And this is a very useful guide on how to format your PDF for search engines:
As a marketer with many years experience working with brands all over Essex, Cambridge and London I have seen some website crimes that give customers reasons not to go there. Once you get your head around the fact that your website is not a chore but an opportunity to help customers understand how great you are, you will change the course of your restaurant forever.
If you would like to know how I have helped restaurants grow and sustain their business with these 5 things (and more) book your free consultation now.