10 Things a Restaurant Website Must Have
Rather than having a "brochure website", wouldn't you rather have one that act as a cash-generating machine working 24/7 for you? Sadly, many business owners seem to miss the whole point of having a website.
Too many restaurants still create websites without clear business goals, so they often create websites that do more harm than good.
In this article, I am going to give you 10 elements a restaurant website must have in order to boost customer spend, encourage repeat business, and attract more and more new customers.
1. Establish Your Brand
Your brand goes beyond your name and logo. Your brand consists of everything that forms a customer's perception of you - what message you're communicating, the values you are upholding, how you answer the phone, how you handle customer complaints, how you innovate your business, how you present your food, how your employees behave, how you deliver your services, how you craft your advertisements, etc.
In order to establish a strong brand, you must communicate the following elements to your customers consistently:
- Who exactly are you targeting? What do they like? What do they want, and how are you giving it to them?
- Why are you here? What's your mission?
- What's your story?
- What's your message?
- Communicate your Values. What do you stand for?
For example, do you support your local economy by making a point of sourcing your ingredients as locally as possible? Do you strongly believe in taking care of the environment? What things are you involved in?
2. Build Your List
Your restaurant website must gather the personal details of visitors as much as possible. You can do this by making an offer that makes it impossible for a visitor to not register, and making this a required process in order for someone to be able to order online.
Your opt-in box must be highly visible, attractive, and preferably on the right hand side of the screen, and it must be "above the fold" (i.e., the customer must see it fully without having to scroll down the screen).
Get the customer's full name, address, contact number, email address, birthday, etc.
3. Compel your Visitors to Buy
Create super irresistible offers. Determine what your best-sellers are and bundle them in varying combinations of meal deals.
Show your Menu and use mouthwatering graphics and professional, mouth-watering photos of your products. If you think it's clever to put up pictures of foods that look absolutely decadent, make sure the food you are actually serving live up to the expectation you've built.
4. Make it So Easy to Buy from You
Enable online ordering. There are people who'd rather fill out an online form than pick up the phone. Obviously if you're going to enable this feature, your website must be able to accept online payment.
The key is to make it so convenient and so fast to buy from you.
Also, offer a delivery service whenever possible.
5. Have a Promotions Page
If you have promotions, make them known. Don't keep it a secret.
Sell your gift certificates online. Why not try to market your vouchers as great gifts for any ocassion? Try to craft a custom-designed card or gift certificate for certain occasions like Mother's Day, Birthday, Anniversary, Weddings, Christening, Graduation, Valentine's, etc.
6. Provide Useful Tools
Some people are looking at your website precisely to go there. So provide an easy-to-see map and provide directions on how to get to your restaurant.
Wherever your restaurant is located, chances are there are tourists and visitors who will be coming to where you're at. It's common for travelers to plan ahead and get information online about the place they are going to visit, so why not also provide information about nearby attractions, hotels, leisure activities, historical info, and other quirky information about your location?
If you do this, you will also help promote other businesses in your area. Imagine if your website ends up sending a good number of customers to a nearby hotel or tourist attraction. Don't you think they will be more than eager to return the favor?
7. Stand Out
What's your competitive advantage? What makes your restaurant unique?
What value are you committed to providing? Do you guarantee to give me the best dining experience ever?
Do you guarantee to always greet people with a smile, prepare food with care, use only the freshest ingredients?
Do you guarantee to deliver under 30 minutes or their money back?
You may also want to show a gallery of pictures of your customers, the events held in your restaurant, the parties, the celebrations, etc. Try to notify your customers that you posted their pictures on the website to give them a sense of ownership, or a sense of community and affinity with your restaurant.
Another great way to make yourself stand out is tell us more about about your food. If you are serving exotic, ethnic dishes this will work well. Let your passion and creativity show.
8. Establish Your Credibility
Use the herd mentality to your advantage by using social credibility. Gather testimonials from your customers and feature the favorable reviews you have earned.
Have you earned any awards? Feature that in your website.
Have you been featured in the Press? Post the clippings in your website.
9. Communicate With Your Customers
Create an e-newsletter. Use it to inspire people to book their next event at your venue, or to entice people to participate in your next organized happening.
For example, say you have the most impressive wine list in town, and you just acquired some new stocks. You can tell your customers all about it, especially the wine enthusiasts.
Another important factor is to ask for feedback from your customers. This is vital, so you are always on the pulse of their ever evolving wants and needs.
10. Make it Easy to Contact You
Be sure to place your contact details where it's easy to see whichever page your website visitor is looking at. Provide a phone number, fax, email address and encourage them to get in touch with you.
A website is a great tool that, if utilized properly, could bring you a fat and healthy bottom line. In order to this however, you must know the elements that contribute to the bottom line. After all, of what use is a pretty website if it's not bringing in any sales? In business, something is either a source of income or an expense. A website should be a source of income, not an expense!
10 Things a Restaurant Website Must Have by Marj Galangco is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
More by this Author
Want to be the FIRST restaurant to come to mind when people want to eat out? Want to turn your customers into raving fans? Apply these proven, powerful tips & your phone will be ringing off the hook!