All restaurateurs have a lot of decisions to make when starting a new restaurant or maintaining successful daily operations for an existing restaurant. This applies to smaller locally operated cafes, mom and pops, fine dining restaurants and even national franchises.
Whether you are running an American style diner, Mexican restaurant, sushi bar, sandwich shop, pizza parlor or cafe, as the restaurant owner, you have many factors to consider in order to run a successful business: choosing and training staff members, health and safety requirements, location, cleanliness, food quality, menu prices, etc…In the mix of it all, of course, are the marketing efforts for your restaurant! With so many options to choose from, how can you help ensure that customers will choose your restaurant over the others?
In years past it was all about location, location, location. A well lit restaurant in the right area with good food and friendly service had a good chance of success. Nowadays, with more ‘foodies’ than ever before and new restaurants opening up everyday, the competition is much more fierce.
You really need to create a unique marketing strategy and execute it well if you want to succeed. A great way of achieving this is by having a professional, credible, and optimized website for your restaurant. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Sure, the website guy is saying we need a better website. What a surprise!” With that being said, this is in fact true. Let me share some statistics with you that really highlight the importance of effective internet marketing ever since the dawn of the “Information Age” several years ago.
Since the creation of the Internet, people have become more and more reliant on it for information. Seeing a commercial on TV or a billboard on the side of the road or hearing someone talk about a place does not earn you business. It only drives the curiosity of individuals at that moment causing them to seek more information.
Guess where they go? The Internet.
Customers want to find reviews about your restaurant, pictures of the food, and descriptions of what’s offered. If you don’t have a website to showcase these exact things, customers will likely choose a different restaurant to patronize.
According to a survey conducted by Upserve - “90% of guests research a restaurant online before actually going there. This is a practice done more in this business type compared to others.” If 9 out of 10 potential customers are going to research you online, don’t you want to be confident that they’re going to like what they find about you?
Another reason why having a properly designed and optimized website is a necessary asset for your restaurant is because this is how 1 out of 3 people discover new places to eat. According to Toast - “35% of guests discover restaurants through online reviews and the restaurant’s website.” Once again, this is why it is important to have a website that is found easily in search engine results pages (SERPs) and highlights your credibility as a restaurant establishment.
Just being on a delivery app or having an online ordering system without an actual website is no longer good enough. People want to know more about your restaurant, food, staff, culture, and ambiance before they visit or place an order.
One more aspect to consider when creating your restaurant’s website, is making sure it is mobile friendly. If it’s outdated or poorly built there’s a good chance it isn’t mobile friendly. That’s important because according to Blue Corona - “Up to 70 percent of web traffic comes from mobile devices.” This makes mobile devices the single, largest contributing factor to web traffic today.
To add to the importance of mobile friendliness, for all mobile devices, not just smartphones, Business Service Week found that “83% of mobile users expect a flawless experience whenever they visit a website with any mobile device.” I could go on with more specific stats and studies explaining what happens if your site is not mobile friendly but lets just sum it up as this: The majority of customers will not return to the site and are far less likely to visit or order from your restaurant if they have a bad experience on your site from their mobile device. That’s a lot of potential business to lose.
Now that we’ve outlined just a few reasons why proper website marketing is important for your restaurant, take a look at your current marketing strategy. Do you have a website? If so, is it something you’re proud of and you want your guests visiting? Does it do a good job showcasing your positive reviews? Is it optimized for search engines? Is it mobile friendly, on all mobile devices? Most importantly, does it make people want to come and eat at your restaurant?
If you need help answering these questions you should contact Marketpath. We have a program in place just for restaurants. We can help bring your website marketing into the modern age and ensure you start winning new customers instead of losing them because of a dysfunctional website.