8 Key Things Your Restaurant Website Needs To Increase Foot Traffic

It’s no secret that the restaurant industry faces some serious competition. Every street corner boasts a number of different restaurants, all with one goal: to feed hungry customers. To keep your business thriving you strive to serve the best food and offer superior service, but there is one thing many restaurants are missing out on when it comes to getting a leg up on the competition.  Your restaurant needs a website, and not just any site, but one that has all of the crucial components. Here we explain 8 things your restaurant website needs to increase your customer base.

1. Mobile Functionality

Google search result records show 88% of searches for keywords like ‘restaurants’ come directly from mobile devices, and the keyword ‘bars’ is searched 97% of the time on a mobile device (Read here).

A mobile site is SO important to a restaurant of any type because people are looking for places to eat while they are out and about. Research proves time and time again that most people are not planning way ahead of time, and searching for restaurants on their desktop computers. Instead, people want fast and instant answers, and with a cell phone always handy this is possible with a simple search.

When people search for nearby restaurants are they going to come across your site on their mobile device? Perhaps more importantly, is your site going to function well when they do come across it, as well as offer the information customers want?

To answer the later question you must first know what people are looking for when they search your restaurant. People are often looking for menus and coupons, but they are also looking for the basics like location and hours. Google Smartphone research finds that 94% of smartphone searches are location based, and 90% of these searchers take immediate action. In order to take instant action though they need quick access to an address, directions, phone number, and hours of operation. Do a test run, search your own restaurant using your mobile device, is it easy for you to come across these components?

That doesn’t mean those fancy images of your restaurant that show off the great ambiance and atmosphere should be left out all together on your mobile site.  Keep these available by incorporating responsive web pages that give users the option to still see these pages if they want to.

Knowing the difference between your mobile costumer and your computer costumer is important. For instance, you don’t want to offer printable coupons to someone on their cell phone. To avoid miscommunications like this, you can always make your coupons printable as well as able to scan through a mobile device.

According to the Restaurant Sciences industry study (2012), only 5% of privately owned restaurants operate a mobile site. (Learn More) While around half of all chain restaurants have some form of mobile site. Take advantage while the online competition is still slim!

2. Enroll With Google Places

Setting up a site isn’t enough; you also need to make sure to properly market your site. You can sign up and be verified through Google Places so that if people search for ‘restaurants’ in their area you are automatically going to come up as a pin on the map. Don’t stop at Google, other sites like Yelp and Tripadviser also offer you the option to register with them so that your restaurant shows up when users use these platforms to search for a place to eat. While the big name restaurants are already linked in to all of these sites, privately owned restaurants are often lost in the buzz simply because they don’t know how these opportunities can really benefit them.

3. Updates Are A Must

A great website is incredibly important to most restaurants according to Noel Tock, a founding partner of Happytables, a successful restaurant locating site in Europe. Tock says, “I often use Foursquare to find restaurants when I’m traveling. Once a restaurant has a rating of nine or above, OK, you don’t have to convince me any further. But in the six or seven ratings, where most restaurants lie, that restaurant’s own website certainly makes a big difference.”

He also adds that an okay website gives people the information that they need right then and there, but a great website keeps people returning. Regular updates to your website provides a place to share events, menu items, or specials you are currently offering.

While a professional marketing company is always valuable to get your site looking and functioning just right, Tock believes that restaurant management should also be able to access the site in order to add appropriate updates as they arise. Understandably, restaurant owners are incredibly busy, and not necessary computer-savvy, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be taught how to quickly upload things to a well-designed site that is user friendly.

4. Offer The Chance To ‘Book Now’

By adding large buttons that say, “Book A Table Now,” you are going to get way more people committing to your restaurant. According to research shared by Happytables founder, Noel Tock, 12% of all users will click these buttons.

Online reservations are where it’s at, people don’t want to pick up the phone and call if they can simply click a button and reserve a table. This also gives you the opportunity to ask for emails. With a list of costumer emails you have the opportunity to reach back out to them in the future, ask about their dining experience, offer a special loyalty coupon, or share new menu items.

5. The About Page

The About Page might seem like a simple aspect of every website, but since every restaurant needs a ‘about page’ it’s important to attack the content properly. Your ‘about’ page should say who you are, what you stand for, and how it all began. This is not the place to write a 10-page biography, people want information fast, so get to the good stuff and only the good stuff.

When creating your restaurant bio, share information that is telling but also tempting. For instance, if your restaurant originated out of a desire to provide the freshest food with all natural ingredients, say so! This makes your food sound more tempting to costumers while also sharing who you are as a business.

Since people tend to skim online content it’s best to keep your information easy to access with a quick glance down the page. Try and condense your words, and then use bold font, or italics, on sentences you want guests to read most. Also, any area of your website that includes content should be broken up with plenty of paragraph breaks to make reading easy on the eye.

6. Web-Based Menus

A large majority of restaurants are still relying on downloadable PDF menus that take too much time to upload. Instead, you can create a web-based menu that is more readily available without any downloads. Plus, employees can make adjustments to the menu as necessary using platforms with a user-friendly backend, like WordPress.

7. Get Social For Free Marketing

A simple search of your restaurant on Instagram or Facebook will prove that plenty of people are uploading photos and tagging your restaurant. These photo-happy customers are your ticket to free advertising. Make your guests feel special, if you see someone tagging your place of business, reach out to them, or re-share their photo on your own social media pages—with permission of course. This will encourage others to share their photos at your restaurant too. This might seem odd if you are not a big social media person, but people are always looking to gain more followers and social media attention. When a place of business shares their photos and username this helps their popularity as well as ego, so play into it and you will reap your own sets of benefits. Plus, this is a very personal way to relate and communicate with your customers, making them feel more loyal towards your restaurant.

8. Add A Blog

A blog is going to help you get more keywords and pages into your site, all of which will help you rank higher on the web. This means that people searching for certain targeted keywords will stumble across your site, earning you more potential costumers. A blog is also another way to connect with your costumers. Posts can be shared through social media to get people clicking, liking, and sharing, yet another way to enhance your community’s knowledge of your presence, as well as delicious food!

Restaurant Website Fails

What you want to avoid when creating your restaurant website:

  • Stay away from flash animations!
  • Do not use vivid videos, music, or slow-downloading graphics, especially on the front page. Not only does this slow down the ability to upload your site but this also deters people from finding the info they are really looking for—like what time you open.  If there is a video you do want to share, make sure it is optional to play and does not start automatically.
  • Do not let your blog, or calendar of events go without updates. A website that is not updated signals to costumers you don’t care, are out of business, or don’t have any upcoming events—all things you want to avoid.

Looking to build or redesign a restaurant website that shows off your business in a positive light, earning you more business and reputability in your community? Contour Graphics can help you uncover the secrets to creating a website that works for you on all levels. Contact us today to learn more!