You have social media, TripAdvisor and an email – does your restaurant really need a website? The short answer is yes.
With connectivity constantly improving and consumer behavior going mobile, consumers are now using the internet as a source of researching before purchasing. In the restaurant industry, this has never been more accurate, with “59% of Internet users researching restaurants online”.
It is vital that your business keeps up with the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Even if your restaurant is active across social media, a huge portion of your audience looking for their next dining destination online, and improving your online visibility by having a website will increase your chances of getting in front of customers.
Not convinced? Here are some of the main reasons your restaurant should have a website:
1. Showcasing the experience
Your website is your ‘virtual storefront’, giving potential customers a feel for what it is like to dine at your restaurant before they even step inside the door. The design of your website should reflect the design of the establishment, making it easier for customers to decide whether it is where they want to dine. It also visually markets your business and allows people to get acquainted with your brand and its culture before making a purchasing decision.
For example, if you are a fine-dining restaurant you want your website to portray this with a sleek and polished design showcasing your food and the atmosphere. A good example of this is the World Service Restaurant in Nottingham.
On the other end of the spectrum, if your brand is much more fun and light-hearted, you want your website to reflect this personality. A prime example is The Lobster Pot’s website.
2. Regaining control from the consumer
With the rise in the use of social media and review sites to openly rate and discuss businesses and their products and services, buyer power has hugely increased. Many consumers will base their decision-making process on reviews and will avoid a business if there are negative reviews from peers. Having a website allows you to regain some power from the consumer, by portraying your brand image in a controlled environment.
A website gives you a platform to provide potential customers with the information they need to know about your restaurant, for example, opening hours, location, contact details and more. Without this, you are potentially deterring people from making a reservation, as they cannot find the information they are looking for.
Alongside providing basic information, websites allow you more digital functionality that merely having a social media account cannot provide, such as, taking bookings online, showcasing your menus, and even selling gift cards for your restaurant. Modern consumers want to research prior to visiting a restaurant, and browsing menus allow them to see if it is affordable, has their dietary requirements, or if it has items that are tantalizing to them. Furthermore, an online booking system allows customers to fulfill their requirements quickly and easily without having to pick up a phone and gather information themselves. It clearly sets out space and times available for the customer to look at their own leisure, also decreasing the amount of calls staff must take.
4. Online visibility with a restaurant website
Having a website makes your business available to fulfill the information searches consumers are making. By investing time into search engine optimization (SEO) you can help your business website show for search terms relevant to your restaurant, e.g. ‘Italian restaurant near me’ or ‘family-friendly pub in Nottingham’. From this, you will gain more exposure, and in turn, drive more footfall through your door.
Furthermore, having a website means you can link to your site on other online listings, for example, social media accounts, Google My Business listing, and TripAdvisor. This means any traffic generated from these platforms will be directed to your business’s website, which portrays your brand image and allows people much more functionality.
Find out more about how you can use Google My Business to get in front of more customers here.
5. Differentiating yourself from the competition
If your competition has a website, then it makes sense that you should too. If they already have a well-established site to promote themselves, they will be getting in front of your potential customers and likely be getting their business.
If your competition doesn’t have a website, this is a great opportunity for you to get ahead of them digitally and be an innovative brand. A well-presented, easy to use website will make you stand out and highlight what you do well. All of this leads to the likelihood that consumers will pick your restaurant over alternatives.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN SETTING UP A WEBSITE FOR YOUR RESTAURANT?
We specialize in helping the business make their stamp online with easy-to-use, functional and beautifully branded websites, tailored to suit your restaurant’s requirements and unique personality. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org