If you don’t have a website for your restaurant, you may be thinking, “I already have Facebook and Instagram, why do I need a webpage?”
While social media is a great way to market your restaurant, there is a big difference between social media and having your own web domain.
It’s not an “either-or” situation. If you’re taking online marketing for your restaurant seriously, you need both a social media presence and a website.
Why Your Restaurant Website Is Important
Social media isn’t enough
While social media platforms give you access to a vast network of people, they all have one thing in common — they are Facebook users or Twitter users, etc.
If you do all your marketing on social media, you’re limiting your reach just to other social media users.
Google is king of restaurant searches
The first thing 80% of people do when a friend recommends a restaurant is - you guessed it - a Google search.
Maybe you’ve neglected your website because you’re thinking that it’s too hard to rank in Google? That would be a mistake. Google searches for restaurants are targeted explicitly to locals. You have a very good chance of your restaurant ranking highly because you are only competing with other local restaurants.
Local Search Results Are Your Competition
What happens to those customers looking for more information? Your menu? When your happy hour ends? It’s likely that you are losing significant opportunities to reach new customers.
Your restaurant website is under your control
Everywhere else online, from Yelp to Facebook it’s other people who get to tell the story of your restaurant. And you may not want that to be the first impression.
Your restaurant website is the only place where you have 100% complete control. If you’re not taking advantage of this opportunity you could be missing out on hundreds of new guests per month.
Now is the time to speak up, make your statement. Make it clear who you are and ensure local diners find what you want them to know about your restaurant.
Your Website. Your Story.
Consider carefully what kind of impression your website gives to visitors. The only thing worse than no restaurant web page is a poorly designed page that turns them away.
As an extension of your brand, your website needs to appeal to your target audience the same way that your dining room, menu design and ambiance appeal to your guests. Draw them in with a taste of what you offer.
Your restaurant website should be crafted with carefully chosen keywords, as they help Google rank you for important searches. Think about what your diners are searching for when you plan your site.
Make sure to include all the things people are likely to search for:
- Type of cuisine
- Outdoor seating
- Kid or pet friendly
Include what amenities make your establishment unique and appealing to your diners.
Your restaurant website can make you money
There are other practical reasons you need a website. If you post your menu online, then guests won’t have to spend so much time deciding at the table. That means shorter wait times and the opportunity to serve more guests.
If you provide takeout or delivery, there’s no excuse not to have a website. A prominently featured menu with your phone number could entice spontaneous orders!
You also have the opportunity to do online ordering. This is a feature that diners are increasingly on the lookout for. To facilitate online ordering, your point of sale needs to integrate with services like GrubHub.com. For more information about Rezku POS and integrations check it out here.
If you take call-in reservations for your restaurant already, why aren’t you doing online reservations as well? Imagine unlimited online bookings for no additional fee. Rezku Reservations can help fill up your dining room. And because it’s a complete front of house management app, you can efficiently serve all those additional patrons.
Keep your website calendar updated with events, specials, and promotions. This will help you generate additional foot traffic from people looking for things to do online. Show that your restaurant is a happening place to visit with event photos and videos.
Achieving your restaurant website goals
Yes, it’s going to take some work to make your restaurant website stand out, but you have choices, and you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to have beneficial results.
For the do-it-yourself types
If you decide to DIY, start by learning the popular WordPress platform. WordPress has many high-quality templates available to help you get started. There is a vibrant community of WordPress designers to provide you with help and free training resources.
Next, you’ll need somewhere to host your website. A web host is a special type of computer that makes websites available to people using the internet. Sites like BlueHost.com and HostGator.com offer affordable WordPress hosting for less than $10 a month and can help you get started on the platform.
To go the DIY route you’ll have to learn some new skills. But the results can be rewarding. For those who enjoy total control and have a bit of tech skill this can be an exciting option.
Honestly gauge your long-term interest in the project and determine your likelihood of sticking with it.
For the busy or non-techie types
There is a practical and affordable option that will get you a top-notch restaurant website without the pain of learning something new. It is to hire a freelance web designer.
As professional service providers, you don’t have to worry about them getting bored or running out of time to work on your website. Turn over the whole project to a web designer if you can relinquish control or merely hire-out when you need to complete specific website tasks.
You can find affordable freelance web design contractors through services like Fivrr.com and Upwork.com. These sites specialize in connecting designers from all over the world with clients like you. Do your homework first, however, and read the reviews. Keep in mind that your mileage may vary and the cheapest option isn’t always the one to go with.
A great restaurant website is an attainable goal that will turn a little effort into big returns. On the other hand, neglecting your web presence or solely relying on social media posts to promote your restaurant is a mistake that could cost you innumerable lost opportunities for new business.