As a restaurant owner or manager, you know that business can be up some weeks and down others.
Whether it’s the competition, the season or the economy, there are many factors that influence how many guests show up at your restaurant each day.
Because of this, like most restaurant owners, you are looking to increase your sales.
One of the best places to do this is online. Your website is a pivotal piece to growing your restaurant.
In this article, we look at five website features that increase business.
Along with your location and phone number, the most important thing on your restaurant website is your menu.
This is perhaps the very first thing your customer looks for. They might peruse your menu before deciding to dine in, or perhaps they’re looking at your menu hoping to order online.
Whichever option they choose, you want to offer a mobile friendly, complete, professional looking menu. Make sure your categories are clear, your photos are enticing, and your description is creative and unique.
Here are some tips for optimizing your online menu:
According to Alex Cantor of Ordermark, “A restaurant that’s not considering online ordering is not going to be around in five years.”
You know that diners have a lot of options when it comes to eating out. In order to capture your share of the market, you want to make it as easy as possible for diners to order their food.
While some diners want to order online to eat in your restaurant without having to wait, most of your guests want to order online, pick it up and take it home.
For those diners who don’t want to eat in your restaurant, make it easy for them to choose you over their competitors by offering them an easy, intuitive online ordering system.
Don’t make them call you and wait on hold while your host staff helps them in between greeting people at your door.
You’ll find that offering online ordering increases your sales because you are offering diners a convenient experience. Take it one step further and have a special door at your restaurant for pick up orders. (tweet this)
This way those diners who don’t want to “dress” for dinner can pull right up and grab their order.
Your customers want to know what others think of your restaurant.
Social proof is a huge driver of traffic to your restaurant and a terrific way to increase business.
You’ll find that adding reviews and social media links to your restaurant website adds immediate credibility and in fact encourages people to dine with you.
Highlight your reviews on your site. Consider adding them to each one of your menu items as well. This helps your customers decide not only what to order but whether or not they want to order.
Make it easy to find your social media links on your website so it’s simple for your potential customers to follow you or learn more about you on social media.
Many of your potential guests will head to social media to see what others are saying about your restaurant, so highlight your social media accounts in easy to spot locations on your website.
You’ll find that your website visitors trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so you can’t afford to leave them off your website.
The Embed Reviews widget makes it easy to embed all sorts of reviews on your website.
Do follow best practices when it comes to reviews. Regardless of the platform, you should respond to every review you get – positive or negative. This allows you the chance to offer thanks or to offer empathy for a negative review.
Monitor your reviews so you aren’t surprised by what populates on your website.
Everyone likes a deal, so give it to your customers right on your website.
If you don’t already offer a loyalty program, it’s a good time to set one up. Then, make sure it’s easy to find and sign up for on your website.
Loyalty programs are clear drivers of restaurant sales and focusing on your existing customers makes good business sense.
It’s easier to keep a customer than get a new one, so show your diners you value them by offering them a loyalty program. (tweet this)
You’ll find that members of your restaurant loyalty program spend up to 20% more at your restaurant when redeeming their reward. They also increase the frequency with which they return to your restaurant as they’re looking to earn their next reward.
We mentioned earlier that your customers want to know where to find you.
To increase your business, put your phone number and address in a highly visible spot on both your desktop and mobile sites.
Customers on mobile are especially looking for this information, so don’t hide it.
Part of increasing business comes with making your site more user friendly, so consider adding a map as well.
Finally, stay on top of your search engine optimization (SEO).
Search engines like Google value quality content as well as a speedy website.
Take a look at your website each month to evaluate its speed and how well you’re doing with SEO. Consider adding a blog so you have regular, fresh content.
While you’re doing your SEO and speed check, evaluate your usability. Have others look at your site with a fresh eye. Then, make the changes needed so you can use your website to increase business.
At Restaurant Engine, not only do we create great, responsive websites, but you can count on us to create a website that drives business to all your restaurants and edges you above the competition by using mobile-friendly design with a terrific user experience. Ready to take the plunge and create a website with an online menu, blog and beautiful photos? Get your free website consultation today!