Running a restaurant is a great task with several responsibilities that never cease. And restaurateurs never wish to add another job to their already overloaded schedule, especially if it is creating and maintaining an exclusive website for themselves. But, gone are the days when it was an additional task. Today, a professional website is a necessity for any food business that wishes to prosper in the highly competitive arena.
Statistics state that 75% of consumers often made a choice about a restaurant based on online search results. Thus, not having a website for oneself is a grave mistake as one misses out on capitalizing on the benefits from a huge ‘dine-out ready’ crowd.
Effective online visibility can make a great difference for restaurants and determines their profitability in the long run.
7 Compelling Reasons Why a Restaurant Must Have a Unique Website
i) Better Branding:
A website is a powerful tool to create the first best impression on the visitors. When it is built well, it enables the restaurant to exercise greater control over their brand image. An own website is a platform for a restaurant to narrate its story in its own style, unlike third parties telling it. Customers get a good idea of what the restaurant is all about, the offerings and prices, signature dishes, its business mission and the overall atmosphere inside the restaurant. A restaurant can use a website to boost sales by including high quality images of the food, the interiors of the space and also working videos of the staff.
ii) Improved Search Rankings:
If SEO techniques are professionally followed while building the restaurant website and also adding relevant content to it, the website can enjoy the benefits of improved Search Rankings on Google and other search engines.
Placing billboards, producing commercials and airing them, buying radio spots for voice ads can turn out to be very expensive for restaurants. They are in fact, temporary too. Whereas, a website is definitely an affordable and a permanent platform for advertising activities.
iv) Convenient for Customers and the Business:
A modern restaurant website allows customers to make table reservations, order food online, make digital payments, sign up for newsletters, leave comments and rate it with stars. This empowers customers and gives them the convenience that they expect the most. With online table reservations, a restaurant manages the crowd effectively and overbooking is avoided.
v) More Trust and Loyalty:
Customers also look to know the feedback of other customers even before they make their first visit to a specific restaurant. Therefore, third-party websites must not be their source of information. Since 84% of customers trust online reviews as much as interpersonal recommendations, the website is the most perfect place to fill with testimonials and engage in brand building. Reviews on the Google Business page can also be directly added to the website for greater organic traffic and more authenticity.
vi) Information for Guests:
People looking out for dining options are definitely going to look at a restaurant’s social media accounts and its website to make an informed decision. Thus, a website must be able to tell guests about operational hours, address, new menu items, signature dishes, currents specials, offers, discounts, etc. All that a restaurant needs to do is to keep such vital information frequently checked and updated. If information provided is incorrect, it could frustrate a customer.
vii) Promoting Related Services:
Telling guests about your catering facilities and private party hosting amenities will ensure that customers also know about your affiliated services. They will get in touch with you not only for dining but also for other events and parties.
12 Must Have Features for a Successful Restaurant Website
i) Contact Information:
The restaurant’s phone number must be displayed in an obvious spot. You could also mention your email address in a notable spot to invite orders for party gatherings or catering events.
Help people locate your restaurant easily by providing them the complete address with the Pincode.
iii) Open Hours:
To let people know the operational hours of the restaurant.
iv) Digital Menu:
Since people check restaurant menus online before making a choice, uploading a digital menu (not a mere PDF of the physical menu) is essential.
v) About Us Page:
This page will help customers understand the restaurant’s history, mission and also helps to create a connection with prospective customers.
High quality images of the restaurant’s food, drinks and dining spaces will make people feel transported to the brick and mortar restaurant itself.
vii) Online Reservations:
The link for table reservation must be provided right on the homepage so that customers need not have to scour through pages of the website to locate it.
viii) Social Media Icons:
Including icons of the restaurant’s social media accounts has become an indispensable practice to expand the business digitally and always stay on top of the customers’ minds.
If there are job openings in the restaurant and you are hiring, the information can be posted on the careers section of the website to attract candidates.
Asking visitors to the restaurant website to sign up for the newsletter can be done by embedding a sign-up form or widget on one of the pages. When people signup, the restaurant gets authentic, functional email addresses that can be used for future promotions. New subscribers can also be offered discounts to bring them to the restaurant.
With effective videos on the website, the customers will be able to enjoy before-hand the experience that the restaurant can offer. When the first impression is positive and deep, they are likely to visit the restaurant to make the fantasy a reality.
xii) Online Orders:
Last, but not least, if a restaurant accepts food orders online, it must include a highly visible link to online food ordering right on the homepage so that an effective business transaction is effectively achieved.
Examples of Unique Restaurant Websites
Here are examples of two stunning restaurant websites. One website is of Mrs. Kumar’s. The restaurant serves authentic Indian cuisine in Monroe township while the other is the website of Redberry Frozen Yogurt operating in Plainsboro. Such templates are curated for restaurants, completely utility-based, filled with information, clutter-free, possess a neat layout, have a logical progression of content and are visually appealing too. Such websites created by professional restaurant website designer help boost sales and expand the customer base.
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