Without a website, your restaurant could be missing out big time. More and more diners are doing their research on where to eat online.
But just having a website for your restaurant isn’t enough.
You need to make sure you’re providing the right information and features to maximise the chances you’ll get bums on seats.
In this list, we’ll go through the top 6 things your website absolutely must have in 2019:
#1 A menu
This is right up there as one of the single most important things you should be showcasing on your website. Your product is the food and drink you serve. So if you’re not showing people what that food and drink is, you’re probably not going to get as many bookings as you’d like.
People get excited about dining out, and big part of that excitement is planning their meal choices. You also need to think about vegetarians, vegans, people with allergies or just fussy eaters (like me) – all of these people are going to want to see the menu in advance!
There are a few different ways of presenting your menu online. Most restaurants will upload an image (generally, a PDF version) of their entire menu and add a link to download it. Or you could spend a bit more time on building a menu page.
If your menu choices change regularly, it might be worth including a few example dishes to give people a flavour of what you do.
A recent study by Barclaycard highlighted that 21% of diners check a restaurant’s website or social media profile to see what the food looks like. Give these inquisitive bunch what they’re looking for and you increase the chances they’ll pop along for a bite.
But there’s a big caveat here – make sure the food looks good! Taking an appealing photo of food isn’t as easy as you think. Do it badly and you can end up putting people off entirely!
If you have the budget for it, hire a professional to come in and take photos of your food. If you’re doing it yourself, don’t go too crazy with the filters. You don’t want to end up making all your dishes look radioactive!
#3 Online booking system
People expect to be able to do most things online these days so make sure visitors to your site can book a table without needing to phone up or email. Some people (myself included) will take a pass on restaurants who don’t have an online booking system.
If you don’t have a huge budget and a team of developers to make one for you, you can buy a restaurant booking system off the shelf and plug it in to your website.
Some of the most popular solutions are:
Don’t forget to keep an eye on any online bookings that come up. There’s nothing worse than booking a table only to find when you get to the restaurant that they have no record of it!
#4 Contact details
Giving visitors the option to book a table online isn’t enough – you also need to give them contact details. This is important because they might have specific questions they want to ask you before they book, or they might have a special request that they can’t make online.
And some people just prefer to talk to person!
Make it as simple as possible for these people to get in touch with you. Either include a phone number or email address at the top of your site or create a ‘contact us’ page which is easy to find.
Most importantly, make sure you have a system in place for dealing with these contacts. It’s not good putting a phone number on your website if you’re just going to let it ring and ring…
#5 Social media
If you’re in the restaurant sector and you’re not on social media, that’s a huge missed opportunity. Social media can be a great way of getting the word out about your restaurant, as well as for engaging with existing customers and making sure they don’t forget about you.
The most popular social networks for restaurants include:
As the Barclaycard study pointed out, a lot of people look at social media to see if a restaurant is worth visiting. So make sure you’re doing everything you can to reach these people.
Link to your social media profiles on your website so people can find them easily.
Make sure you have a system in place for responding to people who contact you on social media. If people see lots of unanswered questions and comments on your social media profile, they might be put off!
Let everyone know how amazing your restaurant is by including customers reviews or testimonials on your website. Reviews and recommendations are one of the most powerful ways of promoting your restaurant, so make sure you’re not missing out here.
There are a number of different ways of doing this:
- Collecting reviews from customers manually and highlighting them on your site
- Including a feed of reviews left on your Facebook page or other social media profile
- Using an independent review platform like Trustpilot or TripAdvisor and showcasing your score
Can we help?
Creating or improving a website, buying an online booking system or investing in social media advertising all cost money. If you need help, don’t forget you can apply for business finance from Boost Capital. Our funds are available for almost any business use. Apply today for an instant decision.