You have a great restaurant, serving delicious food. It’s attractive from the outside, and you have a big phone number printed on door.
Some people walk by and notice your sign, some come for a try, and fingers crossed your business is getting known in your area by ‘word-of-mouth’.
So why do you also need to have a professional website of your own? What will your own web presence bring to your business?
Well to start, did you know that restaurants are the single most popular search on the mobile web.
Let’s consider that for a minute……
Almost 90% of internet users in 2016 use the web to find and research restaurants, with the majority then basing their final decision on where to eat from that research.
It is imperative that any restaurant has a (mobile friendly) website to provide basic information and promote your business.
If not you are already missing out on one of the most important tools for bringing in customers.
1. Word of Mouth is Online
Throughout time, the biggest argument used by restaurant owners as to why they did not need a website (or an updated, mobile responsive one) was the concept of word of mouth.
And there’s certainly some truth in it then and now, there’s no doubt that word of mouth as a concept remains stronger than ever before, however it has changed and the where of word of mouth that has changed forever. People are no longer communicating face to face about the best places to grab a bite to eat.
When people have a great experience in a restaurant they immediately jump onto their phones to share their positive experience with their friends on social media (Or failing that onto Trip Advisor).
When they do this, they provide a link and reference to where their friends (and followers) can learn more about the establishment. If the establishment has a website, that becomes the target.
2. Hungry Customers Are Mobile
How many times have you or someone that you know all of a sudden decide they are going out for dinner tonight and therefore instantaneously pull out their phone in search of places to satisfy their cravings – I know I do it weekly.
People no longer walk around town to see what might be suitable, they do it virtually on their smartphones with their results based upon their location and preference. They either perform a general online search for places to eat in their direct area or filter the search using keywords and location e.g. ‘pizza in Liverpool’.
Speaking of mobile’s 62% of people are less likely to choose a restaurant online if they are unable to read the menu on their device. If your website isn’t responsive then customers simply can’t / won’t read your menu, they will just visit a competitor website.
Avoid the dreaded pinching and zooming on smartphones and keep the experience as easy as possible when your customers are still in the decision process.
3. Your Competition Is Doing It / Your Competition Isn’t Doing It
There are two opposite scenarios here and both lead to the same conclusion for a restaurant owner.
Firstly, if your competition already have websites but you don’t, then you need to get one as soon as possible as you have already fallen behind and with a mobile responsive website you can tip that scale bak into your favour.
On the other hand, if your competition does not yet have a website then you have a great opportunity to gain an immediate advantage over them.
It’s becoming pretty clear cut at this point, isn’t it?
It is likely that the majority of your competition will already own a website in which they promote themselves and are taking your business. A well designed and developed website can show potential consumers why they should choose your restaurant by highlighting what you do well.
Likewise if you don’t have a website, possible consumers are going to get the impression you are being cheap with your money or time, and will wonder what else you are skimping on.
4. A Website is the Cheapest Method of Marketing to the Biggest Audience with Trackable Results
By creating a strong online presence you are not a slave to how many people pass by your bus stop or billboard ad. You are not dependant on the level of readership of your local newspaper or how many people are listening to your local radio-station. And face it the Yellow Pages are dead.
Then even if you did all of the above, none of them give you a measurable return of investment.
When purchasing a website alongside a ongoing SEO (or even a PPC) campaign comes at a lower cost than all of the other monthly marketing options, however it also allows you to connect with a lot more people and more importantly people who are interested in what you have to offer.
AND with a website you can track the progress of your customer interest via Google Analytics.
Simply put, there is no marketing alternative to a website that will allow you a better shot at reaching your customers at a better price.
5. Don’t rely only on social media!
Social media is a great tool and if you’re going to get on social media, by all means, pay attention to it.
However just because you have a Facebook page with some basic information and an occasional special offer, well thats just not the same as having your own website.
Similar to a negative review on Trip Advisor, consumers can post bad reviews on your Facebook page.
If you don’t have someone checking your page frequently or responding to posts/messages then collectively this could leave a poor impression of your restaurant.
6. Increase awareness.
To the 90% of people that are using the internet to find and research restaurants, if you don’t have a website, you don’t exist.
A website is your online sign on your building, your billboard, your marketing hub.
If there isn’t one there then people are going to drive right past and never know you even exist. If you have a good one, people are going to want to try your food.
7. Provide basic information.
Hours of operation, payment methods accepted, location and directions go a long way to helping customers come to your restaurant. A website answers these basic questions quickly and efficiently without tying up your staff or your own time on the phone, which is good because you are going to need that phone for the increase in reservations.
Also people are too lazy to call up now to find out small details like that when they can find your competitors details in seconds online.
8. A Place to promote extra services.
Through a website you have a great avenue in which you can promote additional services which people may not know that you offer.
Your current consumers that already like you might love to know that you also deliver lunches to nearby offices, or maybe that you offer catering for private events, etc.
9. Generate more business
If prospective customers know that you exist, are familiar with your food and service, feel connected, know where to find you and when you are open, then plain and simple you will gain more of their business.
Actually I probably didn’t need the other 8 reasons.