With 90 percent of customers researching restaurant options online before making a decision about where to eat, having a strong online presence is crucial for the success of any restaurant in 2019. Of those 90 percent, 57 percent will visit a restaurant’s website and 35 percent will be influenced by customer reviews.
1. Improve your SEO
To grow your customer base, your restaurant needs to be locally discoverable through search engines like Google and Yelp. You can have the best food and the best service and the best ratings in the world. However, if your restaurant – say a pizzeria – is undiscoverable when people search “best pizza near me”, you are losing a valuable opportunity to bring in new customers.
By learning the basics of SEO, or better yet, hiring an SEO specialist, you can bump your restaurant to the top of the search results on local queries related to your restaurant. Check your restaurant’s local search engine ranking for free with fullKitchen's cutting-edge AI software.
Imagine yourself in the shoes of a hungry customer: You type “best pizza near me”. If you’re like 92 percent of customers, you won’t look past the first page of results. On Google queries, you’re unlikely to look beyond the top three results. Make sure your restaurant is one of them.
2. Optimize your website
First and foremost, your website should be secure. If a customer accesses your website from a public wifi network and is denied entry due to a privacy error, you may have lost a potential order (or a lifetime of orders).
Second, you should have the following applications integrated and easily viewable on your website: your social media platforms (with links), customer reviews, and your menu with photographs. Your displayed reviews can be custom-selected and pulled in from sites like Google, Yelp, or TripAdvisor.
There should be an option for customers to order delivery through your website, as most customers state that they would prefer to order through a restaurant’s website than through a third-party app like Postmates or Grubhub. You also won’t have to lose a hefty chunk of your earnings to high commission fees. With commission-free delivery apps, you can lower your costs significantly and receive incoming orders via your website and Facebook messenger.
Lastly, all contact information and hours of operation should be visible on your website’s home page. Your restaurant’s address should be clickable so that it cleanly converts into a customers’ GPS navigation.
3. Make sure your information is consistent across all platforms
This one is easy and has the potential for overnight return. With 65 percent of customers dining out at least once per week, it’s important to make sure your restaurant’s address, hours of operation, website, and phone number are the same on all platforms.
4. Post consistently on social media
Social media is an incredibly useful and free tool that restaurants can use to reach customers. 86 percent of millennials choose to eat at a restaurant after seeing it online. What better way to reach millennials than on social media?
Restaurants with social media are slightly more likely to use Facebook (91 percent) followed by Instagram (78 percent). Of those, 67 percent say that they pay for social media ads this year. Considering that a meager $15 can get a gorgeous photograph of your food posted on thousands of local timelines (tailored to your target demographic) – social media ads can be a fruitful investment.
5. Promptly respond to negative reviews
Only 23 percent of restauranteurs reach out to customers who left negative online feedback. This is a missed opportunity. Not only does a prompt (and empathetic) response – within 24 hours – from your restaurant result in a 40 percent chance of the customer altering or deleting the review, it will also be read by 89 percent of browsing customers. At maximum, you will salvage your rating and regain a customer. At minimum, you will have a chance at damage control.
Remember, increasing your star rating by just one star can lead to a 9% revenue boost!
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