For both restaurant owners and guests, technology is changing the dining experience. Did you know that 75% of guests now look up menu info online before choosing a restaurant? This is just one example of the many reasons why it’s essential for restaurateurs to have an active online presence. Most guests decide where to eat based on the website - so it’s up to a restaurant to make sure its first impression is a good one.
Whether building a website from scratch or updating the one already in place, there are many ways to simplify this process. Chances are, restaurants already have access to several resources that will ensure their website is dressed to impress. This article from CAKE explores four resources that could help a restaurant significantly improve its online presence.
Your Point of Sale System (POS)
The most important resource you can use to build the perfect resource is your very own POS. Your restaurant’s software tracks the most important information about your sales: Which dishes are selling the best? Which times of the day earn you the most revenue? You can even integrate sales data with information from a Guest Manager system to ask important questions about your guests’ preferences and behavior. Use cloud-based data from your Point of Sale to answer these questions, and then implement those answers into your website design.
For example - if your café’s busiest hours are from 7 am-9 am on weekdays, you might advertise a loyalty program on your website that allows regular customers to get every 10th cup of coffee free On the other hand, if your hamburger joint sees its highest revenue from 9-11 pm on Saturday nights, perhaps you want to advertise a drink special.
No matter what menu items you serve, the key is knowing what your guests want, so you can upsell them on relevant dishes that might go well with their favorites.
An impressive 83% of guests look up restaurant information on their phones - and 36% want to make online reservations.. If you haven’t already done so, it’s high time to optimize your business’s website for mobile viewers. This update has several bonuses: you appeal to diners on-the-go and capture the business of the same loyal customers by giving them the option to reserve a table online.
When you’re planning updates to your website, it’s good to start off by brainstorming a list of other restaurant websites that you like. (Whether or not you like these other restaurants, you can still learn a lot from their websites.) When you’re doing research, make sure you look up some inspiration on both your desktop computer and your smartphone, so you can decide which design features are the most important. Remember: your guests will be comparing your website to your competitors’ sites, too.
Online ordering is more than a trend; it’s a new way of life for modern diners. 19% of diners in one survey want to see more online ordering Your guests are busier than ever; they’re working long hours, raising families, and juggling their active social lives. They’re always hungry for a healthy, delicious meal, but they don’t always have time to cook - or even to sit down and eat. Giving them the option to order online will boost your bottom line while capturing their loyalty for years to come.
Many restaurants work with 3rd-party delivery services, like GrubHub or Seamless. Whether or not you employ one of these companies, best practices dictate that you also accept orders directly from your guests on your restaurant website. This practice cuts down on fees you pay to other companies, not to mention the fees that guests have to pay directly. This process even saves time for guests who are checking out your website, and may not want to open another browser window.
Let’s assume your restaurant maintains an active presence on social media. (If you don’t, it’s time to get started.) Make sure you link your social accounts to your website, so your guests can easily go from reading your menu to following you on Instagram. Funneling hungry guests to your social posts is a great way to boost engagement across platforms, and keep your loyal fans apprised of your daily specials. This makes it even easier for them to share your restaurant’s special offers on social media, or via text message.
No matter who your restaurant is serving - from coffee-drinking office workers to late-night pizza lovers - your guests want to look your restaurant up online. Building the best possible website guarantees that you'll get more business, more consistently. Best of all, you can keep track of what works best for your client base, so you can improve marketing tactics over time.