Having an online presence is a must for any business in today’s connected world. With an app for everything, even restaurants are needing to have a strong online presence if they are wanting to compete in today’s market. Business Insider reports that having an online ordering system can boost a restaurant’s bottom line by as much as 30%. Simple tasks such as reservations and to-go orders can easily be accomplished with an online system reducing staff overhead.
The National Restaurant Association reported that in 2015, 41% of all restaurants reported they increased their social media presence, while 75% of customers said they used some form of restaurant technology during this same time. This shows a slight discrepancy between what the consumer is doing and what the businesses are providing. Having an online presence and bringing higher traffic to that site is vitally important for overall success and profitability.
In addition to an online presence bringing more awareness to your brand, there are some unique data that websites can offer you. Tools that allow you to know where your website traffic originates from, the general area in which the customer is located, how long they visit, and what they were searching for in order to find your website are all valuable data points that can be harnessed to your brand’s advantage.
Beyond the typical features that restaurant websites have such as menus, hours of operation, and locations, some additional services may be offered to help further engage existing and potential customers. Mailing lists that include discounts and promotions, print out or smartphone coupons, customer loyalty reward programs, and even advanced scheduled orders or catering can help to engage and turnover customers.
Having an online presence opens an entirely new field of advertisement possibilities. In addition to local print media, which has been on the decline in recent years, online advertising can be done for a fraction of the cost. Promoting your restaurant and brand to online review sites, search engines, and food delivery services or aggregators can help drive in multiple streams of clients with minimal investment and effort.
A strong online presence does not have to be complicated. Consumers want to know the basics: where you are, what you offer, and who you are. Thorough details of these items can help bring higher traffic, as well. Even simply notating which menu items might be vegetarian or gluten-free can help draw in those searching for these types of items in your area. Without changing the menu, you have successfully appealed to an incredibly niche local market.
Your website is your chance to have all the free exposure and marketing you can. Showcase pictures of menu items. Show off your restaurant’s cozy interior and beautiful bar space. This is your chance to shine. By showcasing what you have to offer in a mobile-friendly format, you are attracting a large range of customers that will soon be regulars.