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10 Steps To Optimize Your Restaurant’s Website

Each day thousands of your potential customers form their first impression of your restaurant by looking at your website.  Optimizing your restaurant’s website ensures that your website is quick, easy to navigate, and provides a seamless user experience. It can also help increase your ranking on search engines, thus, making it easier for customers to find your restaurant. It increases brand awareness and leads to a long-term increase in revenues.

Optimizing your Restaurant's Website

In this article, we’ll show you how you can optimize your restaurant’s website in ten easy steps.

The first step to building great website is selecting a reliable web host which help you to optimize user experience on your website by reducing load times and improving your search engine rankings. This great resource by digital.com can help you get on to the right web-hosting service. Now, let’s discuss how you can create a great website for your restaurant.

10 Steps To Optimize Your Restaurant’s Website

10 Steps to optimize your Restaurant's Website

1. Brand Identity

Your restaurant’s website is an online extension of your brick and mortar store. It should be a reflection of your brand identity. If your restaurant has been in business for some time, you may have already established your identity as a brand. This includes elements like your logo, your brand voice, your products, your positioning as a fast-casual or fine-dine restaurant, all aspects which makes you instantly recognizable to your customers and determine how they perceive your brand. Your brand identity should be reflected in every aspect of your website design including

  • Typography
  • Color palette
  • Brand voice
  • Imagery
Optimizing Your Restaurant's Website: Brand identity
Optimizing Your Restaurant's Website: Brand identity-2

On the other hand, if you are just starting out and are yet to establish your brand, here are some questions that would give you an idea of how to go about branding your restaurant.

  • Your Target audience 
  • How do you want your customers to perceive your brand
  • How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • Your brand voice or how would you communicate with your customers.

2. Mobile-first design/ responsive design

Responsive website design automatically adjusts your content for viewing on different screen sizes. While we cannot stress enough on the need for responsive website design, the focus has now shifted to mobile-first design. So, what exactly is the difference between the two? Up until a few years ago, a website developer usually designed the website with desktop users in mind and then used additional coding to optimize the website for mobile screens.  

However, with the recent shift in browsing habits, and with Google endorsing mobile-first, the right way to design your website is to focus on the mobile experience first.  And it is logical, considering that most of your customers access your website on their mobile phones. 

Mobile-first design/ responsive design: Optimize your restaurant's website

What makes for a perfect mobile-first design? I am sure, you have browsed quite a few websites on your mobile, so you know intuitively what works on mobile, so let’s just sum it up.

  • A Fast loading site
  • Less is more on mobile- we definitely want the content to be concise and to the point
  • Simple Design
  • Easy Navigation
  • Accessible Menu
  • Font should be readable on a mobile screen 
  • Images rendering on the mobile screen
  • Contrasting color scheme
  • Clickable buttons

3. Use Instinctive Navigation

Navigation should be simple and intuitive. Period. Your customers should be easily able to find the information they are looking for. And yes, it is your Menu page and order-online button, which they want to see the moment they land on your site. So make sure they appear right on the top prominently. 

Mobile-first design/ responsive design

Primary navigation should stand out and sit along the top of the page. Include only the most important information such as a menu, reservations, contact information, and locations or events (depending on your requirements).  You could add a secondary menu to the page footer, if required, which can include your blog, about us page, or any other info you might want to share.

Optimize your Restaurant's Website ; Intuitive navigation
Optimize your Restaurant's Website ; Footer navigation

4. NAP Information

What are the things you usually look for when you visit a restaurant’s website? After taking a peek at the menu, it is usually the address, phone number, or maybe business hours or the online order button. And, if you are on your mobile phone then the phone number should ideally be click-to-call. Well! The good news is that your customers are probably looking for the same. And it is best to give them what they are looking for.

Your NAP information – Name, address, and phone number and business hours should be prominently displayed on all pages, ideally in the footer or header of your website. Add Click-to-call extensions for mobile sites that offer a convenient way for website visitors to call you without leaving your website.

5. Store locator/map

Another convenience that you could offer your customers is adding a store locator to your website. A store locator helps users find your physical store via a  map on your website. There are several ways you can do it:

  •  Use a Google Maps Widget: These widgets can be placed in specific areas on your site (such as your sidebar or footer). 
  • Install a Google Maps Plugin: There are seral plugins such as The WP Google Maps plugin, which enable you to create custom maps and give you flexibility over where your map is placed.
  •  You can even embed Google Maps Manually.
Optimize your Restaurant's Website

6. Menu Page Optimization

If restaurants could have only a single page menu, it will obviously be the menu page. Your menu page is basically your whole restaurant in a nutshell. Ensure that it is well designed. 

  • Create food categories Organizing your menu into categories such as vegetarian, non-vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, breakfast, or lunch enhances user experience especially on smaller screens.
  • Add a short description to each food item.
Optimize your Restaurant's Website
Optimize your Restaurant's Website
Optimize your Restaurant's Website
  • Use pictures:  Use Good quality pictures of menu items.
  • Prices: Add prices to each item. 
  • Personally, I want to see an add to cart option below each menu item.
Optimize your Restaurant's Website ; Menu optimization

7. Images

The food industry is a visual industry. Your images are the focal point of your website. Ensure that you are using high-resolution images. Hire a professional photographer to do the job, if required.

Optimize your Restaurant's Website ;

8. Pop-ups and Auto-responders

 Are you planning to set-up pop-ups on your restaurant website? There is a lot of controversy on the benefits of having a pop-up.  While some feel that they are a great way to attract attention to your most important offers and deals, others argue that they are downright annoying. In either case, if you choose to use them ensure that you are allowing visitors ample time on your website before you start bombarding them with pop-ups.

  • The CTAs on your pop-ups should be clear and they shouldn’t take a lifetime to load.
  • The close button should be easily visible and accessible.
  • Avoid pop-ups on mobile as far as possible. 
  • And, just do not shower your customers with pop-ups after every 5 seconds.

Auto-responders, on the other hand, is a great way to engage your customers. It makes sense to immediately thank a customer who takes the trouble to reach out to you. 

Optimize your Restaurant's Website ; Auto-Responders

Set up auto-responders on your contact page and everywhere else that you are asking the customers to reach out to you. You could even use this opportunity to engage your customers or upsell. For instance, if you ask your customers to subscribe to your newsletter, you could set up an automated thank you note with a welcome coupon.  If it’s a simple contact form you could set up a thank you note with an update on your latest offers. Or, a link to your online order page.

9. Local-Citations

By adding your restaurant to local and relevant listings, you build your website’s credibility and trust with the search engines. Some of the most relevant listings that your restaurant should be on is Yelp and Tripadvisor. 

  • Facebook
  • Apple Maps
  • Google My Business
  • LinkedIn Company Directory
  • Bing
  • Yelp
  • MapQuest
  • HubSpot
  • Super Pages
  • Yellow Book
Optimize your Restaurant's Website ; Local citations

10. SEO

a. Domain Name

Ensure that your domain name is short and as close as possible to your restaurant name.

b. Add Meta Tags to each of your website pages: 

The Meta description summarizes a page’s content and appears in search results below the title of the page. Create a unique meta description for each page on your website. Try to keep your Meta description tags between 150 and 160 characters and incorporate your focus keywords in the text.

c. Use Keywords Carefully

Research keywords for your restaurant and include them in your page’s body, header, title tags, and Meta description. 

d. Use Alt Tags and Title Tags Your Images:

Add Titles to your images using keywords.  You should also add Alt Tags to images. Ait Tags are basically a short accurate description of the image that helps the search engines understand the content of images.

e. Create a Sitemap for Your Site:

A sitemap helps search engines understand the organization of content on your site.  You can easily create a sitemap using a plugin. Once you are done submit your sitemap online on Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.

f. Optimize Your Images:

Large, high-definition images can slow down your website damaging the user experience on your website. There are several plugins that you can use to optimize your images.

g. Include Links to and From Your Site

Participate in local events and contribute to your community by the way of fundraisers. This not only helps you build local awareness for your restaurant, but it also allows the opportunity for you to be featured on high authoritative local websites like .edu or .gov links that can greatly boost your local rankings.

 h. Schema markup

Schema Markup assists Google in understanding the content on your website. For example, if you have schema implemented on your menu page, your menu page may show up on Google search results. You can use tools like Google Structured Data Markup tool or schema.org to implement schema on your website.

Wrap-Up

 A website requires regular maintenance, fine-tuning, continuous monitoring, and testing. However, having a well-optimized site can generate huge dividends in the long-run.

How to Build an Email List for your Restaurant?

Email marketing is the fastest and the most efficient way to reach out to your customers and build long term bonds. The first step towards setting up your email marketing campaign is building a customer list for your restaurant.

Here are a few practical ways that will help you to Build an Email List for your Restaurant?

1. Collect Emails In Person

This old school strategy is still one of the most effective ways to collect emails. There are several ways in which you can do this. Place a small box at the check-out counter, prompting customers to drop their business cards.  You can take it a step further by adding a small incentive to the action; like a free treat in exchange of business cards. Another great idea is to promote it as a monthly raffle, where a single winner could be offered a free meal or dessert.  You would also want to train your wait staff to request customers to leave their emails at the time of check out.

2. Add an Email Optin to your Website

Email Optin- Build an Email List for your Restaurant

You have put in a lot of effort into building a great website and promoting it through ads and social media. Finally, you have managed to get a decent number of people visiting on your website and browsing through your menu. Now, it’s time to ensure that you are not losing any of these casual visitors or prospective customers. The way to do it is by adding an opt-in form to your website, nudging customers to sign up for your restaurant’s newsletter. Incentivize the deal by offering a free coupon- it can be something as simple as a sign -up and get free ice cream on your next visit.

3. Employ your Wifi as a Tool

Wi Fi- Build an Email List for your Restaurant

Are you offering free Wi-Fi to your restaurant’s customers? You can use the service as a tool to collect email ids. Configure the service in a way that the customers are required to submit emails to use the free wi-fi.

4. Use Technology To Build Email List for your Restaurant

There are several kinds of technology that you may be using at your restaurant which can be used to grow your customer list. For instance, your POS. Most modern PoS systems require customers to submit their Email Ids at the time of check out. You can download this data and use it for your email campaigns.

On similar lines, if your restaurant is running its loyalty program, which requires customers to sign in or subscribe using their email, you have the data at your disposal. The only thing you need to do is encourage customers to subscribe to the program or fill in their details. Your online ordering solution can also be a great source of customer data.

If you are using a guest management system to allow customers to make reservations or feedback software that send out automated messages to customers dining at the store, you can source email data from these systems for your campaigns.

5. Enlist Partners to Co-promote:

Tie up with local businesses to co-promote. Let’s say you own a pizza place, you can tie up with a local art school to display your sign-up info on their bulletin board. In exchange, you can have one of their posters at your restaurant.

6. Build Email List by Referrals

Request your current customers to forward or share your emailers with friends and colleagues. Don’t forget to add a sign-up form in the email body encouraging the people who receive these emails to sign-up.

7. Host a Contest

Contests are a great way to boost engagement on your social media handles. At the same time, they can be employed to collect email ids and build an email list for your restaurant can ask participants to submit their email ids to register for the contest.

8. Integrate Social Media into Your Strategy

Have links to sign-up on your restaurant’s Facebook Instagram or Twitter handle. Promote Your restaurant’s newsletter through social media and invite customers to sign-up for the same.

9. Join Our Club

Another great way to build an email list for your restaurant is to set up a Birthday or Anniversary campaign and invite your customers to join the club by registering their Emails.

Wrap Up

The success of your Email Marketing Campaign depends on how well you build an Email List for your Restaurant and customize your messages. With little effort, these tips can help you grow your customer list to kick-start your Email campaign.

Online Reputation Management for your Business

Online Reputation Management

Apart from conventional marketing strategies and paid advertising, Restaurants have always relied on word of mouth to reach out to their customers and build their brand. From $100 cheesesteaks to iconic commercials we have seen prominent restaurant chains coming up with new strategies each day to get their loyal customers talking about them.

The era of the internet added a whole new dimension to the marketing of restaurants. According to a recent survey, the millennial customers prefer to check out all available information before trying out a new place. In fact, 80% of the customers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.

While the proliferation of the internet presented opportunities to showcase your brand to a wider audience, it also presented several challenges. Maintaining an online presence does not cut the mark, you have to constantly monitor and update your online listings. online ratings and reviews play a major role in attracting customers to the restaurant. A negative review no longer remains constrained to the immediate friend circle of an unhappy customer, rather it can reach millions of your potential customers. Online Reputation management is therefore extremely important for your restaurant.

Online Reputation Management is not just about review response, it is the systematic approach to building and managing your Online Brand identity. Here We have broken it down into 3 key steps.

1. Build Your Online Identity

Apart from your website, social media provides multiple platforms to build and promote your brand. You would want to ensure that your online identities are a reflection of your brand. Devote some time to developing your profile on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Post enticing pictures of your food and restaurant. Provide all information that you think your customer could use like location, phone number, your business hours, your website, online ordering link, and your menu. If a publisher doesn’t allow you to add a menu, listing your website with other relevant information would also suffice. Keep your pages updated with the latest information on offers, specials, and menu items.

Listing your restaurant on online food guides and review sites like Yelp, OpenTable or Tripadvisor is an option that you would not want to miss out on. Apart from giving you access to a much wider audience, these platforms can also help you to leverage positive reviews. Spend some time sprucing up your profile on these sites and showcasing your best products. Double-check to ensure that you have provided all information that may be helpful to your customers.

Online Reputation Management
Manage Your Online Reputation

2. Monitor Your Brand

a. Respond to Reviews

Maintaining and Updating your online identities is only half the task, the next big challenge is handling customer reviews. Customers can also leave a review or feedback on your Facebook, Google or Instagram page apart from review sites like Yelp or OpenTable.

b. Replying to reviews both positive and negative should be an important part of your strategy.

A negative review can do substantial harm to your business. You should be very careful while handling negative reviews. At no point should your customers feel that you do not value their opinion. Be polite and assure your customer that their grievances will be addressed. We, at mKonnekt, have experienced several instances where we turned around a beleaguered customer into a loyal advocate just by replying to their reviews. My personal favorite is the time when a customer- after reading our response- went back ad updated his initial review and even gave our client extra star for the quick response to his review.

c. Leverage Positive  Reviews

Positive reviews about your restaurant improve your rank on search engines and convince customers to try out your business. While most of us realize the importance of responding to negative reviews, there are still some who feel that reaching out to customers who left a positive review is a waste of time. However, an intelligent marketer knows that replying to positive reviews gives you a chance to cross-sell or upsell products and also to win over loyal customers.

As a restaurant owner, you may not have time to respond to reviews personally, you can hire a marketing firm or use an automated platform like mKonnekt marketing platform, which collates your reviews over several online listings and brings them in one place so that you can easily manage your response.

d. Social Listening

Social listening is another big part of your online reputation management. Keep a track of all mentions of your brand in online conversations to keep a tab on the popular sentiment around your business. You could set up Google alerts for any mention of your brand or use other social listening tools to respond to brand mentions, keep an eye on the competition or collaborate with others.

3. Promote Your brand

a. Encourage Your Customers to leave a Review

While dissatisfied customers never waste a minute in expressing their discontent over one or more sites, you would usually need to nudge a happy customer to leave feedback. A solution to this would be to have a well-formulated strategy to collect feedbacks. The age of collecting feedback on flyers is long past, you should be using a digital tool like Kritiq which allows customers to offer feedback at the time of checkout. You should also be training and incentivizing your staff to collect customer feedback.

Many restaurants even go to the extent of offering a surprise gift for a customer who left a positive review. This small gesture may go a long way in building a loyal customer base.

b. Influencer Marketing

Collaborating with key influencers is one of the most effective ways to build your online reputation. When an established food blogger recommends a place, the chances of their followers walking in the store increases. Influence marketing is coming up in a big way. We will talk about how a restaurant can use influencer marketing to expand their customer base.

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