Your restaurant is hot. Real hot. You have three of the town’s best chefs, friendly and experienced waiters, a dishwasher that could challenge any machine. Your fruits and vegetables arrive every morning from the nearest farm, your seafood is always caught fresh, and your pasta can make an Italian cry.
Your next step, you reason, is to create a website.
The problem? If you’re not experienced, your website could be like a bad sequel to a good movie. Inconsistent, dry, and boring, your website could turn customers away from your restaurant.
Luckily, we’ve got 6 tips to help make sure your website is as hot as your food.
1. Online Reservation Tool.
Create a tool on your website that allows customers to reserve before they reach you. People may not want to call, and your waiters may be too busy to answer the phone. An online reservation tool can solve both of these.
Many free reservation tools exist, such as freebookings, mySeat, and even a plugin by WordPress, Restaurant Reservations. All of these are free and easy to integrate into your website.
Many small businesses have been surprised at the power of blogging. According to a study by ThinkCenter, small businesses that blog see 126% more growth in terms of leads than those that don’t.
Why is this the case? For one, if a restaurant can educate a customer, or show him or her the “inside” scoop, customers tend to trust that restaurant more. As a survey by Content Plus showed, after reading content and learning more about a company, 60% of customers feel more positive about that company.
Starting a restaurant blog isn’t always easy. Luckily, as a restaurant owner, you have much to write about. For help on starting your restaurant’s blog, read our article here.
3. Digital “Contact Us” Forms.
Customers like to feel heard. And, with a contact form, you can create a set of digital ears. On your website, create a space where customers can ask you questions, file a complaint, suggest improvements, or compliment your restaurant.
When creating “Contact Us” forms, keep two things in mind. First, make the text box big. And don’t put a word count. Give customers the feeling that they can express themselves without limitations. In addition to the box, ask for their name, phone number, and email address.
Secondly, make the form mobile. According to a study by PEW research, nearly two-thirds of Americans now own a smartphone. Smartphone owners will want a contact form built specifically for their devices. If the contact form doesn’t work for mobile, or if it’s too difficult to operate, customers will just have something new to complain about.
4. Widgets to Social Media Accounts.
Social Media widgets – small buttons with the brand of a social media site – can create a direct route between your website and all your social media accounts.
Once you choose the most fitting social media sites for your restaurant, add widgets to your website. You don’t, however, have to create your own widgets. While, true, some businesses customize widgets for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, each of these social media networks pre-build widgets. All you have to do is insert the code onto your website.
5. Map with Printable Directions.
You don’t want your customers to get lost. You want to make the route to your restaurant as smooth as you can. One way to do this: embed onto your website a map with directions to your restaurant. Do this by installing a plugin, such as WP Google maps, and put it directly on your website.
In addition to a map, provide a list of printable or downloadable instructions. Make the directions as simple as possible, and list cues only a local would know (“you will turn right when you see the large pink boat”).
6. Online Ordering.
For customers who can’t wait to eat your food, you should create a place to order directly through your website. With an online menu, and with an online payment method, you can easily create this.
When a customer places an order, you could have a notification sent directly to your phone, tablet, or other mobile device.
Need Help with Any of These Tips? Contact LocalMark.