Working at Urban Online Marketing, we spend a lot of time visiting restaurant websites when aggregating content to update and improve the information we have for businesses.
It seems that we have all become somewhat obsessed with social media and many seem to be focusing all of their efforts on it. Whilst social media plays a big part in the marketing of your restaurant online these days and building relationships will obviously have a positive impact on your business, you shouldn’t forget about one of your most important online assets – your website.
Discover the BUZZ essentially does two things; firstly, it offers diners a one-stop site for finding independent information and reviews on local restaurants so that they can make an informed decision on where to eat, how much their meal is likely to cost them, what the venue looks like, when the restaurant is open, and and so on. And secondly, we’re helping fill the tables at the restaurants.
While we provided the diner with information about your restaurant, they will still click through to your website before making the final decision. From this point, it’s all up to you and the quality of your website. If your website is missing vital information or has an awkward, poor quality layout, you could be putting diners off.
The most common problems we are seeing on restaurant websites are:
- Poor quality photos (if any)
- Lack of crucial information, such as cuisine information, up to date opening times, maps, and contact details.
- Flash based websites (don’t use flash)
To expand on these points, it’s pretty obvious why it is important to use high quality photos of your restaurant and food, and that all your important information is listed about your restaurant. But you should also make sure that visitors can find the information they’re looking for easily and quickly, otherwise your website will be costing your business money.
The internet is built for convenience and speed, and visitors are well known for their lack of patience and their love of the “back” button.
If you are still using a flash based website, there are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t. Flash websites are often awkward, slow to load and more importantly, they’re not supported by mobile devices including the iPhone.
But why should you care?
At one time it was questionable which types of business would benefit from a website, I think it’s now clear that an online presence is essential, particularly for restaurants.
An American Express study reported last year, that 62% of diners do research online before booking with 80% of these then wanting to book online and that this year they are working towards 8M (yes – eight million!) covers across all markets with an increase of between 50%-100% on the previous year (depending on the market) showing just how important it is for your restaurant to have a website, and offer online booking.