5 Common Mistakes Restaurants Make on Their Websites
Your restaurant’s website is the first point of contact for customers—make it count!
The internet world is constantly evolving and for that reason, it can be hard to keep a handle on the latest restaurant trends. SEO what? Blogging who? You’ve got more important things to worry about—or so you may believe.
Whether or not you offer delivery (and you should), you can rest assured that most of your customers are online, whether at home or at work or even while seated in your restaurant. That is why your website is of utmost importance—it’s a source of credibility as well as an opportunity to make a great first impression.
That’s why it’s essential that restaurant owners understand the importance of their website and begin to use it to attract more customers. We’ve listed five common mistakes that restaurant owners make on their websites- mistakes that could be hurting their bottom line.
1. Poor organization of information
People usually visit a website with a specific purpose. Most people visiting a restaurant website are searching for a specific piece of information—a menu list, address or hours of operation. It is your responsibility to make sure they are able to find that information quickly and easily. Otherwise, they may decide to go elsewhere.
This is also why it is essential that people can navigate through your site seamlessly. Consider putting your phone number and address on every page. Your menu and online ordering system (if applicable) should be highly visible. A ‘Contact Us’ page or link should also exist with hours, directions and other pertinent information.
2. Stock or unattractive photos
Websites like Yelp have gained popularity due to the fact that users can see photos of actual dishes at different restaurants. While you can’t control the photos posted on those sites, you can ensure that the photos on your website contain high quality, highly appealing images.
Photos of popular dishes and food items are often what encourage people to visit restaurants. Whatever you are trying to convey– ambiance, farm freshness, healthfulness—make sure you invest the time and money necessary so that your message comes through loud and clear.
3. Lack of optimization
Many restaurant owners make the mistake of assuming the only people visiting their website are those who are intentionally seeking it. In other words, ignoring the segment of people simply searching for “dinner options in my area” or “[Italian, French, Chinese, vegan] restaurant in [your town]” can significantly impair your restaurant’s growth potential.
Optimizing your website with proper titles and meta tags are the way search engines determine what your website is about and how they decide whether your site is relevant to someone’s search query. You should spend as much time and attention optimizing your website as you do on making the food look appetizing.
4. Lack of email signup form
Your website’s goal is not to drive high volumes of traffic, but rather to capture key customer information that will help you build relationships and more easily engage with customers. The easiest way to accomplish this is to obtain email addresses so you can keep your customers informed of new deals, dishes and any other important updates or promotions.
In this technology-driven world, you need to use a wide net to entice and attract a broader customer base. This is why the first call to action on your website should be an email signup form where customers can opt-in to receive daily, weekly or monthly emails from your restaurant to keep them informed on the next event or promotion.
Even if the person has never been to your restaurant, if they receive recurring emails from you, they may be more likely to pop in next time they are looking for a place to eat.
5. Not mobile responsive
In case you missed it, the vast majority of people—especially Millennials—are using mobile devices to access all kinds of information. This means your customers are using their smartphones to research local restaurants. If your website isn’t device responsive, or able to change how it looks to give the viewer the best view for the device they’re using, you might as well not have a website at all. In fact, you should pay more attention to your website’s smartphone experience over any other!
If a lot of these terms seem foreign to you, it might be time to consider investing in a marketing manager. Your website serves as the ultimate calling card; it’s the first place a prospective customer goes to determine if your restaurant is worth a visit.
If you don’t provide a good online experience, you may never get the chance to provide a satisfying culinary one. To explore these and other emerging restaurant trends, download a FREE chapter of The Profit Recipe—the essential resource for boosting your restaurant’s profits.