Almost 80% of Customers will visit your Restaurant’s Website before deciding if they want to dine in. Of that group nearly 70% has been discouraged from visiting that restaurant because one and only reason: The Restaurant’s Website.
First impression matters right? Well you know already that when you first go in a Restaurant, your impression of that operations will come from different factors. For example if the Bathroom was clean, the decor modern, the floor clean, the menu well designed and the staff polite and friendly.
But if your first impression of a restaurant is not created on the first visit but before, when you first visit their website page, what are the factors that will influence that impression?
Here you will find all the typical mistakes, features you should have and the design strategies that every restaurant websites needs.
As we said before almost 70% of people the visit a restaurant’s website are discouraged from visiting it, now let’s see which are the common mistakes that restaurants make on their website and how to prevent them to happen.
MISTAKE #1 :NOT MOBILE FRIENDLY
How annoying is when you want to check a restaurant website and it’s not optimized for mobile? You have to zoom in, zoom out, the text is too small and just the overall experience is very upsetting and make you just want to close that page.
Make sure that your website is optimized for mobile experience, nowadays people use their smartphones to navigate through your websites.
You can use this free google tool to see if your website is mobile friendly.
Here an example of a restaurant website which is mobile friendly
MISTAKE #2 :WITHOUT ONLINE MENU
One of the main reasons why people go on you restaurant’s website is to see your menu and deciding whether to come or not.
Your Menu should be easy to find, optimized for mobile, easily readable and with an attractive design.
Having to download the pdf of your menu, then zooming in and out is NOT what a good online menu is. Try to list your menu directly on an easy to find web page.
Here a good example of an online menu
MISTAKE #3 : VERY CONFUSING
Make it as clear as possible. There are some important information which are the main reasons why a potential customer visit your website. Those reason are: to see the menu, to know which are the opening hours, to see where your restaurant is located, to find contact information, to make a reservation or to order online.
Those things have to be very easy to find.
Here you see 2 examples of good and clear restaurant’s website
MISTAKE #4 :NO ONLINE BOOKING
Once you have the visitor on your website give him the opportunity to book already a table. First of all you will save tons of time, both for you and your team, and we know already that time, in the restaurant business, is an extremely valuable resource.
Also you know what happen when your team is extremely busy and whilst welcoming guests, taking orders, serving food they also have to answer the phone? That inevitable there will be some mistakes, it’s human. But with an online booking system in place, you won’t have that human mistake.
Thirds the guests can already see the availability of times, which helps you spread the arrival of your customers as preferred.
Last but not least, you get useful information that you will be able to use in future’s marketing campaigns.
Which booking platform?
You have plenty of options, if you are using wordpress for example you can get the free widget from opentable.
MISTAKE #5 :NOT OPTIMIZE FOR SEO
SEO means Search Engine Optimizations, and basically for us mortal people is nothing more than where do you appear on GOOGLE.
Are you in the first page? In the suggested restaurant maybe? Or your website is on the page 25 where nobody will ever see it?
In order to score better and appear more in the results of search like “Local Restaurants”, you should follow these steps.
- Make sure Google knows you exists. Use Google Search Console to index your website.
- Make sure you have a mobile friendly websites
- Write a Blog, for example you could post your recipes, events etc
- List your restaurant on Google My Business, Yelp, Tripadvisor, Foursquare, yellow pages, and other emerging niche review websites.
- Engage with customers on social media
- Encourage online Reviews
MISTAKE #6 :NO QUALITY CLUES
There is one thing called value proposition. It helps the potential guest to decide whether to visit your restaurant or not. It pretty much happen all in your mind without you being aware of it and it works like this: you compare a set of benefits (like the potential good food, good time, nice place to sit etc..) with a set of sacrifices (for example the price to pay for that food).
If the benefits are bigger than the sacrifices than you go in the restaurant, on the opposite you go see another restaurant.
But of course before going to eat in a restaurant, you don’t know if the food will be good, if the service will be polite etc…and in order to being able to decide you acquire “Quality Clues”.
Quality Clues are basically information that you elaborate and bring more value to the set of benefits you have (for example a very elegant menu outside of a restaurant will probably make you think that it is an upscale restaurant and the food would probably be very good).
In our website we have to make sure that there are quality clues which will make our customer decide to dine in our restaurant.
Quality photos made by a professional photographer are definitely an important quality clue. Remember that we eat with our eyes before than with our mouth.
Use Reviews on your website as a form of Social Proof. Seeing that other customers had a wonderful experience in your place will boost your “set of benefits”.
MISTAKE #7 : NO REASON TO OPT IN
The biggest asset of every website is the mailing list. When your potential customer visit your website it will be nice , without spamming or having aggressive ads, to give him/her a reason opt in.
To do that there is no limit to our possibilities, just let your imagination fly free.
You could offer a Voucher for 2 glasses of Prosecco, or simply send your recipes via email, maybe offer a short video on how to prepare the perfect Martini, a free Dessert after a meal… etc…
The sooner you start to build your e-mail list the better.
MISTAKE #8 : NO LOYALTY PROGRAM
Now the step after building an e-mail list is to create a Loyalty Program. Remember that acquiring new customers is much more expensive than keep the old ones.
Take care of your guest and make them feel important even more after they became loyal.
Loyalty program are extremely important and will increase your returning customer percentage .
To Sum up, every restaurant’s website should remember those 8 rules:
- mobile friendly website
- list your menu on a page and not in PDF format
- make a clear design with the most important information easily findable
- include an online booking system
- optimize it for SEO
- have professional pictures and online reviews for social proof
- give a reason to opt in
- take care of your existing customers by offering a loyalty program.
And now that we achieve our Goal and our customers are coming in, let’s have a look at what we need to do in order to make sure that our Restaurant will be Successful