The Digital Restaurant is a Chicago-based restaurant marketing agency. The Digital Restaurant provides Strategy, Technology and Marketing services for restaurants to grow and compete in the market effectively. This blog provides information on smart marketing technologies professional marketing services.
Have you ever searched for restaurants in your area and got annoyed that your own restaurant isn’t showing up. It could be because your restaurant doesn’t have enough citations. If you’re looking to improve your restaurant’s local SEO authority with more and better quality citations, you’ve come to the right place.
What Are Restaurant Citations?
Citations are effectively listings of businesses on websites. They typically include your restaurant’s name, address, phone number, and URL. They are typically business directories but they don’t have to be. Review websites, such as Yelp, are also common and as are more specialist websites.
Why Build Restaurant Citations?
Citations are absolutely crucial if you want to rank well in local Google searches. Google uses all of the websites listed below in order to find out more about your business and calculate where your restaurant should rank in searches. The more websites your restaurant’s information is found on and the more consistent that information is, the more local SEO authority Google will give you and the higher you should rank in theory.
Citations can also encourage customers to visit your restaurant without using Google. Many customers will use some of the leading directories listed below to look for restaurants near them, If your restaurant’s profile is filled out properly and complete with alluring images, there’s every chance that consumers will choose your restaurant to eat at. The more high-quality websites your restaurant is listed on, the better your chances of generating higher footfall.
All the Local Citations for Restaurants in One Place
Below you’ll find links to over 40 citations that every restaurant should have.
Need Help Building or Updating Local Citations for Your Restaurant?
You can use the list above to build excellent citations for your restaurant, or you can let The Digital Restaurant do all the hard work for you. Few restaurant owners or managers have time in their busy schedule to carry out the laborious and boring task of adding their business details to nearly 50 websites. Yet it is essential to do so if you want good local rankings. That’s why savvy business owners leverage our Local SEO service and restaurant marketing platform to have us do the dirty work. Ranking in local search isn’t something that can be left to chance or put on the backburner. Take the first step to better local rankings and more traffic by booking a consultation with our team today.
The New Year is a notoriously difficult time for restaurants. After a blow out festive period, many restaurant owners find they are forced into tightening their belts as New Year health kicks take their toll on profits.
But January doesn’t have to be a miserable time for restaurants. By giving customers a reason to visit, focusing your approach and upping your advertising game, you’ll be able to see in the New Year with a bang.
5 ways to Market Your Restaurant in the New Year
There are plenty of tactics that savvy restaurant owners and marketing managers can employ to make January and February as profitable as any other month. Here are five of our favorites.
Give Customers a Reason to Come Other than Food
In a season where people are either saving after an expensive festive period or sticking rigidly to New Year’s health resolutions, consumers need a reason to come to your restaurant — and it can’t be the food! One idea would be to host a live music event one night every week. In an era of prohibitively expensive concert tickets, the idea of free, local live music is becoming more and more popular. Alternatively, appeal to people’s sense of experience by hosting food and wine tasting nights or cooking courses. Whatever cuisine you serve up, there’s definitely a food-based event that can be inspired by it. If you’re not usually open during the day, you could offer lunchtime business meetings for local organizations.
Change the Menu
There’s one way you can use food to convince customers to visit your restaurant in the New Year: create a new menu. What better way to celebrate the start of 2019 than by creating a kick-ass new menu and offering specials on new dishes throughout the whole of winter. Customers may not be motivated to visit your restaurant to eat dishes they’ve already tried before, but they will be motivated to come and try something new. Even more so if you run dishes for a limited time. Comfort foods such as pies, stews, casseroles, and southern cooking are incredibly popular during the winter months, so make sure to include some heartwarming dishes on your new menu.
Run Offers So Customers Get More for Less
It may seem counter-intuitive to offer discounts during low seasons. But there are few better ways to get customers off their couches and into your restaurant. Offer the right promotions and there’s no way you should be out of pocket, either. Your classic 2-for-1s and early bird specials are great promos to run during the low season so that customers feel like it is silly not to come and eat in your restaurant. Hit mid-week specials particularly hard as these nights will be the most difficult to get customers for. Don’t forget to extend your offers to takeout food, too.
Make the most of Takeout
Speaking of takeout, now is the time to make the most of it. The last thing that a lot of diners want to do on a cold winter’s night is to brave the chill and head down to their local restaurant. So why not bring your restaurant to them? If you don’t have a takeout offering or if it isn’t available from your restaurant’s website or mobile app, make sure to rectify this first. If you already have an online ordering service, make sure that everything is working smoothly, that you have enough delivery drivers if orders start taking off and that you are running special offers aimed at taking back traffic from delivery websites like GrubHub and DoorDash.
Step Up Your Advertising Spend
The chances are every other restaurant in your area is going to be tightening their belt in the New Year. That means opening less, running fewer offers and spending less on advertising. It’s time to be a contrarian and up your advertising spend. Why? Because there will never be a better time to dominate the local and online advertising scene than the New Year. Start investing more into both online ads local ads like newspapers, flyers, and billboards. You want to make customers think you’re the only restaurant in town worth visiting. What’s more, because you’ll face less competition, you should be able to get cheaper rates. It’s a huge win-win!
Make the Most of the New Year with The Digital Restaurant
A new year means new opportunities. Make the most of them by partnering with The Digital Restaurant. Our team of digital marketing experts can help you create a 52-week marketing playbook for the year ahead. Together we’ll identify what’s currently wrong with your restaurant’s marketing, what opportunities are available to you and how you can take advantage of them. Using our industry-leading restaurant marketing platform, NGAZE, you’ll be able to execute your plan day by day, week by week, throughout the year all from one central hub. Find out how to centralize and maximize your restaurant marketing strategy for 2019 by speaking to one of our consultants today.
Are you looking for ways to attract more customers to your restaurant? Then you’ve come to the right page.
As a leading restaurant marketing agency, we know there are loads of different tactics and techniques that restaurants can use to attract even more customers. Sometimes, all restaurant owners and managers need is a little direction. Below, we’ve outlined each of the 11 tactics we recommend, but read on for specific guidance on how to implement each one.
These 11 tactics are great ways to attract more customers to your restaurant:
Invest in SEO
Make the most of social media
Encourage online reviews
Grow an email list and use it
Build partnerships with local businesses and organizations
Run discounts on slow nights
Host big events
Offer an inclusive menu
Provide Free Wifi
Create gift cards
Develop a loyalty program
Have we whetted your appetite? Good, then let’s go into more on each of these tactics below.
How to Attract More Customers to Your Restaurant
There are dozens of marketing strategies that restaurants can use to get more covers and more bookings. We cover a lot of them on our restaurant marketing blog, but these 11 are our favorites. Use one or use them all. Just make sure that you go all in. One really well executed idea is much better than six poorly executed ideas.
Invest in SEO
Do you know the number one method that customers use to find restaurants near them? It’s Google. So if you aren’t ranking for local search queries, you’re going to struggle to get customers. Improving your restaurant SEO starts with establishing a presence on Google My Business. A good presence on Google is key to making sure that you pop up whenever anyone searches for a restaurant in your city. Next, make sure that your on-page SEO is optimized with our handy SEO checklist. Finally, consider trying to optimize your website for the “near me” searches that are becoming popular on Google. Do all of these things and you should have a decent level of visibility in Google. Don’t be upset if you don’t start seeing improvements in your rankings immediately, however. SEO can take months to take effect.
Make the Most of Social Media
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are some of the most powerful marketing tools that restaurants have in their arsenal. They are a great place to showcase images of your food, promote your events, and offer a behind-the-scenes look at your restaurant. We recommend that restaurants focus on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to start with rather than getting carried away with the likes of Snapchat and Pinterest.
Encourage Online Reviews
For better or for worse, customer review platforms like Yelp are the lifeblood of restaurants. That means that you have to be active in encouraging your customers to post reviews on these platforms. It’s a compounding process; the more people you have leaving reviews, the more people will notice your restaurant and visit, and the more people will use reviews. Make sure that you establish a presence on the top online review channels and learn how to respond to negative reviews. This last point is extremely important and one that every restaurant manager should learn how to do.
Grow an Email List and Use It
There’s a digital marketing phrase that goes, “the money is in the list”. This couldn’t be more true. If you have a list of customer emails, you have a way to constantly reach out to them with your latest menus and deals. But first, you have to build that list. Offering online ordering is a great first step as you will automatically collect emails from everyone who orders. So too is an online seating reservation service. You’ll need to collect an email to send confirmation. You should also consider adding a subscribe button to your website so that customers can keep up with your latest news. Don’t forget to collect emails in person, either. Feedback forms, competitions and reviews are all great ways of getting your customer’s email address when they visit your restaurant.
Once you have an email list, it’s crucial that you actually use it. Send out a notification whenever you update your menu or add a new dish. Use it to advertise your latest event (more on that below). You could even send out birthday wishes to all of your customers if you collect their dates of birth. Don’t go overboard and start spamming your customers. An email once or twice a month from your favorite restaurant is great. An email every day is annoying.
Build Partnerships with Local Businesses and Organizations
Local businesses and organizations can be an absolute gold mine for small restaurants. Many businesses will have catering deals with restaurants when they need to order in food for events and business meetings. If you specialize in lunch, this could be a whole new market for you. But even just offering deals to businesses and organizations can be a great way of introducing local residents to your restaurant who might otherwise never have tried you. Not only can you get more customers, but you can also help to establish better local business relations in the process. Everyone wants to help out local businesses, so give them a reason to!
Run Discounts on Slow Nights
Monday through Thursday most people need a bit of encouragement to eat out. What are you doing to incentivize them to visit your restaurant? If you aren’t running weeknight specials such as 2 for 1 starters, half priced mains or even a 20% discount for residents in the same zip code, you absolutely should consider doing so. Give customers a reason to come and visit you on a weekday and they won’t need an excuse to come and see you at the weekend.
Host Big Events
What was the last big event that your restaurant hosted? New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, July 4th, all of these are huge events where people are looking for a place to eat, drink and be merry. They are also fantastic opportunities for restaurants to make a killing running specials or hiring out your entire restaurant to party goers. You don’t even need a big occasion to host your own event. Why not host weeknight cookery lessons, wine tastings, or dinner parties for local leaders? Big events are a great way to give people a taste of what your restaurant has to offer and make them want to come back to experience you in a more intimate setting.
Offer an Inclusive Menu
One reason that you may not be getting as many visitors as you like could be your menu. A large portion of the population is now vegetarian or vegan, and many have dietary requirements like being gluten-free. Creating several dishes (or an entire menu) that cater to these customers can be a fantastic way to corner the local market. Once a vegan or celiac finds a restaurant that has a host of dishes for them, they’ll never want to go anywhere else.
Provide Free Wifi
Like it or not, people want to be connected on their phones 24/7. That means that some customers will choose which coffee shop or restaurant they go to by the availability of Wifi. Don’t worry, you don’t have to pay out for an expensive high speed internet package. Facebook lets any restaurant set up Wifi for free using their Facebook page. Learn how in our informative Facebook Wifi guide.
Create Gift Cards
The holiday season is upon us which means people are thinking about what gifts to get loved ones. Why not give your customers the chance to buy their loved ones a meal at your restaurant. Restaurant gift cards are a great way to boost revenue and increase cashflow. After all, it doesn’t actually matter if the gift card never gets redeemed once it was bought as you’ve already got the money. Don’t think you have to spend loads on printing costs, either. Instagram is all you need to sell restaurant gift cards this festive season.
Develop a Loyalty Program
If you want to give loyal customers a reason to keep coming back, and to make them feel valued in the process, a restaurant loyalty program is exactly what you need. You may need to get the help of a restaurant marketing agency or a POS provider for this tip, but it’s well worth investing in if you can. If you can’t afford to invest in a slick mobile app, then a basic loyalty card and stamp system can work just as well.
Every restaurant owner wants to increase their number of reservations and generate more money for their business. Having a restaurant website is a key part of that. Yet we see so many that are lacking the restaurant website features needed to really succeed.
Having a website isn’t enough for most restaurants. You need a feature-packed website that serves your customers and your business. And we’re going to show you exactly how to achieve it.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the seven key features that every restaurant website should have.
The Restaurant Website Features You Need to Have
Forget about parallax scrolling and virtual tours of your restaurant, these are the seven features that your restaurant website NEEDS to have in order to be successful.
1. An Accessible Version of Your Menu
Your menu is one of the most important parts of your restaurant, so of course, you need to have it on your website. In fact, it’s probably the first thing a customer looks for when they visit your website. That means your online menu should take up prime position on your website. For some that will be placing it in clear view on the homepage of their site. For others, that will mean dedicating an entire page to your menu and clearly highlighting that page it in the menu bar.
Wherever you choose to display your menu, you need to make sure that is accessible to all customers. That means you shouldn’t be creating a fancy Flash-based menu that doesn’t work on most phones or in most browsers. It also means creating a mobile version of your menu so that it can be quickly and easily digested by visitors browsing on their smartphones. Make sure that your full menu is on display, too.
2. Online Ordering That Works
Not everyone who visits your website is going to be willing to visit your restaurant. But they may still want to try your food. That’s why incorporating online ordering into your website is so important. Most diners don’t want the hassle of picking up the phone to order a meal. They want to do everything online, whether that’s on their phone or on their laptop.
Not only does online ordering capture the business of a number of customers who you might otherwise have missed, it also lets you take back business from some of the online ordering platforms like GrubHub. When you have online ordering in place on your site, you take back the commission that these sites charge and capture valuable customer data. It’s a win-win!
3. A Mobile-Friendly Design
Speaking of mobile customers, you need to make sure you have a properly mobile-responsive that looks beautiful and works properly on any mobile device. A significant portion (probably over half) of your website visitors are going to be using mobile devices. It’s not an option for your website to work for them — it’s a necessity. And we mean the entire site should be accessible. That means your menu should look great and be readable, your online ordering system should work on a phone and your phone number and address details should be designed so that visitors can call your restaurant and get directions to it at a tap.
4. A Kick-Ass Loyalty Program
Your customers shouldn’t have to download an app to have access to your loyalty program. Consumers are becoming much more precious over their phone’s real estate and less is now more. That means if they have to download your app to access your loyalty program, customers may not use it at all.
But loyalty programs are huge drivers of business for restaurants and the more customers that use them, the better. That’s why you need to include a browser-based version of your loyalty scheme on your website, making it easy for anyone to access. Of course, you need to make sure your online loyalty program works on smartphones too – obviously!
5. Fantastic Online Reviews
Unless they are familiar with your restaurant, most of your customers are going to want to read reviews before they book a table. So why not make it easy for them? We recommend that you do so by integrating reviews of your restaurant into your website’s design. One method is to take some of your best online reviews from Yelp and hard code them into the design. That way visitors will always see glowing recommendations. Another more open way is to pull your latest reviews from one or several review platforms. You’ll always have fresh reviews but you have no control over what they say or how they rate you.
6. Your Contact Details Clearly Displayed
How are website visitors meant to get in touch with you if you don’t make it easy for them? If you don’t have your website’s contact details (such as your phone number and address) clearly displayed on your website, you could be missing out on hundreds of reservations and walk-ins. Not only that, but by not including your contact details clearly on your site, you could also be negatively impacting your local SEO. Google needs a reference point for your number and address and uses your website to get it. If you don’t make it easy for Google to find, you could be missing out on tons of local traffic. We recommend including the phone number and address of your restaurant on every page of your website. If you have several addresses, then create a separate contact page for every restaurant location.
7. Integration with Your Social Media Profiles
If you’re investing time and money into social media, taking advantage of every opportunity to grow your following is key. The more people who like your Facebook page or follow you on Instagram or Twitter, the more people you have to market to in future. Your website is the perfect place to advertise your social channels and encourage people to like and follow your profiles. You’ll also find that many customers will want to see what people are saying about your restaurant on these channels. Social proof is a powerful thing so take control of the conversation and direct customers to the right profiles.
We’ll Help You Create the Perfect Restaurant Website
If you’re looking for the perfect restaurant website design, The Digita Restaurant can help. We’ve helped hundreds of restaurants build exceptional online presences — and we can do the same for you, too. Get in touch today for a free consultation and to find out more about how our restaurant marketing platform can help your business succeed.
Earlier in September, you may have received an email from Google Search Console notifying you that mobile-first indexing has been enabled for your restaurant website. If you haven’t, and you have access to Google Search Console, then expect to receive this notification very soon.
Not sure what mobile-first indexing means? Don’t understand how it will impact your restaurant? This is the article for you.
Mobile-First Indexing for Restaurants: The Lowdown
Mobile-first indexing looks set to completely shake up the world of search. As Google is a huge driver of traffic to restaurant websites, it’s crucial that owners understand what mobile-first indexing is and what it means for their business.
What is the Mobile-first index?
In order to rank your website, Google needs to know what it is about. It does this by using a search bot that crawls your website and adds the information to Google’s index. Google then uses the information in its index to rank websites according to the keywords used.
Google used to crawl the desktop version of your website for its index. But now it will now be using the mobile version of websites for indexing and ranking rather than the desktop version of websites. This is not a second index, there is still only one. That means if you have a mobile-friendly site, Google will crawl that and not your desktop site. If you don’t, Google will still crawl the desktop version as it always has.
Why is Google switching?
On the official Google blog, the company announced that they are switching to mobile-first indexing in order “to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for”. The fact is that most people browse the web on their smartphones. In fact, there are currently around three billion mobile users worldwide. This is only likely to grow in the future and so Google wants to take steps to build their product around mobile users now.
How will it impact your Restaurant’s Rankings?
There are two ways that the move to mobile-first indexing can have a negative impact on your rankings. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, there is a strong chance that your website will disappear from Google rankings on a mobile device. As we said above, Google is making the move to improve the experience of its mobile users. With that in mind, they don’t want to include websites in their rankings that don’t work well on a smartphone. Given that a lot of restaurant goers search for nearby places on their phone, this could be very damaging for business.
The second way you could be negatively impacted is if the content on your mobile site is much thinner than it is on your desktop site. There was a trend at one point to considerably pare back the content of mobile websites to make them more functional and user-friendly. Because Google will only be using your mobile site in its index, if this is the case for you then your rankings on both desktop and mobile could be affected.
There are some positives, however. If you have a great looking mobile website that loads quickly and contains everything a customer needs to know about your restaurant, you could experience a boost in rankings. This could be especially big if your competitors are stuck in the past with websites that aren’t optimized for mobile.
Mobile-First Gameplan: What your restaurant needs to do
If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website at the moment, you need to get one fast. For some restaurant owners that will mean having a separate mobile site developed. For others, it will mean having their entire website rebuilt.
You can find out more about what the perfect restaurant website should look like in our handy guide. If you are ready to commit to a new site, then request a free consultation and we’ll get started immedaitely so that you have a new website as soon as possible for mobile-first indexing.
If you do have a mobile-friendly website
Just because you have a mobile-friendly website already does not mean you are necessarily in the clear. Use the checklist below to make sure that every aspect of your mobile-friendly website is in order:
Do you have an XML sitemap? This is one element Google uses to crawl your website. Make sure that your mobile site includes an XML sitemap.
Is their high-quality content? Ideally, your mobile site should have exactly the same content as your desktop site. Make sure that it is high quality and in-depth where needed.
Consider expandable content – If you have a lot of content and you really don’t want to include it all as it is, consider hiding your content with expandable content drop downs. These are a great way to have all the content your site needs to rank while keeping it user-friendly.
Is it fast? Your mobile site should be very fast. That means it should load in around a second. If it doesn’t, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see what you need to do to make it faster.
Whether you have a mobile site and you need help improving it or you don’t have a mobile site at all, The Digital Restaurant is here to help. We can build you a new website or optimize your current one so that you are set to take advantage of mobile-first indexing. Find out more by requesting a free consultation today.
Are you in the market for a new restaurant website?
If you are, we have some exciting news for you!
We have just unveiled a new pricing model for our restaurant website design service. We are now offering custom built, fast-loading, SEO-optimized websites for just $199 per month. Oh, and these websites aren’t just affordable—they are incredibly effective and functional, too. That means they implement 12 must-have features that help you acquire, engage and convert customers. With a restaurant website built by The Digital Restaurant, you’ll have more online orders and bookings than ever before!
First things first..
What Makes a Perfect Restaurant Website?
We believe the perfect restaurant website is an asset to the restaurant. A beautiful design is a good start, but functional is critical for the business. That means the website has to help attract new customers to it, it has to engage with online visitors and ultimately convert them to online orders or dining guests.
Simply put, a website that is working for the business towards its business goals is the perfect restaurant website.
The Digital Restaurant Creates the Perfect Restaurant Website
There are several must-have ingredients that go toward creating the perfect restaurant website recipe. Guess what? A website from The Digital Restaurant has them all!
1. Unique and branded
Your restaurant’s website is like it’s storefront window—it needs to look appealing and represent your brand. Unfortunately, very few templated websites do. That’s because they all use the same framework and all look the same. Your restaurant is unique, however, and so should your website. That’s why we only create custom-built websites that truly reflect your brand and values. The result? A beautiful restaurant website that looks enticing to customers and works incredibly effectively.
2. Built for mobile
It’s a good chance that when a potential customer looks at your website they will be looking at it on a smartphone. Remember the last time you looked at a website on your mobile that wasn’t mobile optimized? It was an awful experience, right? That’s what your customer will think if they look at your restaurant’s website and it isn’t mobile optimized. But having a mobile-optimized website is now an even bigger deal that Google has announced it will introduce mobile-first indexing. This means Google will be giving a ranking boost to websites that work great on mobile devices and penalizing those that don’t. N0t only are our websites mobile responsive, we also build mobile progressive web apps that your customers can download onto their smartphones so that your restaurant’s site is always easily accessible.
3. Progressive Web App (PWA)
With every restaurant website, we build a Progressive Web App (PWA) for your mobile users to visit your website, place online orders, rewards check and other functions with ease.
With changing user habits, PWA’s offer the most effective mobile experience for restaurant guests compared to native mobile apps. No need to visit app store, your customers simply visit the restaurant URL on mobile to get the PWA installed. That simple!
4. Built for speed
Today, websites have to be fast. Thanks to the rise of mobile browsing, Google has made speed a key ranking factor. That means if your site isn’t fast, there’s a good chance that you won’t rank. But not only that, slow websites aren’t fun to use. If you have a slow website, there is every chance that customers who land on it will get fed up and look somewhere else to get their food fix. The trouble is that a lot of templated WordPress websites are bloated with unnecessary functionality that slows them down. But that’s not the case with websites built by us. Our websites are lean, mean and built for speed—meaning that Google loves them and customers love them.
Optimized for Google
Some website builders let you create sites that for one reason or another, simply can’t be found on Google. This is a huge problem. There’s no point having a website if you aren’t getting ranked on Google, regardless of how big your brand is. When we build a website, SEO optimization is baked in. That means it should be easy to rank in Google for your main keywords, meaning that local customers can find you with ease. This includes both local SEO, so that you appear in the Map Pack, and organic SEO, so you appear in the top 10 organic listing on laptops and mobiles.
5. Local Visibility
We make it easy for your customers to find your restaurant locally. 1 in 3 mobile searches are local. After looking up a local business on their smartphones, 61% of users called the business — and 59% of those people walked through the door.
We ensure your restaurant website is found on Google maps and various local directories.
6. Social Media
To build your restaurant’s brand we make sure your social profiles look great and are found by people searching for a restaurant like yours. Social media engagement is critical for staying top-of-mind of your guests!
7. Integrated with online ordering
What’s the point of having a website if your customers can’t place an order through it, right? That’s why we make sure all of our restaurant website packages come built with fast and secure integrated online ordering. The real beauty of this is that you will no longer have to rely on expensive third-party ordering systems that take a cut of the profits. You’ll get more orders and you’ll get all of the profit!
8. Email Marketing
Build your GDPR-compliant email database right from your restaurant website. No need to purchase email lists or use 3rd party email marketing services.
We make it easy to send beautiful email newsletters and see reports on the marketing dashboard.
9. Mobile Marketing
We make it easy for you to build your mobile subscribers database right from your website. With just a few clicks you can send mobile SMS and Push messaging campaigns and see reports on the marketing dashboard.
10. Access to the industry’s leading marketing platform
When you buy a website from The Digital Restaurant, you’ll also get access to the restaurant industry’s leading marketing platform, NGAZE. This is our bespoke, custom-built marketing dashboard that connects all of your digital assets in one place and lets you control everything at a click of a button. On the NGAZE platform, you’ll get to see all of your key stats—such as your traffic levels and online orders—at a glance, and be able to post to all of your social media profiles from one place. Nothing puts you in control like the NGAZE platform.
11. Secure Hosting
Most people who design websites just create a pretty front-end website and leave it to you to sort out everything else like hosting and SSL certificates. But not The Digital Restaurant. We create a beautiful branded website AND we set you up with fast and secure hosting and an SSL certificate. We even provide maintenance services so that you can rest assured your site will never be left offline.
12. Support Team
We provide monthly scheduled maintenance and support to ensure menu, business information and promotions are up to date online. Most “self-managed” restaurant websites are not “effective” as the information is not kept updated, potentially losing out on online traffic.
Our support team ensures that the restaurant website is 100% functional and working for the business.
Find out what The Digital Restaurant can do for you
Does our new restaurant website plan sound tempting? Get in touch with us to start your project. We’ll explain in more detail about how a website from us can help your restaurant and what you need to do to get started.
Yet we see so many restaurant owners who haven’t invested the time or expertise into getting their on-page SEO sorted. And this can seriously limit how well your restaurant can rank in Google.
If you’re not operating in a competitive market, that might be okay. But if you’re a pizzeria in downtown Chicago, that’s a huge problem.
So today we are going to look a checklist that you can use to make sure your on-page restaurant SEO allows you to rank as well as possible.
10-Step On-Page Restaurant SEO Checklist
Are you ready to sort your on-page SEO? Sit down, set aside a couple of hours, and let’s get your on-page SEO sorted in ten short steps.
Step 1: Choose your keywords
For every major page on your website, you will need to identify a primary keyword to target. You can also target a secondary keyword that is closely related to your primary keyword. How do you find these keywords? There are lots of online tools such as the Google Keyword Planner, KeywordTool.io, Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush. Alternatively, you can find more help on finding keywords in our Ngaze Platform.
Let’s take a look at an example using a pizzeria in Chicago. Here’s how we would pair keywords with the pages of their website.
Once you have paired each page with a primary and possible secondary keyword, you’ll then need to optimize your page’s title. For every page’s title, the primary keyword should appear first, the secondary keyword (if applicable) next and separated by pipes (|). Only the homepage and your contact page should include your business name. Page titles should be no longer than 70 characters. If that means only having one keyword in the title, so be it. Finally, make sure every page title is unique.
Step 3: Optimize your meta descriptions
With the page titles optimized, we’ll then need to optimize the other piece of metadata that people will see in Google—your page’s meta description. This is the short description below each page in Google. These can be a little longer—150 characters maximum—you should still be succinct and to the point. Make sure to include your keyword or phrase in the description but, most importantly, make the description enticing. It needs to make people want to click your website.
Step 4: Optimize your URLs
A word of warning with this step. We do not recommend changing your existing URLs. This can have a bigger negative impact on your rankings than it can a positive one. However, for all future URLs that you create, bear in mind the following points: keep them short, include the keywords and separate every word with a hyphen (-).
Step 5: Optimize your heading tags
We’re almost halfway through. Next up is your page’s heading tags. Every page on your website should have one H1 tag and only one! For most WordPress pages, this will be the page title. The H1 tag should contain your keyword (as near to the front as possible) and accurately describe your page.
Step 6: Look at your keyword density
Some people try to stuff their keyword throughout their page’s content. Don’t do this! Use your keyword naturally a couple of times throughout your content but don’t use it more than this. If you think you are using your keyword too much, don’t be scared to cut it where possible.
Step 7: Add a call to action to your pages
We are nearly home and dry, just a few more steps to go! Here, we are going to make sure that there is a call to action on every page above the fold. What this means is that there is a command for a user to take that they can see without scrolling. In most cases, this will be “order online”, but it could be “reserve a table”, or “place an order by phone”.
Step 8: Add some internal links
For each page on your website, look for opportunities in the content where you can link out to the other pages of your website. So on your menu page, you can link to your online ordering page, on your online ordering page you can link back to your menu page. You should have links to all of your major pages on your homepage. When you create the internal links, make sure that the part of the sentence that you link to contains the keyword of the destination page.
Step 9: Optimize your images
Your images should be optimized for your primary keyword, too. On each page make sure that the main image on the page has an alt tag which contains that page’s keyword. The title of the image should also contain the keyword (it can be the same as the alt tag) and the image should be as small as possible without sacrificing quality.
Step 10: Check your optimization
That’s it. You’re done! The only thing left to do now is to check your on-page optimization. First, check each page with Google’s Pagespeed Tool. Then, check each page with The Digital Restaurant SEO Checker. Both Google’s and our own tool will tell you just how well your page is optimized and exactly what you can do to improve it.
Maximize your On-Page SEO with The Digital Restaurant
If you really want to maximize your on-page SEO, it’s time to reach out to The Digital Restaurant. By becoming a member you won’t just get access to the tool listed above, you’ll also be able to reach out to us for help and commission us to do the work for you. Can’t wait to get started, find out more about our platform or get in touch today.
That’s because ADA website accessibility lawsuits are on the rise across all industries. If the pace of this year’s lawsuits continues, the total for 2018 will exceed that of 2017 by 30%. Even more staggering is the fact that in the first six months of this year alone, plaintiffs have filed more website accessibility lawsuits than in all of 2017.
What does the law say about restaurant compliance?
The Americans with Disabilities Act, which was enacted in 1990 makes no mentions of websites (obviously). But since 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice has taken the stance that the websites of companies that accommodate the public—such as restaurants and hotels—must be accessible for the disabled.
Don’t think that means there is specific guidance that your restaurant can follow, however. Despite taking this stance, the DOJ has not issued a ruling on what constitutes compliance. It was expected that they would rule that companies must abide by the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Level AA (WCAG 2.0 AA). But they withdrew this proposal at the end of 2017.
With no official guidelines, exactly what can restaurants do make sure they don’t fall foul of a lawsuit?
How to make your Restaurant website ADA compliant
Unfortunately, restaurants are especially vulnerable to ADA lawsuits because of the nature of their business. For many restaurants, their website isn’t just a menu, it is a way of ordering food, too. Because the “goods and services” offered online are the same in store, the website will be held to the same standard as the restaurant’s physical location.
That means you have to cover all of your bases to make your restaurant website ADA compliant. That means making sure that you are compliant with WCAG 2.0 at a minimum. For most restaurant owners, that will mean consulting a professional. But if you want to do it yourself or have a better idea of what an agency might suggest, consider the following:
Incorporate disability technology into the build
When disabled users access the web, they typically use different forms of software such as screen readers to navigate websites. If your website doesn’t play friendly with this kind of technology, you could be in trouble. Whether your website is brand new or five years old, you should make sure that screen reader technology works on your site. If not, explore the actions that you can take to make your website compatible. Unfortunately, this may mean building a new website for your restaurant. But, in truth, if your website doesn’t work with this kind of technology, there are probably other elements wrong with it that mean you should definitely invest in a new website regardless.
Establish accessibility with WAVE
One of the easiest ways to judge how accessible your website is to use the online web accessibility evaluation tool, WAVE. Simply enter your restaurant’s URL into the tool and after a few seconds, WAVE will tell you what’s wrong with your website from an accessibility standpoint and what to do to fix it.
Leverage WordPress accessibility plugins
If your restaurant’s website is built using WordPress, there are a number of plugins that can help with accessibility. In particular, restaurant owners may want to install WP Accessibility, a multi-function plugin that can solve several issues; Accessibility Widget, which allows users to change text sizes; Accessibility Poetry, which creates a floating toolbar that viewers can use to change text size and contrast colors; and wA11y, a tool similar to WAVE that will highlight any issues with your site.
Re-establish compatibility every time new features are added
Making sure that your website is accessible is not a one-time deal. Every time you make a change to your website or add a new feature, you’ll need to re-establish that your website is still accessible. Yes, this is a pain but it’s a lot less painful than getting slapped with a lawsuit.
Making your restaurant website ADA compliant with The Digital Restaurant
If you need help making your restaurant’s website ADA compatible, The Digital Restaurant can help. Get in touch today for a free consultation.
Negative Yelp reviews are the scourge of restaurant owners. It is bad enough when a negative review is deserved. But it is much worse when a negative review is clearly fake and defamatory. But removing restaurant Yelp reviews isn’t easy. And, after a court ruling in California, it just got a lot harder.
In today’s post, we will look at the ruling in more detail and how you can go about removing restaurant Yelp reviews in the wake of the decision.
Hassell v Bird: What the California Supreme Court means
The California Supreme Court ruled on July 2, 2018, in Hassell v. Bird, that Yelp couldn’t be forced to remove negative reviews, even if they were found to be defamatory.
The case centered around a one-star review posted by an ex-client about a law firm in San Francisco. The law firm subsequently sued the client for defamation, but they did not name Yelp in the lawsuit. The lower court ruled in favor of the firm and ordered both Yelp and the client to remove the review. Yelp appealed, however, arguing that being forced to remove the review would infringe on their rights to free speech.
Leaving out the dry legal argument, the Supreme Court decision came down to a 4-3 ruling in favor of Yelp.
The ruling is likely to have a significant impact on the restaurant industry. While restaurant owners can still sue reviewers over libelous content, it will likely be much harder for Californian restaurants to have Yelp reviews removed.
As false, negative reviews seem to be becoming more common what can restaurants do to have reviews removed?
Removing Yelp reviews in the wake of the ruling
The only way restaurant owners have a chance of having negative reviews removed is if they break Yelp’s Terms of Service.
Let’s be clear straight off the bat, even if you report a false or defamatory review to Yelp, there is absolutely no guarantee that they will act on it. If the ruling above has done anything, it has made this fact abundantly clear.
That being said, we will now go through what we recommend restaurant owners do if they receive a false review.
What kind of Yelp reviews can be removed?
Looking through Yelp’s terms of services there are several cases where customer reviews can and should be flagged for removal. They include the following:
Promotional content: Any review that contains promotional content of any kind, whether for the business in question or for a rival business, has no place on Yelp. If customers suggest going to a rival restaurant, for instance, you could have a case for removal
Conflicts of interest: If you have a conflict of interest with a business, you shouldn’t be posting reviews. This means that your relatives shouldn’t really be posting reviews of your website. And, at the same time, owners of rival websites shouldn’t be posting reviews about your restaurant, either.
Irrelevant content: If the content of the review is not relevant to an experience, then Yelp may remove it. This is to stop ex-employees from ranting about an employer, but it can also be used to remove reviews that relate to “extraordinary circumstances”, as Yelp puts it.
Reviews by third-parties: This one is simple, a review can be removed if it is written about someone else’s experience.
Explicit content: If the review contains swear language, hate speech or threats of any kind, the post can and almost certainly will be deleted.
Plagiarized reviews: If a review is copied from another website, Yelp will take steps to remove the plagiarized review.
Personal information: Yelp does not allow personal information, such as a person’s name, to be included in reviews. The only exception is if a person’s full name is also the name of the business; such as a law firm.
As you can see, there are quite a lot of cases where Yelp may take steps to remove reviews. So what should you do if you have a negative review that falls into one of the above categories?
How to report a Yelp review
The good news if any of your restaurant’s reviews fall into the above categories is that it is pretty easy to report a Yelp review. Just follow the steps below.
Log in to your Yelp business account
Head over to the reviews section and find the review in question.
Click on the three dots next to the review and then click on “Report Review”.
That’s it. Yelp’s moderators will then look into the review and notify you of their decision.
You can check the status of your report by hovering your mouse over the flag icon. Yelp will also email you with their decision.
What else can restaurant owners do to combat negative reviews?
If Yelp isn’t playing ball and removing the review, all is not lost. While the review will stay on the site, there are lots of other things that you can do to increase your overall star rating, bury the review and grow your reputation on other review sites. In essence, rather than let one review ruin your business, you can focus on getting more and better reviews that grow your business. Here’s how…
Encourage new and better reviews
Getting 20 new five-star reviews is arguably much better than getting a single one-star review removed. That’s why we encourage proactive restaurant owners to do what they can to encourage every diner to leave a positive yet honest review on their site of choice. While financially rewarding every reviewer is against the terms of services of many of the review platforms, you can encourage customers to review your restaurant by putting them into a draw for a free meal. Alternatively, making a personal request to customers when they pay the check can be surprisingly effective at encouraging customers to pull out their smartphones and leave a review.
Make sure that you are active on all of the top review sites
Are you only active on Yelp? This is a huge mistake that we see many restaurant owners making. With so many different review websites out there, it is important that you cover as many bases as possible. In another blog post, we cover the top 10 review websites for restaurants, and we recommend that every owner or marketing manager claims their restaurant’s listing on each of these platforms. For more advice on getting started on the biggest review sites, see our guide to reputation management.
Deal with bad reviews as well as you can
While you should always try and have defamatory reviews removed, you shouldn’t hide from every bad review. There will be times when your service is not up to your usual high standard and it is important that you face these reviews head-on rather than hiding or arguing with customers. Take the time to respond to every negative review, understand the customer’s complaint and resolve it as best you can. If you do this well, it can often lead to the reviewer updating and improving their review, or removing it completely. For more advice on dealing with negative reviews, check out our blog post.
That’s why this week’s post will provide you with everything you need to know about getting started with restaurant video marketing, what equipment you need and the kind of things you should be shooting.
But first, let’s get one thing clear…
Your Videos are not Commercials
Customers don’t want to see an ad for your restaurant online. While your videos should encourage your audience to book a table or order takeout, overtly commercial messages are a big no-no.
That means no sales pitches and no content showing the latest promotions and deals. It also means no awkward shots of your empty restaurant to show off how beautiful your interior is.
If your video even looks like it could be on T.V. forget about it.
We’ll come on to what you should create videos about a bit later.
Restaurant Video Marketing Equipment: What do you need?
First, let’s discuss the equipment you may or may not need to purchase to get started with video marketing.
Your videos need to look good. But they don’t need to look amazing. So while you shouldn’t be shooting it on an old camcorder, you don’t need to hire a production team, either.
In most cases, you’ll be able to get by with a relatively new iPhone and an app such as Filmic Pro or Mavis. While these are both paid apps they offer greater control over video quality than a standard Apple or Android phone and make it easier to export your video in HD.
The only other thing you could consider buying is a stabilizer. Typically costing less than $50, a stabilizer will ensure that your shot remains steady and in focus.
6 Restaurant Video Marketing Ideas
For the rest of the article, we’ll look at six ideas that any restaurant owner can start creating content around. These are seriously simple and instantly actionable. Remember, the video doesn’t have to look like an ad. In many cases, it will perform better if it doesn’t. And with at least one of these ideas you don’t have to even create the video yourself!
Get people behind the scenes
We’ve spoken before about the customer appeal of going behind the scenes at your restaurant. People are fascinated by what goes on behind the kitchen doors. So show them!
A quick video of your kitchen in action on a busy night could make a fantastic promo for your restaurant. Not only does it show you have nothing to hide, it also gives people a glimpse into the kind of amazing food they can expect.
If you have a team of talented chefs in your restaurant you could interview them about their experience, their favorite dishes, and their inspiration. When your chefs become as big an attraction as your food, you’re onto a winning combination.
How to create fav dishes at home
Do you always have customers asking for your recipes or how you made a particular dish? Maybe you should give them what you want through the medium of video.
A quick 30-second, Tasty-esque video on how to create a pizza from scratch at home or how to make an amazing pasta sauce can achieve a couple of things.
Firstly, it gets your guests involved with your cuisine. The more they love your cuisine the more likely they are to come and visit. Secondly, there attempts will never be as good as the real thing. So when things don’t go to plan you’ll be the first place they visit.
Introduce new menu items
Do you regularly change your menu or have seasonal specials? Of course, you should post pictures of them on Instagram and your other social channels. But why not go one step further and create an introductory video.
The video doesn’t have to be substantial, 10 seconds could be all you need—and all your customers need to whet their appetite. Start in the kitchen and show the dish getting put together before having your chef or waiting staff describe the dish and, of course, give it a taste.
You’ll have your customers drooling in no time.
Show the journey of your ingredients from farm to plate
Okay, so this idea is a bit more advanced than the others but if you only use fresh, seasonal or organic produce it could be incredible.
Diners, particularly millennials are becoming more and more concerned with the quality of the ingredients in their food. So if you care about your ingredients, you should be shouting about it from the rooftops.
Take your recording equipment on a road trip to one of the local farms where you buy produce from and film as much of the journey from field to your restaurant as you can. Bonus points if you can get shots of your ingredients being harvested.
This will require a bit of creativity but I think the rewards could be huge for the restaurant owners who nail it.
Who are the most important people in your restaurant? The customers, right?
Not only are they crucial to your financial success, they are also a fantastic source of user-generated video content. Are people always amazed by the sheer size of your food? Or the creativeness of your cocktails? Then film their reactions!
Do you host parties or themed nights? Shoot periodically throughout the evening and create a flashback video that attendees will love to watch back and share on social media when they spot themselves and their friends.
Alternatively, leave it up to your customers. Run a competition to create a video that best sums up their restaurant experience and reward them with a free drink or side dish. The possibilities are endless.
Your restaurant’s story
Does your restaurant have a long and proud history? Have you been on the same corner for a century? Maybe a famous guest once walked through your doors. People love learning more about their local neighborhood and saying they ate in the same restaurant as a celebrity. Teach your audience about what makes your restaurant so special and they’ll be much more inclined to pay you a visit.
Restaurant video marketing isn’t as hard as it sounds
Hopefully, by now you will have realized that restaurant video marketing isn’t daunting or difficult. Any restaurant owner or marketing manager could start creating content today. So what’s stopping you?