The ChowNow Blog | Restaurant Technology and Marketing Ideas
ChowNow is an online food ordering system. The ChowNow Blog is the only source for the latest in restaurant marketing, technology and takeout. Learn how you can modernize your restaurant technology and marketing strategy with tips from the industry’s leading experts.
Do some websites make you feel like a toad because you can’t figure out how to order a simple pizza? A site’s usability is crucial to placing your order quickly and conveniently. Let’s face it, one main reason you order online is because it’s easier than cooking — so the last thing you want to do is jump through hoops navigating a complicated website.
5 things a restaurant website design must address
When you run a restaurant or other food-related business and offer online ordering, how do you make the experience a good one for your customers?
1. Menu convenience
Customers should be able to view the entire menu easily and quickly — no matter what device they’re using to find it. Make sure your menu is on your website as text, and not just a downloadable pdf or picture of the menu available in your restaurant.
Pro-tip: Remember, not all image formats are optimized for mobile.
Also, check that the site is mobile-friendly and just as easy to navigate on a phone as it is on a computer. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you should also include prices on the menu. Don’t make your customers hunt around or guess.
2. Accessibility and organization
Ensure that all areas of the site are easy to navigate. Different sections should be easily identifiable and sorted in a way that makes sense. If you offer specials, make sure they’re easily accessible with the rest of the menu.
Pro-tip: Keep your restaurant’s address and phone number front and center.
We recommend keeping it within the header or footer of every page for easy access. It’s great if you have a beautiful website showcasing your gorgeous photos and customer testimonials, but you ultimately want to bring customers through the door if they choose not to order online — if they can’t find your address, how can they find you in-person?
3. Ease of transaction
Whether people are buying food or making a reservation, you want the process to be as simple as possible. Offer multiple types of payment, and be up-front about what those methods are. On top of it all, if you have a system that allows people to create an account, be sure to offer the option to complete the transaction as a guest.
Pro-tip: Highlight all of the benefits of signing up, but don’t strong arm them into doing it.
Ideally, you want every customer to sign up and become a repeat customer, but that doesn’t fit with every customer’s needs every time. Someone might be in a rush and not want to make an account right that moment, or perhaps someone is from out of town and doesn’t want to share their email for a one-time order. Forcing someone to sign up may be enough of a deterrent that they discard their whole order for an easier option.
4. Benefits for returning customers
If your restaurant offers online ordering or reservations, membership options are a great way to make the process even smoother for repeat customers. While you shouldn’t force people to sign up for your site, you should offer benefits to encourage them to do so, like offering the ability to quickly and easily reorder a past purchase or reservation time.
Pro-tip: Creating memberships on your site is also a great way to build your email distribution list.
Allow users to opt-in for specials and upcoming events. Newsletters are a great and simple way to keep in touch with customers and encourage repeat visits. Whatever the reason, it should be easy for the customer to come back.
5. Enjoyment and aesthetics
Customers should be able to use your site enjoyably and without aggravation. On top of being functional, the site should be aesthetically pleasing and give the user a visual spark as to why they should order online from you or visit your restaurant in person. A site that looks like it was made before the turn of the millennium doesn’t typically inspire confidence. Make sure your site is a perfect blend of function and form.
It’s time to order online
Customers only take a few seconds to decide whether they want to continue using a website or move on. Your website is like your restaurant’s physical front door. You want your customers to come in and sit down to a nice meal, not turn around and walk out. A great website design will make the visitor want to stay and order online — a bad one will make them want to leave. It’s as simple as that.
At ChowNow, we work with people in the restaurant industry everyday to help them achieve their business goals. We understand how long your to-do list is on a daily basis and getting the marketing tools you need shouldn’t be another item on that list. As you may have heard, we’ve recently launched the ChowNow Marketing Store — a one-stop-shop for all of the branded, easy-to-use items that you need to market your brand and drive more orders. Through the opening of this store, we also want to make sure we’re recommending the materials that have proven to work best for accomplishing those goals. As we kick off 2018, we’ve curated the most popular marketing goals from our restaurant partners and how to best achieve those goals using best-in-class marketing.
How to Accomplish Your Marketing Goals in 2018
Your goal: Convert phone orders to online orders
Taking orders over the phone used to be the most efficient way to expedite the takeout side of a restaurant business, but times have changed. As you may notice, phone orders take up employee efficiency. Whether it’s spending minutes on the phone confirming order details or taking extra time to process payment, your employees’ time could be better utilized elsewhere. Not to mention, phone orders aren’t always taken accurately and offer no data trail to prove an order was placed a certain way. We’d like to help you move from time-consuming phone calls to quick and easy online orders.
Recommended Material: Promotional Cards and Business Cards
Promotional cards have a clear and concise call-to-action and customers are much more likely to order online next time if you give them a reason to. Not to mention, promotional cards are easy to store in the front-of-house hostess stand or takeout counter. Still looking for something smaller? Business cards are a great alternative if you’d still like to achieve the same goal. Customers can easily keep business cards in their wallet or purse as a reminder of you next time they’re hungry.
Get your staff involved by getting them to add promotional materials to each and every takeout bag, especially if the order was placed over the phone. We recommend stapling each bag shut with a postcard on top. This way, you’re forcing the customer to see the great special you’re offering for their first online order and therefore giving them an incentive to go digital with their next order. In addition to materials, a personal touch is key. Coach your team members to discuss the promotion with the customer as they’re handing them their food – adding not just a visual reminder, but a verbal cue to make it stick.
Your goal: Get dine-in customers to order online
We know how closely you are connected to your dine-in customers – they’re the bread and butter of your business! With that being said, it’s important to adjust to the times. It’s time to show those loyal customers that they can not only enjoy a meal at your restaurant, but in the comfort of their own home with the convenience of online ordering. There is clearly a consumer demand for online ordering nowadays and it’s vital that you let them know you can meet that demand and convenience that they crave. In addition, online orders can help increase revenue and help you save on operational costs that come from dine-in customers.
Recommended Material: Signage and Banners
Signage and banners offer a much larger call-to-action for customers to see next time they visit your restaurant. Customers are creatures of habit, so it’s quite possible that your most loyal walk-in customers have no idea you offer online ordering. They’re not looking for another way to order, so it’s important to give them a visual reminder of what you’re offering. Furthermore, if your signage or banner offers a promotion, it then incentivizes your customers to start planning the next time they will order and redeem the promotion.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes – would you pay more attention to a sign on a door that shuts behind you as you enter, or a banner that’s displayed above the cash register as you walk in? Placing signage in a high-traffic and easily visible area is vital. Is your restaurant located on a busy street that has a lot of foot traffic? Try utilizing an A-Frame sign on the sidewalk or a banner in the window. Make sure the signage gives them a reason to stop and check it out. The better the promotion, the better the results!
Your goal: Keep customers coming back
Let’s say you’re already accomplishing the goal of attracting new customers. Congratulations! What’s next? Retention, retention, retention! Now that customers have enjoyed the ease of your branded online ordering, it’s important for you to stay top-of-mind and keep them coming back. Whether it’s a promotion or a new seasonal menu item, your customers should be updated. Giving your followers important updates and keeping promotions fresh will help to build brand loyalty.
Still thinking about acquiring new customers? Join ChowNow Discover, which fits perfectly into this retention model. Every repeat customer that orders from you is free of charge.
Recommended Material: Email Blasts and Magnets
If your goal is retention, it’s important to choose marketing that will serve as a reminder to the customer once they’re long gone from your restaurant. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to do just that. The more that a customer sees your restaurant name show up in their inbox, the more likely they are to remember to order from you next time their office needs to order lunch. Don’t have an email list? Luckily, ChowNow stores all of your customer data for you so there is a built-in email list for you to use whenever you’d like. Other items, such as magnets, can also act as a friendly, visual reminder to order online if your customers don’t feel like eating or cooking the items in their refrigerator. I can hear the “Let’s just order pizza”’s already!
Keep your customers engaged! In regards to magnets, we recommend using these similar to how you would postcards. Add one to the inside of every check presenter, takeout bag, and anywhere else that customers would be sure to see them. As far as email marketing goes, we’ve found that the sweet spot for sending out email blasts is about once a month. Any more than that, you’ll run the risk of your customers ignoring the emails. Any less than that, you’re not staying top-of mind. Don’t have the time to create and send out emails? Consider a monthly email subscription, like the Monthly Taste, and let us do the work for you. ChowNow makes it easy. Contact your Restaurant Success Manager to go over your options.
Ready to start shopping? Great! With the ChowNow Marketing Store’s simple checkout process, you don’t have to worry about registering an account or entering your payment information. All we need is your ChowNow account information and you’re good to go. Start exploring, and you’ll be on your way to driving more orders and building your brand with best-in-class marketing.
Want advice on your current marketing strategy? Schedule a call — we’re happy to help.
According to Toast’s Restaurant Technology Report, 56 percent of consumers order directly from a restaurant’s website at least once a month. This is why it’s more important than ever that restaurants have an online food ordering system.
If your restaurant staff is bogged down taking phone orders now, the problem is only going to get worse as the demand for takeout continues to rise. Providing an online ordering option is an absolute must for meeting the demand of today’s on-the-go customer.
5 reasons you should offer an online food ordering system
Millennials, a.k.a. the largest generation in American history, eat out five times a week. Here are some other good reasons to offer online ordering.
To compete with the big brands.
Because customers crave convenience
To grow your bottom line.
To improve restaurant operations.
To collect valuable customer data.
Still not convinced that online ordering is critical to your restaurant’s success? Read on.
Your customers are spending more and more time online — especially on their smartphones. Take advantage of the trend to see these benefits.
1. To compete with the big brands
With the growing consumer demand for faster, more convenient ways to order, independent restaurants are feeling pressure to compete with big brands that can afford to invest millions in takeout technology.
Domino’s Pizza introduced their online ordering system in 2010. At the time their stock price was $8 and the company was struggling to grow. In the last seven years, Domino’s has grown to be the second-largest pizza chain in the world with a stock price at over $200 per share — that’s 25x growth!
Domino’s has invested millions in building its own online ordering offering. Don’t have millions? Independent restaurants can compete by partnering with specialists like ChowNow which offers website and mobile ordering for as little as $4 per day.
2. Because customers crave convenience
These days it seems like everyone is talking about the coveted millennial. Why should restaurant owners care about millennials? Because there are 50 million of them in the U.S., the largest generation in history. By next year, their collective purchasing power will exceed$3.39 trillion. Pleasing this demographic is a path to profits.
Last year, the percentage of restaurant orders placed online exceeded the quantity placed verbally over the phone.
My little sister interned in New York this summer, and I was shocked to learn that her morning routine consisted of a Starbucks run.
When I asked her “Why Starbucks? You live in Manhattan and work in Brooklyn, there is an incredible local coffee shop on every corner.” She explained she had the Starbucks app; she orders and pays for her coffee while getting on the subway, and it is waiting for her on the other side.
She saves 10 to 15 minutes every morning — and her favorite coffee shop, Brooklyn Roasting Company, doesn’t offer the same convenience. Quality is paramount when consumers choose where to eat, but if you are close in quality AND offer an easier way to order than your competition, then you are going to win with millennials.
3. To grow your bottom line
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a minute. Imagine you are getting home on Friday night after a stressful week of work. You want nothing more than to catch up on the latest Netflix series in your PJs while enjoying your favorite ramen from down the street.
Scenario 1: You give them a call
You look up the restaurant’s phone number and give them a call. On the other end is a hurried voice that asks “please hold.” The restaurant is obviously busy — it’s a Friday and what can you expect? Their ramen is worth the wait.
After a few minutes you wonder, “Did they forget about me? Maybe I should call back.” Just before you decide to hang up and redial, the same voice hops back on. It’s difficult to hear them.
Restaurant: “Pickup or delivery?”
Restaurant: “What do you want?”
You: “Slurpin’ ramen with chicken, spicy, no seaweed.”
Restaurant: “Anything else?”
Restaurant: “30 minutes”… click.
Thirty minutes later you get to the restaurant, wait in line to pay and bring your food home.
When you begin plating your food, you are disappointed to discover seaweed in your ramen. Not the end of the world, but you will think twice the next time you are deciding where to order nexttime.
Scenario 2: You order online
You go to the restaurant’s website to find their phone number and see that you can now Order Online. You click “Order Online,” and are walked step by step through your order.
You add your ramen order and peruse the rest of the menu. You never realized they had dessert. You’re ready to treat yourself and decide to try the Macaron Ice Cream.
You review your order, add a tip and pay with your credit card. Within 60 seconds you get an email that your food will be ready in 30 minutes.
You arrive at the restaurant, and there is a long line. Luckily for you, your food is already paid for and waiting for you behind the counter — you tell them it’s yours, grab your bag and go. Everyone in line looks at you with amazement; you feel like a genius. Better yet, the order is accurate and the macaron ice cream is delicious.
Why does this matter?
The experience patrons have ordering at your restaurant matters. An inconvenience or mistake with an order can influence future purchasing behavior.
On a busy night, even the best-trained employees are under stress and go into survival mode. Instead of upselling, and providing a top-notch customer experience, their No. 1 goal is to take the order, and move on to the next customer as fast as possible. This means more mistakes, and lost profits.
4. To improve restaurant operations
Implementing an online food ordering system will create operational efficiencies in your restaurant more ways than one.
Improved order accuracy
The responsibility is on the customer to get their order right, and there is no opportunity to misunderstand them on the phone.
Your staff isn’t a slave to the telephone with online orders — they can process the order when they have a free moment.
Decreased processing time
Orders are already decided upon and paid for. Pre-payment removes an entire step in your process — and you won’t be stuck on the phone with an indecisive customer who wants you to read your entire menu to them.
5. To collect valuable customer data
A restaurant’s lifeblood is their loyal customer base. However, many restaurants know only their most loyal customers by face and name, and not much beyond that. Online food ordering systems like ChowNow capture your customers’ emails, purchase history and ordering preferences.
With online ordering sales exceeding 38 billion dollars, it’s no surprise that taking orders over the phone has started to become old news. So, as a restaurant brand, how can you build online relationships that are long-lasting, even without basic human interaction?
We’ve broken it down into three key areas to focus in order to best grow and maintain relationships, regardless of the face time you have with customers.
Understand your customers.
The ability to stay relevant depends on knowing your demographic and how they operate. To better grasp your audience, first start by analyzing your surroundings: Where are you located? Are there offices, schools, or homes nearby your restaurant? How close are your direct competitors?
Next, take a look at the information you can pull from transactions: What dishes are your customers ordering the most? When are they ordering them? Are your staple items more popular, or are trendier items catching the lion’s share of revenue? Pay close attention to the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, why) of your customer’s ordering habits, and try to put yourself in their shoes. If you don’t have access to that data, choose an online ordering provider like ChowNow.
Once you have a clearer understanding of your audience, try running a targeted online marketing promotion. For instance: run a game day special targeted to college students, or a weekday dinner discount for those 9 to 5 worker bees. By speaking directly to your consumer and honing in on their needs, this will help create a curated experience that will make them want to come back for more.
Think back to the old 80/20 rule: 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. In other words — in order to build the best relationships with your customers, you must seek out and reward those who bring the most value to your business.
If you have the capability to run reports, find out who is ordering most frequently from your restaurant and take advantage of that data. These customers have proven they are loyal to your brand, and this will allow you to reward them for that loyalty.
Once you have this information, be creative with how you’d like to show your appreciation. How about creating a special that month and naming it after them? Or holding a private dine-in event for your most loyal patrons? A little recognition for your brand ambassadors will go a long way, especially if you can combine it with something they can’t help but tweet about.
Keep up constant communication.
Communication with your customers is key to long-lasting relationships. Though customers may crave the convenience of online ordering, face-to-face interaction is sometimes missed as well. Ongoing communication through and social media can provide your customers the best of both worlds, so they remain loyal fans of your brand.
If you’re new to email marketing and don’t know where to start, consider sending out a newsletter with any relevant news about your restaurant, specials and promotions, or even a limited release of recipes. Utilize social media to post images and daily, weekly, or monthly updates. Use our basic social media checklist to make sure your efforts are effective. You’d be surprised how much your customers want to hear what you are up to!
Focusing on understanding your customers, rewarding your most loyal customers, and keeping up constant communication will enable you to develop quality relationships, and most importantly — keep your customers ordering again and again.
Want more information on how to build the best online customer relationship? If you’re a ChowNow restaurant client, reach out anytime to schedule a complimentary consultation. If you don’t already have online ordering at your restaurant, get started with a free ChowNow demo today!
With the New Year right around the corner, it’s time to hit the ground running with your restaurant to prepare for 2018.
Like most in the restaurant business, it can be hard to focus on the overall picture of success when you’re focused on incoming orders, crisis management, and getting through the weekend rush. But there’s always room for improvement, and no better time to step back and refresh your overall operations.
2018 Restaurant Trends: How to Innovate at Your Restaurant
These 2018 restaurant trends are essential for your restaurant to stay competitive in the new year. So, let’s get improving, shall we?
1. Brand Image
Review your: Overall branding, online presence, customer service tactics.
Pull up your website and all of your social media accounts at once. Are your logo, restaurant name, and language consistent across these channels?
If basic elements are missing or inconsistent, address this now. And get a second (or third, or fourth) opinion about the changes you make so you can have fresh eyes on your digital properties.
How is the general public responding to your brand? Take a look at your Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor reviews.
It’s easy for restaurants to dismiss review platforms, but that doesn’t mean potential customers do. These days, 55% of adults use smartphones to read restaurant reviews. Treat this as a necessary exercise. Know that you won’t be able to do much about some reviews, but others could advise your next business decision. Did someone complain about your lack of salad toppings? Introduce more options, and upcharge.
How are your employees handling communication with customers?
Step into the customer’s shoes and think about their experience from the moment they walk into your restaurant or place an online order. Identify areas where their experience could be improved. Is your staff recommending they download your restaurant’s app? You can also ask a friend to have a meal at your restaurant. Get their honest feedback about the whole experience!
Review your: Company mission statement, employee morale.
Company Mission Statement
What is your restaurant’s mission statement? If you don’t have one, make one!
What feedback have you received from customers using your online platform? Have you placed orders yourself to experience the full ordering process?
If you focus on one thing this year, make it improving this facet of your business. Delivery alone is expected to see a 79% increase over the next five years. Be strategic about who you partner with — you should always focus on income from repeat customers and bringing in new business. ChowNow prioritizes your repeat customers by creating your restaurant its own ordering suite (website, apps, Facebook) and showcasing your brand for local customers oneat.chownow.com. And we don’t charge for repeat orders!
From receiving an order to sending it to the front of house, how smooth are your operations running?
If you’ve been holding out on that printer or have been making excuses to avoid switching POS systems, this is the time to stop and think about how this is affecting your day-to-day business.
4. Social Media
Review your: Social media responsiveness, mobile usability.
Social Media Responsiveness
How often are you responding to your customers on social media?
Review the protocol you have in place and take a look at how often you are posting. Tweak your strategy (post more frequently, be more creative) and set check-ins so you don’t leave customers hanging.
How does your brand fare when someone on-the-go decides to order from your restaurant?
Take a look at how your website shows up on a mobile device. Pull up your online ordering menu and your Yelp reviews. This is what the customer is seeing when they decide they’re hungry and on-the-go — and it’s a great place to justify making improvements if their experience falls short.
5. Social Responsibility
Review your: Packaging, causes you support.
Are there tweaks you could make to cut waste and minimize your impact?
Think about your customers and how they perceive your restaurant. Are you committed to supporting local farms, or buying organic when possible? Your customers most likely value that as well. Consider this: increasing your prices by 10 cents might scare you, but will not deter your customers from ordering. Especially if they know your commitment to minimize environmental impact.
Causes You Support
How do loyal customers and the local community view your brand?
Consider supporting a local cause and promoting this on your website and in your restaurant. It can be as simple as creating a new menu item, and donating a portion of that revenue to the cause of your choice. Invite customers to make a difference and you’ll be surprised at how much they welcome the opportunity.
If you’re a ChowNow restaurant client and want some feedback on your 2018 restaurant strategy, schedule a call — we’re happy to help. If you don’t already have online ordering at your restaurant, now’s a great time to get started. Get a free ChowNow demo from one of our experts to get started today!
As a restaurant owner, email marketing is likely not new to you. You’re a savvy businessperson, and you know the basics of keeping your restaurant deals and events in the spotlight. That’s why you’ve already taken steps to get daily, weekly or monthly email promotions into your customer’s inboxes. After all, studies show over and over again that email marketing just works. Data from global consulting firm McKinsey shows that at acquiring customers.
How can a restaurant take advantage of email to promote their offers? Email is a powerful way to cultivate even stronger loyalty amongst current (and future) customers. It offers a chance to reward customers who already chose you — or those who have simply expressed interest. It provides an additional communication touchpoint with your customers when they’re not at your restaurant, which keeps you top-of-mind.
Still, many restaurants don’t carve out time to maintain this simple and rewarding practice. Even worse, they sometimes botch it completely — making mistakes like sending email subscribers too many coupon codes. To make an already happy customer fall head-over-heels in love with your restaurant, you need to offer the right kinds of restaurant deals through email.
There are lots of easy-to-use email marketing tools out there, including GoDaddy Email Marketing or ChowNow’s branded email blasts.
Three ways to promote your restaurant deals using email
Here are a few ways you can put email marketing to work for your restaurant:
Develop an email newsletter.
If you don’t have one yet, get on that! A newsletter is an easy way to share updates about awards and honors, menu offerings, company culture, etc. It’s also a great vehicle for a customer loyalty program. Loyalty deals don’t go stale.
Host invitation-only events just for subscribers. People go wild for the allure of an exclusive event. Keep these events short. This will make It easier to manage and create a more intimate feel for guests. These events can have specific themes or just have an all-out “we appreciate you” theme.
If subscriber-only events require too much investment, you can always give them special perks for attending non-exclusive events. Are you having a kitchen takeover? Invite subscribers to an exclusive after-dinner dessert with the chef. There are lots of ways to give your subscribers a little something extra — even at events open to all of your customers.
Offer money-saving coupon codes exclusively to your email list.
Coupon codes can be molded to a variety of “reasons.” For example, you can offer a different code for seasonal menus, new menu items, attending a special event, signing up for the newsletter, celebrating a subscriber’s birthday, etc. The real “reason” for any coupon is to entice the customer to make another visit to your establishment. You can tailor that reason to whatever your target audience would find most compelling.
Make sure not to give out too many coupon codes however, as this decreases the urgency of your restaurant deals. Never train your customers to take your offers for granted.
Whichever email tactics you choose, there are a few good habits that apply to all. Be sure you:
Always include large, mouth-watering photos of whatever you’re trying to promote. Since you run a restaurant, your emails should include one beautiful image of your best or most popular dishes and drinks. Seriously, food porn sells. Take advantage of this in every email.
Send promotional emails at the right time of day. Are you offering a dinner deal? Then schedule your email to go out well before the dinner rush. Advertising a seasonal event? This might require a series of, say, three emails starting six weeks out. Include a clear way to RSVP.
Give customers an easy way to ask about your restaurant deals. Either set up your mailing address to accept replies or include a method of communication — “mention this code to your server” — that’s clearly advertised in the email.
Restaurant deals keep them coming back
Remember, running a great restaurant is not enough to keep customers coming back. Memories of good food, service and décor can quickly fade. Every restaurant needs an email marketing strategy to stay fresh in their customers’ minds. Even restaurants that serve diners 16 feet under the ocean or 165 feet off the ground need this kind of strategy. Luckily, promoting deals through email only takes a few hours of effort a week. Keep offering perks to your email subscribers, and you’ll quickly turn them into loyal regulars.
If you’re a ChowNow restaurant client and want some feedback on your current email marketing strategy, schedule a call — we’re happy to help. If you don’t already have online ordering at your restaurant, now’s a great time to get started. Get a free ChowNow demo from one of our experts to get started today!
As a local restaurant owner, your number one focus has to be on the food, the ambience, the staff and the menu. But if there are no customers, then the whole thing falls apart. How do you lure them to your restaurant? Build a website.
5 reasons your local restaurant should have a website 1. To bring in customers.
What’s the next thing you do after driving by a restaurant that looks good? You want to see the menu and price list — hello, Google! But what if the restaurant doesn’t have a website? Chances are, you end your search and move onto to another restaurant to make your dinner reservation.
By having a website, you increase your visibility and the likelihood that people are going to become first-time customers. You can also use it as a way to engage customers and gather contact information from them. Use your site to keep loyal followers informed about events, menu specials and to encourage them to keep coming back. Any local restaurant needs to be connected people to bring them in the door.
2. To share hours, menus, and take reservations.
A good website answers basic questions right away — menu, location, hours of operation, and reservation information are the essentials. You should also include contact information, methods of payment and social media links all in one handy location for everyone to see. People are more likely to look up a business online than to call in for information so put it out there! Including reviews or links to review sites on your website is also a great way for customers to offer feedback or preview the experience through comments from other customers.
3. To establish local identity.
A well-designed restaurant website gives you the chance to show future customers what you’re all about and who you are before they ever step foot inside. Entice diners with your menu and pictures of appetizing dishes, laughing patrons or busy chefs preparing meals. Showcase your ambience with photos of your interior, patio, bar or comfy private dining. All of these give customers an idea of what they can expect walking through your doors.
Traditional advertising channels are no longer as effective as they once were; now it’s all about word-of-mouth and online presence.
People may be hesitant to try a place they’ve never heard of. A website is an easy way to assure them you offer an experience they’ll enjoy.
4. To set your restaurant apart from others.
Competition is fierce in the restaurant industry. We’ve all seen restaurants come and go. You want to stand out in the crowd. What special things do you have to offer? Delivery service, catering, happy hours — a website tells people what you are all about. Let’s face it, if you don’t have a website in this day and age, people will quickly assume something is off. People tend to find the lack of website suspicious. I don’t know about you, but I would wonder which other corners a siteless-restaurant is cutting.
5. To create brand awareness.
Unlike national chains, most local restaurants don’t have the luxury of launching expensive national branding campaigns. It’s entirely up to you to get the word out. With more and more diners turning to the web at dinnertime, not having a website is like a front door without hours of operation. No sign above the entry, no curb appeal to invite people to come in. The world is moving at a fast pace and the number of internet usersis constantly on the rise.
But you don’t have to be a web designer to create a gorgeous, easy-to-use website with all the elements a local restaurant needs. GoDaddy GoCentral has dozens of websites designed for restaurants like yours. No time or interest in doing it yourself? There are lots of professionals who’d be happy to build a website for you.
Make your local restaurant visible on the web
As I’ve said, if you don’t have a website, it’s like you don’t exist. If you want to prevail over other competing local restaurants and rise above the crowd, you need to make web-dependent diners aware that you exist. Social media is the new word of mouth; people are sharing constantly in our big wide world and having a website is the basic way to communicate your existence. Make sure it’s a good one that attracts clientele and keeps them coming back.
If you’re a ChowNow restaurant client and want some feedback on your current website strategy, schedule a call — we’re happy to help. If you don’t already have online ordering at your restaurant, now’s a great time to get started. Get a free ChowNow demo from one of our experts to get started today!