Today’s most successful restaurants don’t just exist as a bricks-and-mortar premises people visit for bite to eat. Popular restaurants offer dynamic ways for their patrons to interact – ranging from vibrant social media profiles to content-rich websites that profile staff, and include tantalizing details about the food on offer. If you’re unsure how to leverage the power of your website to help your restaurant attract more customers, our team has gathered five of our favorite website features for restaurants into one list to help you on your way.
Clear, Current Menu
The number one reason people will visit a restaurant website is to see what they can order to eat. This might seem like a no brainer, but it is easy to overlook updating the online menu when you are in a rush to update the menu boards in your restaurant, print fresh copies for the tables, and brief your wait staff on the changes. Remember that your daily special entrees and happy hour deals can be huge draws for new customers and your regulars alike – but only if people know what’s on offer.
Another leading reason for patrons to visit your website before they come in for a meal is to check the availability of tables. With huge advances in restaurant POS systems, it’s easier than ever to give potential visitors an effectively live view of the availability of tables for their chosen time and the size of their group. Customers especially rate being able to take a peek at the restaurant interior and table situation when deciding what to book.
Close behind booking tables and checking on the latest specials, potential customers will visit a restaurant’s website to see if they can use the venue for their big anniversary, birthday, or other special occasion meal for a small (or large) group. Including information about how you can cater for crowds, offer intimate chef’s table opportunities, or other tailored dining options for visitors is a great way to pepper your website with those all-important keywords, as well as providing vital information.
In addition to standard contact information, street address, and menus, patrons are interested in whether the restaurant will be able to cater to their needs. Can a wheelchair user easily enter the main door? Are the toilets up (or down) stairs? Is the kitchen able to cater for various allergy or dietary requirements? Though sometimes, the answer to these questions may be no, letting people know how accommodating your staff and facility can be is a huge help to those who need to plan their outings around the availability of various services.
It’s always nice to know something about the people behind the scenes of any given establishment. Particularly where food is concerned, people develop an emotional connection to the places they enjoy eating – adding a layer of personal context to that emotional relationship helps customers feel both valued and more directly involved in their dining experience. A simple way to do this that helps build an interactive online presence is by highlighting a different member of staff each week – from the hosts to the line cooks – and include a random fact that ties everyone together. Whether you feature favorite cartoon characters, three must-haves for being stranded on a desert island, or their favorite seasonal item from your menu, it’s an extra dimension that helps build relationships. These are just five of the numerous ways you can make better use of your restaurant’s website to entice new customers, and better engage with your regular patrons. The key is to provide regular updates and give those visiting your website a way to interact with your online presence.