Establishing a strong digital presence is the best way to promote your restaurant and attract and retain customers. In today’s world, everything is online and digital presence is only increasing in importance. Your guests are online, so it only makes sense that your restaurant should be as well.
Putting your restaurant online can boost your sales and increase profit, but it can also drive customer loyalty. Create a memorable brand for your restaurant and show customers that you can keep up with technology and care about their business.
Even though everything these days revolves around technology, 29% of small businesses still don’t have websites set up. Your website is your opportunity to convey your brand to visitors and create a lasting first impression. Be sure to sharpen your restaurant’s image by adding high-quality, exciting images of your restaurant and food. Consider hiring a professional photographer as they will have high-quality gear, understand how to work with the lighting conditions, and will edit the shots in an aesthetically pleasing way. An eye-catching website is an easy way to boost your online presence and gain some traction with search engine optimization.
Add all the necessary information that customers will be searching for when visiting your website. Your website should include hours of operation, business location, contact information, and menus. Include a short history of your business and values and how you came to be for a more personal touch. Crucial information will also help boost your SEO and gain you a better ranking in search results.
Online ordering and curbside pickup are continuing to boom, and, if you’re not already, it’s time to hop on. If you can, consider partnering with a third-party like Door Dash or Uber eats to boost awareness. A small business or new restaurant can really benefit from a third-party app, as local customers will see your name out there when hunting for a place to order food. This is a great way for you to put your menu out there, with less noise.
Beautifully curated websites are great, but if the customer doesn’t know you exist, more steps need to be taken. Attract new business in other ways. 68% of online experience begins with a search engine, and having your menu online is key. Diners typically look at menus online before choosing what restaurant to visit or order. Make sure you put your menu out there for locals to view through other sites. Menu management sites will disperse your menu to all the places it needs to gain visibility and will also make menu updates for you.
There are so many social media channels to choose from, but it’s important not to spread yourself too thin by trying to keep up with all of them. Test out different platforms, investigate which ones work best for your restaurant, and gain the most engagement and followers. Be consistent with your content. Make sure your social media posts match up with the vibe of your website. Use the same beautiful photos you’re posting on your site to promote your business on social media. This will create an aesthetic flow across all channels and help to convey your brand effectively. Stray away from blurry or dark photos and use only attractive and eye-catching ones. Try to post to your chosen social platforms at least once a week to stay at the top of your customer's minds.
If your budget allows it, paid social marketing campaigns can also help to gain more social visibility. Take advantage of access to local food influencers and reach out. You can offer a free meal at your restaurant in exchange for a blog or social media post. Keep in mind that some food influencers will charge a fee for marketing. This could be a great investment for your business as it will raise awareness of your restaurant to the local foodies and increase the number of visitors you have.
Choose engagement over promotional content. Make your socials and engagement about the love of your products and services and your passion for creating a lasting and memorable dining experience for your guests. 89% of social media messages to brands are ignored. Be sure to address questions and comments promptly to show diners that you’re loyal and care about their business. The key to good customer service and engagement is making sure your customers feel special. Reply to all online reviews and inquiries, especially the negative ones. Making this a priority and responding with positive messages and solutions will show the customer that your team is listening, and you value them.
Communicate with your customers and other local restaurants on social media. This will increase engagement and allow you to promote and connect with other restaurant operators. Being a part of the community is huge for brand awareness and shows that your brand is all about connecting.