Bielat Santore & Company’s tips & tricks for restaurateurs
The continuous rise of the Internet has opened a flood of new opportunities for restaurant owners to promote their businesses. The addictive nature of social media has become the go-to for many foodies who turn to sites like Instagram and Yelp for the latest industry craze and reviews. Just last week, Facebook and Instagram went down for almost a full day and the Internet was in a frenzy not knowing what to do with their thumbs itching to scroll through their feeds – many turning to Twitter to ease their thoughts.
Restaurateurs are well aware of the power that the Internet has on the feeding public, but some may not be sure how to attract these people to their restaurants. Below are some tips from our Marketing professionals to guide you on how to attract customers to one of the most important parts of a restaurant’s branding: the website.
Create a Social Media Presence
As we have already mentioned above, blasting your restaurant’s name on social media can have a big impact on the success of your business. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ll tell you. Start with the most common sites that the public looks to for their information: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Once you have created a presence on those sites (and done a little research on what other sites are popular in your area), you can branch out to create other accounts. These are free to use and simple to manage. You can even hire your own Marketing assistant to solely be responsible for managing these accounts while you are running the business end. Once you’ve built up these pages, you can start to see your follower count rise.
Make Your Website Visually Appealing
I think I can speak for the general public (or at least for everyone I’ve ever dined with), when I say that people like to do their research first before choosing a restaurant destination. There is a lot of competition for every genre of food out there and people want to make the best choice in terms of taste, service, cost and efficiency. That’s a quadruple whammy that restaurateurs aim to please, which is not an easy feat. One way that you can ensure that you stand out from others before anyone even walks into your establishment is by creating a visually appealing website. We recommend that your site includes professionally photographed images of menu items to get the effect that you mean business! Also, including the full menu online, listing the ingredients each dish entails will really make soon-to-be customer’s mouth’s water – especially when the descriptions are conveniently coupled with a juicy and flavorful pic of the burger to come. Posting Happy Hour Deals and Lunch/Dinner specials will also attract those budget-friendly foodies as well.
Make Your Website Fast and Easily Accessible
There’s nothing more frustrating than a slow Internet connection when you are in a rush trying to look something up on your phone. When your stomach is screaming with rumbles of hunger and you have five minutes to decide where you are going to direct your Uber driver upon his arrival, a lagging website is not helping matters. Creating a website and adding beautiful photos of the dining area is a great first step, but no one is going to want to frequent your site if it takes them forever to get past the home page. Also, make sure they can find everything else besides the home page! Strategically placing your links and content throughout your site so it is easy for visitors to navigate will make perusing the website a breeze. Feel free to take the opportunity to cruise through the websites of some of your favorite restaurants and take notes to relay to your web designer.
Keep Your Site Updated
A website that hasn’t been updated since announcing your March 2016 Beer of the Month is not helping the business owner nor the consumer. When people see outdated information whether on a website or social media sites, it gives them a bad taste that the restaurant may be closed or on their way out. Showing that you are committed to your business and have constant fresh ideas to promote will make your customers believe in you too. Are you testing out a new acoustic performance on Friday night? Let your followers know! Get the word out on all platforms including social media accounts (Another Tip: include your website link on all social media platforms. This enables users who may have spotted you on Twitter to be able to find your website easily with just one click, rather than leaving the page to Google your business).
If you are having trouble getting customers to your website, we encourage you to try these tricks. The Internet is your oyster, and there is so much that we can do with it that was not possible years ago. Your 60-year-old family business probably had a lot harder time letting people know their doors were open than you have now. Embrace the opportunities you have and utilize what the world has to offer.
About the Author: Courtney Ciandella has been the sole Marketing liason for Bielat Santore & Company since 2013. She is also the conductor behind the Who’s Who in the Restaurant Industry and Restaurant Tip of the Month series.