The restaurant industry has never been more competitive. With 2019 just around the corner, there are no signs of the industry becoming easier. Establishing your restaurant’s branded digital presence can help lead to larger numbers of patrons, but it’s important to make sure that your restaurant’s website matches the overall brand experience.
A Website that Converts Visitors to Diners
The ultimate goal of your website is to turn a website visitor into an in-person diner. Conversion here should be a guiding hand to helping marry your restaurant brand and experience to your web design.
To convert your website visitor, you need to provide useful information that draws them to the restaurant. More than likely, these pieces of information include the restaurant’s menu, hours of operation, and booking.
Keep Your Menu Current
There are many ways of doing an online menu. From Instagram menus to PDF uploads, all have their merits, however the most important priority is keeping them current. Identifying the best means of doing so will mostly depend on how often your menu changes and if you have the resources to frequently update an online menu. If resourcing is an issue, keep it simple with a PDF upload that all users can access.
Restaurant Hours of Operation and Holidays
A restaurant’s opening hours are unlikely to change frequently, however around holidays, especially bank holidays, searchers will be looking to see if restaurants are open as usual or have different holiday hours. Keeping the restaurant’s hours consistent with other sources such as Google Business or Yelp are also key to providing users with a seamless experience.
Online Reservations and Bookings
Arguably the most important feature of a restaurant website for conversion is an online booking form. Although technically complex, there are multiple 3rd party solutions that allow you to embed your form with no coding experience. Keep this feature in the above the fold content and consider this to be your primary digital conversion.
Read more about some of the essential ingredients for a restaurant website.
Continue the Experience, Not Just the Aesthetics
For a new visitor this is your chance at a first impression.Not only does your website need to nail the aesthetics of your brand, but it needs to convey your restaurant’s experience through digital design. Your website provides with the opportunity to showcase the best elements of your restaurant — professional pictures of your outdoor patio, pristine dining room or modern-style bar are likely candidates.
Go Beyond Your Website: Local SEO and Review Sites
Your website is integral to conversion, however valuable SEO gains can be made by getting your website listed with Google Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor and other platforms that customers use to search out new restaurants.
On platforms like Yelp, even if you haven’t registered there is a good chance your restaurant is already listed. Take ownership of the listing, provide professional pictures and continue to define the restaurant’s experience. These platforms will also help you manage your online reviews which are becoming increasingly important in the service industry.
Case Study: Turning Harry Ramsden’s Newly Branded Assets into a Digital Web Experience
To see how we have implemented these proposed solutions in areal-world scenario, see our case study with our work on Harry Ramsden’s new digital web experience.