1: Your restaurant website is primarily for your customers
Get excited, because this is the number one reason why you need to invest in your own branded website. Your customers expect to find you online to confirm that you are authentic. They don’t want to waste their precious time on places that may or may not be open for business.
Your site is part of your customer service strategy. Its main objective is to provide your customers with information that will help them make a decision. The more satisfying their online experience is with you, the more likely they are to visit your restaurant, order takeaway food or buy a gift card.
Think of your website like a virtual head waiter, guiding customers to your menu, location, opening hours, FAQs and about pages. It is there to prompt customers to book a table, order food online or take advantage of any special offers or upcoming events.
2: Restaurant websites must be mobile friendly
There are no excuses. A standard website in 2020 must be responsive on multiple devices, especially mobile phones. Caring about how your brand looks to your customers on different devices must be your top priority. You need to ensure that your most important content, like your food and drinks menus, display beautifully on a mobile.
Having worked online in the hospitality industry for 22 years, one of the rookie mistakes we’ve seen that loses restaurants’ potential customers, is the stand alone PDF restaurant menu. Not having an HTML version of your menu is definitely a missed opportunity for your business, because not every customer can or wants to download a PDF on their mobile device. If you want to anticipate your customer’s needs, try not to create annoying road blocks that can put them off. This is really important, especially in the early stages of your relationship with new visitors to your website.
3: All websites must have an SSL certificate in 2020
Unsecure websites are not cool. They imply poor maintenance, care and attention. If you want your customers to fill out contact forms, book a table or buy a gift card, you must ensure all their personal details are secure and encrypted with an SSL certificate. Don’t leave room for doubt. Build confidence and trust with your customers by reassuring them that the internet connection they are visiting is safe.
4: Feel the need for speed with A+ website security
Our society has become impatient thanks to technology. Waiting more than 10 seconds for a web page to load is definitely a deal breaker! To impress your customers in 2020, your website needs to be secure and load fast with high quality photographs, videos and copy. The speed aspect relies heavily on the advice from your web developer and your web hosting partner. Make sure you have A grade security and optimal speed built in to a flexible hosting plan – so if you need to change your hosting partner, you can do so smoothly.
5: Monitor search engines, restaurant directories and social media platforms
Relying only on 3rd party platforms to market your restaurant is a bit of a risk. It’s similar to having a printed business card, that features you as the headline plus a dozen random restaurants in your local area. The strategy doesn’t make much sense, unless these platforms are working alongside your own branded website.
And what is even riskier, is having no idea what these platforms are posting about your business. Ignorance may be bliss, but it’s a really good idea to at least check your restaurant opening hours and make sure they’re not promoting an old menu with outdated prices.
If you’re seriously contemplating building a new customer friendly website in 2020, we recommend doing searches on different search engines, to see who is talking about your business and why.
Then claim your Google My Business account and choose which platforms you can realistically manage and monitor on a regular basis. From there, remember to add your website address to every platform you commit to.
While the task may sound daunting, it’s important to take control of your brand online and embrace these platforms as your 3rd party marketing partners, with you calling the shots as much as you possibly can.
There are plenty of exciting reasons to build a new restaurant website in 2020. For now just remember, the only online platform that will 100% look after your brand, your unique story and most importantly your customers, is your own restaurant website. So go into this new decade with confidence and make your customers happy online, like only you can.