Why Every Local Restaurant Needs a Great Web Presence
Even local restaurants that have done well with traditional advertising (e.g., word of mouth, signage, direct mail) need a professional-looking website. Here’s how a website can help integrated marketers reach a hungry audience, keep them coming back and even open a new revenue stream.
Start with the basics
An effective website doesn’t have to be complicated—you don’t even need to have online ordering. But, at the bare minimum, your establishment should have a website that looks credible and professional and serves up quality images of delicious-looking food.
You should also include:
- An “about us” section
- A contact page that includes your phone number, address, hours of operation and a Google map
- A complete, detailed menu (we explain why below)
- A reviews page
Once your website is up and running, it’s time to start capitalizing on opportunities to connect with your customers and even generate an entirely new revenue stream.
Beef up your reach among new customers
Almost 90% of diners research restaurants online before deciding where to eat. One of the best ways to reach these new potential customers is with SEO-optimized web content: when they’re using a search engine like Google to explore what’s out there. In fact, Google is the #1 tool people use to find a restaurant near them, and it provides you with two ways to introduce hungry people to your restaurant.
Organic traffic: Use keyword-rich content to achieve a higher position in Google search results. The more detailed your content, the better. This is an important reason why we recommend placing your menu online: more content means more keywords that diners may be searching for.
Paid search/pay-per-click (PPC) ads: Paid search ads (technically considered search engine marketing) that run alongside the search results page employ a similar principle, but you actually pay when a user clicks on the ad. PPC ads can be incredibly effective, especially if you can use highly specific, descriptive terms. For example, “burgers near me” is generic and likely has a lot more competition but using a phrase like “grass-fed beef near me” or “gourmet burger restaurants near me” might cost less.
Social media and web make an irresistible combination
Of course, you don’t technically need to have a website to take advantage of platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter, but that’s the point of integrated marketing. Think of using pictures of mouth-watering food and a unique dining experience as the “bait” that lures people to your website. Given how much time people spend on social media, regular posting can help you stay top of mind (and stomach!) with existing customers.
Make more dough selling gift cards
Once you start getting eyes on your page, don’t miss out on a new revenue stream: gift cards. Gift cards bring in money immediately, and 35% of customers redeem gift cards within a week. Typically, the amount spent at the restaurant far exceeds the amount of the gift card, so it’s like a gift that keeps on giving—especially during the holiday season, which is when more than half of all gift cards are sold.
It's ideal to offer both physical cards and mobile or e-cards through your website. If you’re worried about supporting online payments, there are several different options for you:
- Many of the popular website builder platforms offer “plug and play” e-commerce solutions. But you and your customers will be limited for payment options/processors. Another downside is that these solutions are template-based, so you may not get the look, feel and functionality you want.
- Another option is to trust the same company already producing your menus, signage and direct mailers—in other words, us. Yes, we really can do it all, including creating a beautiful, customized website that has all the features you need. We’ve served hundreds of restaurant clients, and we’d love to talk to you about what’s worked for them.