A restaurant is the embodiment of all that we know and love – serene atmosphere, delicately put-together interiors and beautiful ambience, all capped by finger-licking cuisine. Dining in restaurants makes for a fine experience, but it all begins, not when a patron walks in the door, but rather the first time someone hears there’s a new place on the block.
This is the information age, which means that 90% of the time people will rush to the restaurant’s website to get a feel of what the dining experience would be like, check out the menu and even make reservations if they’re pleased enough. As a restaurant owner, this is the real first impression a potential patron gets of your establishment, and you want it to be perfect.
You need to capture the audience’s interest, taking them through a journey of all your offerings and leaving them with no choice but to make a reservation to visit your restaurant and enjoy this awesome experience first-hand. The appeal that your site holds will determine the number of new customers you will draw in, therefore you must begin by ensuring every aspect of your web design and development process is taken care of.
In the following paragraphs, we highlight important aspects to bear in mind to ensure you have a solid and appealing web presence which will help you in the process of designing or revamping your own website.
Content Management System Choice:
Perhaps the most important aspect is that your website must be responsively designed to offer seamless interaction regardless of the device on which it is being accessed. Most restaurant sites use either WordPress or Joomla as their CMS because of their affordability and ease of customization.
Your design strategy should also include aspects that promote mobile marketing with the necessary plugins to improve user engagement. Update content frequently, providing interesting and informative content that users will want to share with others. Your choice of CMS will greatly affect how well you are able to do the above.
The best CMS is not necessarily the most expensive, rather, it is the one that can help you effectively design a responsive site, manage your content, track and analyze user behavior on-site and optimize for organic and generic searches.
Your Social Media Presence:
Social media is a pivotal aspect of any business’s marketing strategy, and restaurants are not exempted. Ensuring that your website is optimized for social media linking and sharing will make it easier for visitors to share your site on social media and therefore attract more visitors to the site and the establishment itself.
It isn’t enough to have the social media buttons on each page alone; your designer also needs to set the limits for default sharing as wide as possible, which drives visitors to interact with, share and experience more aspects of the website. There’s a new breed of connected customers that likes to share their experiences with friends on social media, therefore you must make this as easy for them as possible.
Some Ideas to Implement Include:
- Transforming web pages to graph objects using Open Graph protocol
- Using Foursquare and like platforms to enable customers to connect with friends and arrange meet-ups and dates
- Having and targeting specific consumer groups: couples, singles, bachelor and bachelorette parties, girls out on the town, birthdays etc. with special offers
- Featuring interesting cuisine from peripheral groups and other specials
- Using promotional events like trade shows, food tasting, local events and new menu items every so often
Lastly, ensure that the design is optimized for social sharing on mobile, since a large percentage of users will be accessing your site through their mobile phones and other portable devices while on the move. With these simple tactics, your customers can become free salespeople who will positively affect your bottom-line.
Creating Digital Signage for Your Restaurant:
Following the same considerations for your website, you can make creative digital signs for the restaurant, with exciting capabilities that promote your restaurant. You can use your digital signage differently: as a menu board, to communicate information on events, specials and other custom messages and also to display your wonderful servings.
It’s important to merge the main layout of your website with your digital signage in order to communicate a consistent message to your audience. Digital signs within the restaurant and in other places offer many benefits including;
- Customers can order through digital menus for better order management
- You can highlight specials for the hour, day, week or month
- Different signage in multiple locations can be centrally controlled
- Guests can offer comments, take surveys or rate food and services which can then be automatically transmitted to your website and on social media sites to make better publicity for you
There’s no limit to what you can do with digital signage and how you can integrate that with your social media profiles and also your official website. For instance, rather than offering a dessert cart, you can have pictures of your desserts pinned and updated as a serving of each is sold. This way, customers can reserve their desserts in advance before daily limits are reached.