Why your restaurant needs a great looking website
This week in The Clear Guide Lite, we’ll take a quick look at why your website is such an integral part to the success of your restaurant.
TripAdvisor research from 2018 indicated that 80% of UK respondents made restaurant reservations online. That should come as no surprise to you, nor should it be a surprise that every restaurant needs to have a website that clearly communicates their brand and influences how they’re perceived by potential customers. The return on investment for a website on its own is often difficult to quantify but what we do know is that you only have one chance to make a good first impression in such a crowded marketplace. A professional and intuitive website is the minimum expectation when anyone is searching for a product or service these days.
Poor or outdated design, bad photos, and too much or too little information will put people off. In my career, I’ve worked with many excellent restaurants but I came across many that were completely misrepresented by their websites. In many cases, this was one of the main reasons these restaurants were uncomfortably empty.
The good news is that nowadays it’s very easy (and cheap!) to create a beautiful website without any previous design experience. There are countless website builders such as Wix and Squarespace, which make it really easy – it can be as simple as choosing a template and customising it with your own colours and branding.
If you’re struggling for time, your other option is to hire a design agency who’ll create a bespoke, SEO customised website for you. The cost of this really varies, depending on the functionality of the website, the size of the marketing agency and whether they build sites from scratch or use standard templates.
Once you have the basics, you need to think about the following:
- Copy writing: Is the copy written in the right tone, accurate and ticking SEO requirements? Does it represent my brand? Is it concise? Is there too much text? Too much text on a restaurant’s website can be off-putting, lead with beautiful imagery instead.
- Film/Photography: Strong photography is really important. Images that are out of focus, pixelated or show greasy plates are an absolute no-no.
- Blogs: Blogs are a great way to improve your presence on Google and publicise events, new dishes, etc.
- On the go: You will want to make sure that your site is compatible with mobile devices as well. Most of use a smartphone to quickly find a restaurant and book a table – your website must therefore be optimised for this.
In addition, your website is a very important tool you need to utilise for your marketing activities. For example, if you’re launching a restaurant, you should have a functioning website that’s capturing the email addresses of the site visitors in the lead up to your grand opening. Start growing your database early – the bigger it is, the bigger your captive audience and advertising events or promotions in your newsletter will be much more successful. But more on this next week.
Andrea Klar-Nathan is MD of Clear Communications. With over 15 years of hospitality communications experience; she co-owned her first agency by 2011 which she then sold 7 years later. Her experience includes everything that’s connected to hospitality: Michelin starred restaurants, pop-ups, venues, events, even wine storage solutions. You name it, she’s done it.
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