Advice from US Foods on optimizing your restaurant website to better serve guests
Maintaining a robust restaurant website can have a huge impact on the success of your business, helping drive revenue, brand awareness and more. With so many ways to reach guests online, we sat down with US Foods’ Restaurant Operations Consultant Laura Kron for her advice on how to make the most of our your restaurant website.
Make your content count:
Your website is one of the first places that potential guests turn to when deciding where to eat, so it’s important to set it up with the kind of information they’ll be looking for as soon as they visit your page. Restaurant website visitors are typically looking for five things: menus, location, events, reservations, and basic contact information. All restaurant websites should have this content quickly and easily displayed for guests.
Dino's text-based menus are easy to read and don't require guests to visit separate pages or download PDF files.
Your menu is especially important because it’s the most visited page on a restaurant’s website. “People begin deciding where to eat before they even come in, and if your menu isn’t available, they might go to a competitor’s website and decide to dine there instead,” Kron says. And it’s not just about having a menu up— it’s also about the format that menu is in. If you’re using PDFs instead of text menus, it not only makes the experience more difficult for your guests online but also limits your SEO efforts. Using text-based menus means that search engines have the ability to “read” your menu information and then project it to people searching for specific keywords. The better the information is on your website, the more visible it will be online, turning website traffic into paying customers.
Take advantage of off-premise sales opportunities:
What exactly are off-premise sales? Kron defines them as any sale that doesn’t happen in your restaurant’s physical location, such as take-out, online ordering, catering, e-commerce and more. They are great ways for restaurants to drive revenue without using additional square-footage and is becoming more and more popular within the industry. The National Restaurant Association estimates that 70% of customer transactions will be from off-premise sales by 2020.
When it comes to considering off-premise sales options, e-commerce is a great option that offers high margins. E-commerce merchandise can include anything from retail items to gift cards, and even packaged food. Selling these items online is a way for guests to enjoy your restaurant’s offerings even if they can’t make it into the physical space, and can also make great gifts. Kron also mentions that she has seen huge success with restaurants offering catering for off-premise sales: “It’s how many US Foods customers are making up for lack of sales during certain time periods,” she says. Restaurants that offer catering on their websites can drive catering sales by having guests place orders directly from their website, or use online inquiry forms to collect and manage guest requests.
Use photography to spark interest:
When a guest visits your site for the first time, you have just a few seconds to make a good impression. One of the best ways to do that is with images, which give visitors a sense not just of the food, but also of the ambiance of the space itself, says Kron, enabling them to make a more informed decision.
Alchemy Juice Cafe sells a variety of items online including their juices, packaged granola, apparel, and more.
It is important to feature high-quality photography of both your food and your space that supports your brand and entices online visitors to stop in and see what you’re all about. Plus, high-quality images boost SEO by creating searchable, organized content. Invest in hiring a professional photographer who can shoot photos to the correct specifications for a website, and help you bring your brand to life.
Want to learn more about how your restaurant website can better impact your business? Get in touch with us today!