The restaurant industry is turning to technology to help increase their sales and attract new diners. More specifically they are turning to the Internet and restaurant website design. It’s a growing trend that many restaurants have yet to embrace but the inevitable truth is that those restaurants who fail to present a modern web presence, will miss out on the majority of new business in their area.
How big of an impact is the Internet playing in this industry?
According to a study conducted by AIS Media, 89% of consumers who they have researched a restaurant online before dining there, and of those 89% of consumers, 57% indicated that prior to selecting a restaurant they view the restaurant’s Web site. And 33% view other consumer’s reviews online prior to dining.
The restaurant industry isn’t unique in these statistics. These are the same issues that businesses are facing across all industries. Your success is greatly dependent on your ability to adapt, and your ability to brand. More and more consumers are turning to the Internet and it adds a new element to your marketing strategies. Today, consumers can research virtually any and everything online, and they do! The economy is still a wreck and fear is preventing consumers from spending in the same ways that they were before. Unfortunately, one of the first places people look to cut their spending is on dining out. That’s why it is so much more important that your restaurant website is a dominate force in your marketing area.
So what are the ingredients that make a powerful restaurant website presence? It’s simply a combination of usability (accessibility or ease of use )and visitor experience. Yes, the same very ingredients that keep your loyal customers coming back to your will help you gain new ones via the Internet. It’s not as easy as it sounds though. It is six times harder to attract new consumers than to please your loyal consumers. Your current customers already know how good your food is. Your mission is to convince those near 90% of consumers who are using the web to find their next dining experience that your restaurant is the one they should choose.
An effective restaurant website should combine enough ingredients to allow potential diners to gather an idea of the atmosphere, and also offer the consumer incentive to visit your restaurant. Reward consumers for visiting your website and they will reward you with their business. Whether you offer a low cost appetizer or even a entrée or desert free of charge for anyone who presents a coupon off of your website, you’re pulling the visitors in. Be creative though, there are several methods for making your website a money making machine. Metrotainment Cafes, an Atlanta, Georgia based company offers a customer loyalty program via their website. While most of their customers hear about their loyalty program inside the restaurant, they have to sign up on their website, and it has resulted in a 10% increase in new business since it’s inception according to owner Jeff Landau.
The numbers don’t lie and you can’t argue with facts. The restaurant industry is more and more being drawn into the digital age; and for good reason. D0n’t get caught on the outside of this trend.