Redesigning our website to adjust for the changing trends of 2019 was important but at first, it was intimidating, I’ll admit. I knew our restaurant needed to do it. There wasn’t an easy way to order online, our catering section wasn’t intuitive, & it lacked that unique factor that allows certain sites to stand out. The first step is to identify that you actually NEED to update your site. Whether it’s because it lacks technology advancement or it’s just plain ugly, determine it & then go from there. After deciding that it needs to be done, then follow the steps below.
Redesigning our restaurant’s website for the emerging trends of 2019 meant improving a few things: offering online ordering, offering delivery in-house and with 3rd party services, showcasing our unrivaled catering, and by introducing our unique voice online. Our online voice is spotlighted in the introduction of our new barbecue blog and starting a YouTube channel that talks about our food, our business, and our catering department.
Those three things, along with a few more tips has allowed our restaurant to rise above the competition and give our customers a unique perspective of our business.
1. Location pages should only have concise, relevant information about that specific location
There’s nothing that is more hated than when I’m trying to find simple information about a particular location and you’re not giving it to me – or you’re giving me too much. The correct hours, address, phone number and menu should all be on the proper location page if you have more than one location. If it’s just one location, then that information should be smack right on the top of the home page. And if we’re being honest, 95% of the time that’s all the info that people want. Don’t tell me about your seating capacity or how delicious your food is – let other pages do that if someone is seeking that type of info. Most people who go to your location pages are new customers and they’re sifting through dozens of restaurant websites trying to decide where they want to eat. In this era, people are impatient – they’re use to getting things fast. They don’t want to be overloaded, they just want to see the basic information.
2. Online ordering better be available
If you don’t offer online ordering, you’re behind the game but it’s not too late to catch up. We are in the era of being behind a screen. People are becoming more and more accustomed to ordering from their computer or mobile device while never talking to a real human. It’s in your best interest to give them that option. Platforms like Chownow (what we use), Gloriafood, and Square all allow you to accept orders over the web and fulfill them in the restaurant to be picked up by the customer. The only new infrastructure that you have to develop is how these online orders will be handed out. Also, you better make it clear to customers you offer online ordering – it may just convince them to order from you more often.
3. Delivery With 3rd Party Companies
Ever heard of UberEats? What about DoorDash or Grubhub? If you haven’t you’re probably living under a rock. These new tech delivery companies are shaping the way we order food. Giving their customers a list of restaurants to order from, all under a single platform. It’s also giving restaurants the ability to offer delivery without having to employ their own people. It’s a win-win. You get to offer delivery without the headache of delivery drivers/tap into their customer base, and they get more restaurants on their platform. Be aware, most of these companies make their money by taking a percentage of your sale so it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it (HINT: it probably is).
4. Catering – Show them why you’re better
A lot of restaurants offer catering so it may be difficult to rise above them but here is the good news: everyone needs to eat. The problem is, if you don’t show customers why you’re better or different, you won’t be making the money you deserve to make off that part of your business. You don’t need to do much. Do you see the catering section on your competitors sites? It’s pretty bare bones yet it still works so imagine if it was intuitive, clear and interactive – then you would probably make a killing. My take is this: keep it simple until they want to learn more, then give them everything there is. Keep your catering page clear and simple but provide links to various other pages on your site if the customer would like to learn more. Show a lot of pictures, be as transparent with pricing as possible, and even create a proposal form for them to fill out online. We’ve created a form like that on our website here and we receive more proposals through that than any other avenue – customers LOVE it.
5. Do something no one else does
Everyone says it, no one does it. Granted, maybe you do offer something different inside the restaurant, but how about on the website? If not, get out a pen and paper and start brainstorming. We’ve been in the barbecue business for over 20 years and we decided the best use of all this experience is to share it. Sharing through this blog, through our YouTube videos, and through our social media accounts. Maybe you’re an expert in sushi and that’s why you opened a sushi bar – then start creating videos about unique sushi creations. It doesn’t have to be blog posts or videos. Post only unique pictures that you’ve taken, feature a page about all your staff that’s updated constantly so it gives real faces to your business, or maybe give the customers the choice to, not only make reservations but, to also reserve what table they want so that they feel like VIPs, I don’t know! Think of your unique selling point and push that at every possible place.
If you want to maximize your restaurant’s revenue, whether you’re a very small restaurant or a considerably larger restaurant, these tips should be a baseline for where you should start. Keep your location pages simple, offer online ordering, if you don’t have delivery then set it up with a large 3rd party company, offer more information about catering but do it smart, and then offer something no one else does. These five features are what we implemented onto our new website because of the changing trends and we hope to see more restaurants do this because it’ll just make all of our lives better.
There’s not a pot too crooked that a lid won’t fix. Until next time!
Sub to our new YouTube channel and join the DB Nation where we talk about BBQ, business & catering: https://goo.gl/ic7cQD or you can join the VIP mailing list here to get only the most important tips to your inbox