Founded in 1978, BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse is an award-winning company with an "of service" culture, anchored by solid hospitality and guided by a compass of quality. The BJ's experience offers high-quality...
Restaurant patronage used to be based on a combination or word-of-mouth reputation and prominence on common travel routes. While you will always have your loyal return customers, new diners are finding their destinations in modern ways that have a lot more to do with online presence than on exterior decor or where your building is in relation to popular streets. When an individual, couple, or family is looking for a restaurant to try either near their home or while on vacation, the first place they look is the internet. Between Google and Yelp, most people make their decisions based on ratings, reviews, and the information they can gather before punching a location into their GPS navigation system. However, no matter how many positive local reviews you get, many people won’t even consider a restaurant unless they can investigate it completely via their website.
Building Your Restaurant Website
Most restaurants know that they need a website and even pay to have one built, but it’s astounding to see exactly how many have no idea what customers are really looking for in terms of features and information. Most restaurant websites include beautiful pictures of the dining room, the founder’s story, and a lot of really lovely visual assets without a single drop of useful information. Maybe you have a website, and perhaps you put a lot of effort into making it attractive, but does it actually have what it takes to bring customers in to dine or call for take-out?
What Your Website Needs:
- Pictures of The Environment
- Pictures of the Food
- A Well-Written Menu with Prices
- Accurate Contact and Delivery Information
- A Careers Page
- An Easy Online Delivery Interface
- Regular Testing to Eliminate Frustrating Bugs
Pictures, Pictures, Pictures
While most venues miss at least one of the listed points, they usually understand the need for pictures. When a customer is deciding where to eat, they want a good idea of the kind of experience they’re getting into and what to expect from the food itself. This means clear pictures of the dining room and tables, along with a nice selection of photos of what real plated meals look like. If you want to really influence purchases, arrange your photos to include the entree, sides, dipping sauces, and beverages of a standard meal so that customers can understand exactly what they can get from your dining experience.
Clearly Written Menu
There’s nothing worse than getting excited about a local restaurant only to discover that there is no sign of an online menu. Many people want the chance to plan their meal ahead of time without the few awkward minutes of indecision at the table with a hovering waiter. However, even more frustrating than no menu at all is an enticing menu with no prices, leading customers to assume that they will only experience sticker shock even if they love their meal. A clear menu is especially important if you don’t want to drive away lucrative delivery orders.
Easy to Use Delivery Interface
It’s important to remember who your customers are and how the world is changing. While phone calls used to be the best way to take remote orders, modern young adults and introverts of all ages would much rather deal with an online form than try to explain their order over the phone. You can significantly increase your revenue from deliveries and take-out orders by incorporating a bug-free and easy to use online interface. If you’re on a budget, even the ability to type out their orders as simple text message is better than nothing.
Customers aren’t the only important people who will find you online. Most restaurants work hard to stay fully staffed with skilled team members and it’s important to never stop looking for talented new employees. This is why almost every business website on the internet includes a careers page which works a lot better than a ‘now hiring’ sign in the window for the same reason your restaurant website brings in more customers than foot traffic does. If you want to find talented waiters, delivery drivers, and kitchen staff, make sure to keep your online doors open to applications.
Sirvo can provide subscription customers with a careers page that can be easily inserted into their company’s WordPress website. Not only will your careers page showcase the culture and benefits of being employed with your business, but they will have access to all your current opportunities that are automatically updated so applicants can apply straight from your careers page with a seamless experience. Learn more and sign up here.
Once you have a trendy interactive website for your customers and future team members to find you through, don’t forget to test it and confirm that they can successfully reach you through the site. Nothing is more frustrating than entering your menu order or filling out a job application only for the software to break at the ‘submit’ stage. Test your website regularly to keep it in good working order.
As the world moves forward into an almost permanently half-online state, every adaptive business is changing to keep up and restaurants are no exception. With a great website and active hiring policies, your venue should be rocking the online and in-house orders until the next big technological step forward.