Every business is online these days.
Probably most business but definitely not all.
That’s especially true for many restaurants.
Many restaurants rely on directory websites for their online presence.
That is where a lot of customers come from but the details on directory sites are inconsistent and difficult to maintain.
There are two things people look up a restaurant for online:
- The menu.
- Others customer’s reviews.
That leaves some barriers and benefits to a restaurant online presence beyond a directory website.
First the barriers of maintaining a restaurant online presence.
Online Presence Barriers
One of the biggest barriers in your business is also the biggest barrier of your restaurant online presence.
There are requirements for keeping an online presence updated if you want to keep customers happy.Time is always the biggest barrier for businesses. Click To Tweet
If you’re doing a restaurant online presence right, there are many places needing to be regularly updated.
Hours change, menus change, even locations change or are added.
All of those must be accounted for as close in time to when they happen as possible.
If you leave a menu update unmade for a few days, you may end up with some disappointed customers.
What if you have your menu on sites like Yelp and Foursquare?
That can get even trickier to update.
That’s why a website can be a barrier but a benefit at the same time.
One central location that customers can get updated info on your restaurant is best.
I recently went through a rebranding by changing my business name.
Updating just a few pieces of information across my entire online presence wasn’t easy.
This is something I wouldn’t want to go through often.
A restaurant can change their menu several times a year and hours are updated even more (holidays).
Having one central restaurant online presence that acts as a master can make that a bit easier.
Of course there’s no way to avoid needing to update your online presence elsewhere.
Google Business, Yelp, etc. will always want you to keep the hours updated there.
A central online presence like a website will help, though.
With all the barriers to a restaurant online presence, what are the benefits?
Online Presence Benefits
Luckily there are a lot more benefits to a restaurant online presence than barriers.
The single biggest benefit to your restaurant online presence is reviews.
Whether you want it or not, your restaurant is going to show up on Yelp and other directory sites.
That means people are going to be reviewing you.
In business it’s always better to know what people are saying about you whether good or bad.
There’s no way for you to improve your business if you don’t know what people like and what they don’t.
Inevitably that means you’re going to get at least one negative review.
If you manage your restaurant online presence then you’ll know when those negative reviews happen.
Knowing when they happen means you can mitigate the damages they can incur immediately.
There’s a simple 4 step process you should take to handle negative reviews.
Another benefit to maintaining your restaurant online presence is that you can updated it when you change something.
Whether you update each directory site and your website or link everything back to your website, if you manage it, you can updated it.
It’s especially easy to keep it all updated if you keep most if in one central location.
You can centralize as much of the information about your restaurant as possible to at least minimize updating.
When you have a strong restaurant online presence, you’ll always be on.
Even if you’re just on Yelp or TripAdvisor, your online presence will be always on.
People will be able to find you and learn about you no matter where they are or what time it is.
The biggest benefit to an online presence for any business is the always on aspect.
Not only is an always on presence a benefit but it’s also a requirement as customer’s have come to expect it.
With a thorough and regularly updated restaurant online presence, you can reach a broad audience.
In the past the reach of your business would have been minimal and difficult to capture out of towners unless in a highly trafficked area.
That’s not true anymore. The internet has made it easy for people to find your business for locals and others..
Not just the internet made it easy, though, mobile devices have played a part.
People are used to picking up their smartphone and looking up where they want to eat tonight.
Whether they’re traveling or locals, your restaurant online presence will find the largest number of people if you’ve made an attempt to, online.
Provide More Details
There’s a lot more to your restaurant than simply the location, phone number, hours, and menu.
Probably one of the largest questions you get on the phone is hours. There’s more that people aren’t calling about, though.
Your restaurant online presence gives you the opportunity to make more information available.
People want to know things like dietary information, health information, and diet accommodations.Your website can offer much more details than any directory website. Click To Tweet
My wife has celiac’s disease. That means we have to find places that can accommodate gluten free options.
The problem we regularly experience is that the hostess on the phone doesn’t know what celiac is or sometimes what gluten even is.
That means before we frequent any restaurant, we have to determine if it’s celiac friendly or not.
Unfortunately that means we have to rely on information that’s lacking.
Unless the restaurant has taken the time to put the information on their website, we either call or don’t go there.
When we do call, it’s about 50/50 whether the hostess even knows the answer to our questions.
A well done restaurant online presence gives you the opportunity to have customers questions covered without wasting valuable phone time.
Manage Your Online Presence
Don’t leave your restaurant online presence to chance.
Nothing in your business should be left to chance if you have a desire to grow your customer base.
A professional online presence will help cement your restaurant as the best in the area.
That and it’ll always be there to drive customers towards your restaurant whether they’re planning a trip or are ready to eat.
Do you know how well your restaurant online presence is performing for you?
If not, it’s time to see how it’s doing and if there are any improvements you should make.
Your free Online Presence Report will help you determine what you’re doing well and what you need to do.