Earning new business doesn’t come easy to restaurants that aren’t backed by the benefits of owning a chain or franchise. There’s little to no brand awareness, and you most likely don’t have a marketing team behind you working to create visibility, awareness and most of all: new business.
So how can you get your restaurant noticed?
Here are some tips to do just that:
Recognize the Power of Online Searches
You already know that an overwhelming majority of people discover restaurants online, but how they search for those restaurants differs.
Some prefer to do review-based searches using specific sites or apps like Yelp, while others cruise Google or Facebook reviews and recommendations. Many just hit up their favorite search engine or Google search bar and plug away.
Knowing what terms and phrases potential customers use to find a place to eat will be helpful to you as you work to get your restaurant noticed online.
Here are some “types” of searches consumers use that you should be familiar with in order to set your restaurant up for success:
- Location-based searches: like, “restaurants Norwich” or “NYC pizza place”
- Quality-based searches: for example, “best Thai food” or “top rated restaurants”
- Value-based searches: think “happy hour deals” or “affordable lunch spots”
- Type-based searches: like “vegan food near me” or “Halal restaurants”
- A combination of some of the above: “best vegan food in L.A.” “fine dining deals London”
Knowing how consumers search for restaurants online will help you…
Optimize Your Site for SEO
In the old days, search engine optimization (SEO) sounded complicated. It was something you most likely wanted to farm out to a company or “expert”. But now, the average person is equipped to make small and simple changes to their website and other online real estate (like social media channels and directory listings) in order to button up the online presence of their business.
Here are a few easy ways to beef up your online presence to increase the chances of getting your restaurant found online:
Conduct a NAP (name, address, phone number) check. Whether you realize it or not, your business is already listed on hundreds of different websites via directory listings across the web. If your business information is inconsistent or inaccurate across different sites and social media channels, search engines like Google won’t want to serve your information up to searchers for fear it will be wrong and inaccurate.
Make sure that your information is updated across the online landscape. Correct old listings that display the wrong phone number, address or website and make it consistent across the board.
Start updating your website copy with keywords. Keeping in mind the way consumers search for restaurants mentioned above, start updating your web copy with language that incorporates some of the keywords your restaurant will be found with.
For example, keep your location/address in the footer of your website. Use language in your website headlines and subcopy that incorporates your restaurant’s biggest draws like “Best Happy Hour in Orlando”, “Coffee Shop with Free Wi-Fi” or “Vegetarian Options Available”.
Have a blog.A blog is a way to signal to search engines that your place of business is still active and relevant. It’s also a constant opportunity to work new keywords into your website copy on a regular basis.
Think of all the old websites that never get taken down, perhaps of places that have closed or changed hands. These belong to a graveyard of web listings that Google doesn’t want to serve up to searchers because they’re irrelevant. So, if your website hasn’t been updated with content since 2013, Google and other search engines may assume that you’re out of business or inactive.
A blog is a great way to update your content on a weekly or even monthly basis (hey, you’re busy after all) posting a blog pings search engines with new keywords and a general signal that yes, your restaurant is still there, your website is active and you’re accepting customers.
Another important way to stay relevant and get your restaurant found online is to…
Stay Active on Social Media
As a busy restaurant owner, updating social media may be the last thing on your to-do list, but consider making this more of a priority if you want your restaurant to be noticed.
To get your restaurant discovered and earn new business, you need to meet your potential customers where they are: and where they are is surfing social media. Staying active on social media helps keep your restaurant in the minds of your customers so that when they’re trying to think of where to eat, your establishment will come to mind.
For social media tips for restaurant owners, click here
Realize the Power of Reviews
Reviews are the holy grail of Google searches and Facebook business pages.
Consumers are highly trusting of other consumers because they’ve been there and tried that. The results they’ve been met with are real and typically unbiased, honest opinions of restaurant service and menu items, and you just can’t beat that.
When your potential customers are searching where to eat, one of the first things they’ll look at are your reviews: even before they glance at your menu. Now THAT is powerful.
You simply can’t ignore reviews, and here are a few ways to make sure that your reviews encourage new business:
- Encourage your existing customers to write reviews. You already have a group of loyal, regular customers. Kindly ask them to write a review of your restaurant. You can even entice them with deals and rewards. And don’t forget to encourage them to post images as well.
- Respond to every review (even the bad ones). It’s inevitable that you’ll get bad reviews now and then, but if you simply leave them there floating on the internet without responding, you’re doing your restaurant a disservice. Respond to every. single. review. Even those that aren’t the most flattering. And do so with grace and tact. Encourage angry or disappointed customers to contact management so you can “make it right”. This goes a long way when potential customers read and consider your reviews.
Lean on a Trusted Company for Help
As a restaurant point of sale provider, Epos Now doesn’t simply provide you with the POS tools, software and equipment you need to make sales and run a restaurant. Our team offers so much more to partner with you in your restaurant’s success. That means we help you optimize your website, and we help you seamlessly establish changes to keep up with the industry, like incorporating online ordering and delivery to your restaurant’s offerings.
We’re with you every step of the way in your restaurant’s growth, with everything from integrating loyalty programs and email campaigns to creating systems for accounting and stock/inventory management that save you money and contribute to your restaurant's success.