As Generation Z grows up, internet culture will continue to have a greater and greater impact on retail. With so much information at their fingertips, young adults – including Gen Z and Millennials – have come to expect a certain level of transparency from restaurants and other businesses. For example – did you know that 64% of customers search Google before even visiting a business?
Having a website is essential, but that’s just the beginning. To have an impact on profits, your restaurant should have a carefully curated cross-platform web presence. Here are 5 quick and easy tips to get guests’ attention online.
1. Views and Reviews
It’s easy to control the information on your business website – you work with designers and writers to choose the right words, images, and functionality to attract new guests. Review sites, on the other hand, are full of information that you cannot control. Guests post their unfiltered opinions for each other to read, and rate your entire restaurant based on their one or two experiences. You can improve your restaurant’s rating on review sites with a two-pronged strategy: gently encourage guests to write good reviews, and graciously respond to negative ones.
It’s not a great business practice to directly incentivize good reviews, but you can certainly encourage guests to talk about you online. For example, you might offer a free slice of pie to guests who check into your location on Facebook. This simultaneously boosts your web presence and reminds guests that you provide great service – encouraging guests to write kind words about you while they happen to be holding their phones.
Most important of all, restaurants should reply to every negative review across platforms. Whether you choose to respond publicly, or message the guest in private, this strategy is the best way to improve their opinion of you, and possibly turn them into an advocate for your brand. You may even learn from their bad experience and improve your customer service for other diners!
2. Menu Information
Sometimes, it seems like everyone has a dietary restriction of some sort. Your guests are gluten-free, paleo, keto, vegan, and more. Add in the number of people with serious food allergies, and the list is even longer. On any given day, the majority of guests in your restaurant might need some very specific information about the ingredients they’re consuming. This is especially true for Generation Z, who have come to expect extreme transparency.
This issue is easily resolved by offering detailed information for every dish you serve. And there’s no need to worry about ingredients cluttering up your menu design, either. If you prefer a minimalist menu, simply build a web page (or even an app) with more specific info. When guests have questions, they can either ask the server or review your menu on their smartphone. If you are able to use an app, this strategy will keep you connected with guests even after they finish their meal.
Make sure your website is easy to find through other sites – like Yelp, Facebook, Google Maps, and so on. The more places your business name appears on the web, the more likely it is that potential guests will find you in a quick Google search. It’s important that you keep your information updated across platforms – if your summer hours change, make sure everyone knows about it! If you get a new location or phone number, tell the world! Make it as easy as possible for guests to find you, both online and in person.
4. Connect with Guests
Being visible online is important – but how do you close the deal? Interactive options like online ordering, online reservations, and downloadable restaurant apps make it easy for guests to connect with you. Funnel them from your website link to a call to action (that is, a web link that encourages them to connect with your business). Once you have their email address and phone number, it’s easy to send them offers and special reminders, keeping your business top-of-mind when they get hungry.
Your site should be easy to read, from anywhere. How does it look on a computer screen? How about a tablet? Perhaps most important, is it optimized for iPhone and Android screens? Avoid confusion and keep your guests engaged by making it easy for them to navigate your site.
Whatever your restaurant’s web presence is like, there’s always room for improvement. It’s never too soon to do a quick Google search for business, so you can see what a new guest might find. Do you show up when you search for your restaurant’s name? What about when you just type in “burgers near me“? The more you know, the easier it will be for you to improve your reach across the web.