In this era of digitalization and social media, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc have completely transformed the way people interact and perceive the world. Not just that, it has also altered the way businesses operate and function. Today, 92% of customers read online reviews before making any purchase decisions.
In a digitally connected and social media driven world where everyone has access to information right at their fingertips, it’s vital for businesses of all sectors, particularly restaurants to have a strong online presence.
If you’re a restaurant owner looking out for ways to build a strong online presence for your business, acquire more customers, and increase sales, here’s a list of tips we’ve collated for you. But first things first, why is online image and presence so relevant in the current business climate?
Building a strong online presence for restaurant businesses is no longer an option; it is a necessity! Customers need to find your restaurant quickly across multiple platforms in this era where Google is considered the ultimate encyclopedia. Having an online presence not only helps you increase sales, but also provides you with numerous opportunities to reach new customers and grow your business. Get better insight on why online presence is important in today's scenario here.
Ways to Build an Online Presence for Restaurants
1. Create your restaurant business website
Developing your website will help your customers learn about your business. A website is like a teaser to generate curiosity and interest for a customer to walk through that door. It should be detailed, well designed, have attractive food and ambiance pictures, and most important customer testimonials and ratings. By doing so you already set expectations on what to expect when someone visits your establishment. Having a well-created and well-designed website makes it convenient for your customers to locate your restaurant on Google. This is why, when it comes to creating your restaurant’s website, you must optimize it for the Google search engine by adding relevant keywords.
2. Setup An Online Ordering System
We can’t stress enough on the importance of building an online food ordering system for your restaurant. New-age customers (millennials and Gen-Z) prefer convenience above everything else, and having an online food ordering system makes the ordering process seamless and effortless for them. This is also one of the best tools to build an online presence, attract new customers and keep them engaged with your business.
3. Social Media Presence
Many global food brands including McDonald’s, KFC, etc. are actively and aggressively using social media to promote their menu offerings, discounts, and keep their customers engaged by posting creative content. KFC, with 1.6 million Instagram followers has enhanced its social media presence and market visibility. On the other hand, McDonald’s, KFC’s biggest rival, has more than 4 million Instagram followers.
These brands are constantly interacting with influencers, food bloggers, and come up with trending posts that perfectly resonate with their target audience on Instagram. As per he latest report by Statista a whopping 3.6 billion people are active on social media, and it’s projected to increase to 4.41 billion by 2025. These numbers are a clear indicator of why it’s important for restaurants to create a strong social media presence to attract new customers and engage existing ones.
4. List Your Restaurant on Google My Business
Whenever it comes to searching for restaurants or food hotspots in nearby areas or a specific place, people prefer exploring it first on Google. Therefore, having a strong, well-maintained, and updated business profile is a good way to attract potential customers, reach more locals, and increase your restaurant’s brand reach.
Google Business Profile, also known as Google My Business is absolutely free, where you can list your business and engage with your customers through reviews, ratings, etc. By listing important details about your business such as address, working hours, images, reviews, brief description, etc. on Google you make it easy for your target audience to find you and thus expand your market outreach.
5. Register your business on Food Delivery Apps
Over the last couple of years, especially post-pandemic, ordering food online has gained momentum. A recent survey reveals that an estimated 60% of customers in the United States order food online at least twice a week.
Furthermore, 57% of millennials prefer to get their food delivered to their doorstep so that they can binge-watch while having food. Therefore, you must partner with food delivery apps and websites like UberEats, GrubHub, DoorDash, etc. By doing this, you’ll be able to build a strong online presence for your restaurant, boost your sales by up to 40%, and increase your bottom line,
6. Focus on SEO - It can do wonders for your business
Search Engine Optimization, abbreviated as SEO, is one of the most important ways for a business to build brand presence and stay relevant in the market. Considering that Google is people’s most preferred medium whenever it comes to searching anything, it’s imperative that you optimize your business with local SEO. Doing so you’ll be able to rank your restaurant business rank on Google’s top search results.
In addition to this, you’ll be able to improve your restaurant’s organic brand visibility, driving traffic to your business’ website, attracting customers, and ultimately generating leads. Having an effective digital marketing plan or SEO tactics in place, you can easily create a local presence for your restaurant business, target customer sentiment, engage customers, and build your presence across locations.
To learn about a few proven tips that’ll help your website rank on search engines, read our Local SEO Guide here!
7. Encourage Customers to Review Your Business
According to a survey conducted by BrightLocal, 82% of customers read online reviews for local businesses. This means that just establishing an online presence isn’t enough if your customers aren’t rating and reviewing your business. Thus, to grow your online presence further, encourage your customers to rate and review their experiences on platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, etc.
As this may seem like an overwhelming task for your customers, getting a free or discount coupon in exchange might interest them and encourage them to post reviews. Furthermore, ensure that you are actively responding to those reviews and queries, even negative ones in a more positive and polite manner. This will help you develop trust among your existing as well as prospective customers and build a reputation.
Summing It Up
Restaurants and other food businesses are all about community. For this reason, building an online presence serves as a great tool to promote business, attract customers, engage with them, and make it profitable by driving sales. So now when you learn that there are many things that you can do to build a strong online presence for your restaurant, wait no further! Take advantage of the above-mentioned strategies of creating online presence and give your business a jumpstart of success.
If you learn any such strategies that have helped you in making your restaurant business successful in the past, let us know. We’d love to learn!