"The era of mobile apps are over" is a tall statement to make. While mobile apps are certainly easier to use, their sheer number is now discouraging users to uninstall the apps and opt for the mobile optimized website instead.
Every day, websites get billions of hits and more than 75% of the total users are logged in from a handheld devices such as a smartphone or tablet. In the current age where almost everyone is equipped with a smart device, it is very important to look for ways by which these devices can help you take your restaurant forward. While the sales keep offline, having a fast website should be a top priority to keep the numbers rolling online.
A mobile optimized website is a better option than taking your way to a mobile application as:
- A website also caters to the users who have not download your restaurant's app, and thus targets a larger consumer base.
- Users don’t like to download applications without knowing exactly what they will get.
- Heavy apps often slow down the mobile phones and discourage users from having too many apps in their phones.
- Without having a good pool of customer data, application marketing is very difficult. It is better to acquire customers and their data through your website and going to a mobile application in the future.
Starting with a website to create a name for your restaurant and gathering customer data is the best choice. After a significant time period if you have a big data roster then you can decide to launch a mobile application which should act as a secondary tool for marketing, the primary still being the website.
Why Your Restaurant Needs a Website
Online Presence: The biggest purpose of a website is to have an online presence. While almost half of the population of the world is connected to the internet, staying online can prove to be a business booster for your restaurant.
Connecting with the Customers: A website lets the users be in direct contact with you via a virtual connection. They can get in touch with to give a suggestion or notify you about a problem they faced in your restaurant or make an inquiry about your restaurant. Be it any reason, a website acts as an online bridge between you and your customers or possible customers.
Collecting Reviews: Restaurant reviewing system has been there for quite a while now and people nowadays tend to post accurate reviews with details about their experience with restaurants. Integrating these reviews on your website is a good way to let the customers know that you don’t have anything to hide and it also helps the customers see all your reviews at one place.
Increasing Sales: Uploading your menu on the website along with an option to order then and there can get you some amazing customers. Running promotional offers only for the people who order through your website can get you help you in gaining new customers as well retaining the old ones.
What Features Your Restaurant’s Website Should Have
Almost 50% of the users surf the internet using a handheld device such as a mobile or a tablet and if your website isn’t mobile compatible or is slow when viewed through a handheld device, you straightaway lose half of the potential and existing customers. Having a mobile responsive website is very important. Customers should be easily able to view and surf your website on both handheld and desktops.
Sharing your appropriate contact information which is monitored regularly is important as it can help the customers get in touch with you. Working phone numbers or ordering and queries, a valid email address and exact address should be given on the website. Integrating a Map on your website will be helpful as well as customers can use the maps to reach your restaurant easily.
Social Media Integration
Your website should have links to all the social media websites you have a presence on. Simultaneously your social media handles should publicize your website. This will increase the visits on your website and the engagement on your social media handles. Both in turn will help you acquire new customers while retaining old customers.
Menu and Ordering Option
Your website should have the complete and updated menu on your website to let the customer know what exactly will they get when they order or walk in your restaurant. If you are a restaurant which doesn’t print their prices on their menu cards, then the website should be updated with the whole item list so the customer knows the cuisine and what to order. Letting the customer order from your own website is a great way to enhance the user experience.
Having a Gallery section is very important on your website where you can upload pictures of events, parties or simply customers having a good time in your restaurant. Letting the customers upload on the website through their social media accounts is a great marketing technique too.
Promotions and Newsletters
If someone is visiting your website, make sure they are informed of the latest offers and discounts on the front page itself. If the users register with their E-Mail ID, it is a good gesture to send them promotional offers but spamming them is not the correct option as too many E-Mails will only lead to a lost customer.
Clean and Simple Look
Your website should be an easy to use website without too much information lined up on the front page, making it look cluttered. A heavy website will not work swiftly as it has too heavy files to load up while information overloaded webpage gives off a bad impression of your restaurant.
The website of your restaurant is your marketing manager online, and should be well organized and updated regularly. The key to a successful website is continuous monitoring as well as responding actively to each and every query you get. The customers should feel know that the restaurant owners pay attention to their queries.