Restaurant employee looking at a tablet in the dining room.

It’s no secret that the global pandemic has created a fundamental shift within the restaurant industry. Having an online presence in the last 5+ years has been important. Now, commanding a digital presence is not just important; it’s critical for survival. The future of the industry in a COVID-safe world heavily relies upon technology. Additionally, it relies on finding creative and functional means to connect diners to restaurants. This is the most efficient and effective way for patrons to continue to support their local eateries. Moreover, it’s how restaurants can thrive in a highly focused digital era. Throughout this article, we will discuss some low-hanging fruit behind restaurants owning their digital presence, profits, and relationships with diners directly from their websites.

Why your restaurant needs a hospitality-specific website

  • You can find your restaurant in a lawsuit if your website doesn’t meet digital accessibility guidelines
    • It’s imperative to ensure all websites are equally serving all guests online. This ultimately protects your businesses
  • If your website lacks an SEO (search engine optimization) backing, it falls behind those that have a base built into their site
    • Missing items like H1 tags on menu items, or geolocations, can cause your restaurant to miss out on possible patrons
      • Many patrons use search terms like the following: “best XYZ menu item in XYZ location”

How to drive more traffic and revenue through your restaurant’s website

Restaurants need to ensure that they optimize their own direct channels and effectively market to diners. This is especially relevant for off-premise dining. As a result, diversifying offerings helps drive off-premise revenue and converts site visitors into paying customers.

  • Build Out A Direct Online Ordering System On Your Website
    • Building out a direct online ordering system on your site enables restaurants to set up an online ordering system directly through their own websites. Therefore, this provides greater control over your brand, relationships, and profit. Design your checkout process is to convert customers and drive repeat visitors.
  • Create A Digital Storefront
    • Restaurants should think about their websites and online presence differently, as a digital storefront that’s always open. Your restaurant’s website should inform diners of what they can expect (curbside, delivery, safety measures, menu changes, etc.). Furthermore, it should also provide additional revenue streams like gift cards, merchandise, tickets to online classes, etc. Above all; your website should act as a direct reflection of the guest experience within the brick-and-mortar.
  • Diversify Menu Offerings
    • It’s essential for restaurants to get creative with their menus. Menu items are changing due to the greater demand for delivery and curbside. In addition, creative marketing tactics have created a wider space for diversification as well. For example, creating meal kits, family meals, or various catering packages and selling those items directly through the website!