The restaurant business seems to be changing and evolving at a dizzying pace. Diners have become food and tech savvy, and dare I say uber picky about where they eat? Websites like Yelp and Foursquare have turned everyone into a food critic.
So how is a busy restaurateur supposed to keep up with all of the changes, and still focus most of their time and energy on running their restaurant? One way is to take a peek into restaurant trends, and choose the trends that fit your establishment’s style. Now I’m not saying you should shift your business model to become “trendy”, but if you don’t know what’s available, and why it’s important, it’s hard to plan for future success. To make it a bit easier, below are 7 of the most important things restaurant owners should know.
- The Information Highway Drives Customers to Your Door
The restaurant industry has typically been a low tech, high touch business, but that’s changing rapidly. Internet sites, social media, mobile apps, online ordering, and a host of technological advances in restaurant management systems are quickly moving restaurants into the high-tech 21st century.The advent of technology can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to the food service industry. While automating your inventory tracking using the newest software will decrease your food costs, trying to keep up with all of the tech changes that impact your business can (literally) keep you up all night. The good news is that technology can have a positive impact on your restaurants bottom line!
- Patrons Want More Tech with their Fare
Creating a digital presence for your establishment can give you a competitive edge over your competition and help your restaurant stand out from the crowd! Several surveys show that restaurant guests want more technology with their meal. They crave choices like online ordering; access to menus on a computer or smartphone; adding their name to a wait list; checking restaurant wait times; e-wallets that allow virtual payments; and a bevy of other technology options.
- A Website is Your Restaurant – Online
The competition for the dining dollar has become increasingly fierce, so how does your restaurant stand out amid all of the competition? Having a website for your restaurant is an ideal and surprisingly affordable place to start.A successful online presence for your business must start with a well-designed website because 9 out of every 10 people search for a restaurant on the internet. Your site should reflect your restaurant’s personality, but it also needs to contain specific features like your menu.
Please visit us at WebDiner.com for information on the must have features for every restaurant website.
- Social Media Creates Customer Loyalty
The majority of people that own and run a restaurant are passionate about creating a memorable experience for every diner that walks through their door. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter permit your diners to share that experience with hundreds, and sometimes thousands of their friends. They snap pictures, comment, and refer the information about your business to everyone in their social circle, instantly. Building a social media presence is critical to ensuring your customers can tell their friends about the wonderful experience you work so hard to create.
- People Find Eateries on Mobile Devices
People love their mobile! According to the Wall Street Journal (online), “81 percent of consumers search for restaurants through mobile apps and 75 percent make decisions from those search results.”Having a mobile friendly website helps both current and potential customers to find you on-the-go. Imagine being able to send your loyal patron a list of today’s specials while they are shopping in your neighborhood – enticing them to stop by and grab a bite!
You can exploit the power of mobile by ensuring that your restaurant’s website is designed to look amazing and work correctly on every smartphone, laptop, and tablet.
WebDiner custom designs beautiful, mobile optimized webs sites specifically for restaurants.
- Online Ordering Isn’t Just for Fast Food
Slow food restaurants can benefit from online ordering because it allows your customers to enjoy your cuisine, even when they are too busy to sit in your restaurant. Customers enjoy browsing an online menu, and they tend to spend more per order than they would if they were sitting at a table in your establishment. Coupled with the fact that enabling patrons to order meals online increases efficiency, decreases errors, and frees up staff time (no one has to answer the phone) and you can see how online ordering can boost your bottom line.
- Your Restaurant Already has an Online Reputation
Chances are that your restaurant is already online, even if you don’t have a website. Guest’s post reviews and opinions about their favorite and not so favorite places to nosh on review sites like Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, and a multitude of other sites. These online reviews can help (or hurt) your business, but do you know how to monitor and manage your restaurants online reputation? Responding to online reviews within 24-hours of posting engages your customers, and lets them know that you care about their opinion.
WebDiner can help you watch and protect your business’s digital reputation. Please contact us today for a free live demo of how WebDiner can help you create a powerful digital presence for your restaurant.