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Cutting through the noise and standing apart from your competition becomes more and more difficult as time goes on. No one promised it would be easy – but you know that otherwise you wouldn’t be in the restaurant business. Staying competitive is an ongoing process of learning, adapting and evolving yourself, your team and the technology you use. Part of a successful business plan is coming up with a practical approach to applying a set of restaurant marketing ideas and then adapting them to fit your specific needs and brand when it comes time to create your restaurant website design.

First and foremost, it’s important to capitalize on the “low hanging fruit” so to speak. You should take the infrastructure you have in place already and see how it can be better used to drive your business.

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Monetize Your Restaurant Website Design (More Than Just Online Ordering)

A great restaurant website design is more than having the ability to process direct online ordering through a system like 9Fold or using third party commission based systems such as Seamless or Eat24. Sure, having a direct online ordering system is probably the most important (and obvious) feature to drive business directly to your kitchen and should certainly be priority, however, it is not the only way to capitalize on your virtual real estate.

Restaurant marketing ideas don’t need to always be about reinventing the wheel. Take a step back and assess if you are properly taking advantage of the fact that your potential customers (website visitors) are being exposed to everything you have to offer. For example, what are some things you offer in your restaurant at the cash register? Do you offer Gift Cards, loyalty programs or sell merchandise at your physical place of business? Apply some of these same offerings to your website, it’s a free way to show customers something they may not even know you provide in the first place. Don’t take it for granted that because you know something, someone else does as well.

Restaurant website design doesn’t have to follow strict rules, there is no reason you can’t run your restaurant website the same way any other successful e-commerce company does. Use various clever call to action buttons or links on your restaurant website to steer visitors where you want them, just don’t overdo it or you risk coming off overly salesy and could potentially scare them away.

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Create an Online Menu for a Purpose

Ask yourself, why did you bother putting your restaurant menu on your website? Perhaps more specifically, who are you trying to provide this menu to and what do you want them to do with it? Often times, when we assess a client’s current restaurant website design the most common scenario we find (menu wise) is a poor quality PDF linked as a second thought just to have something to look at. Sure, it’s better than nothing at all – but it’s certainly not the best you can do. For one, many visitors flat out won’t be able to view the menu in the first place if it is a PDF as they may be at work or on a device that doesn’t support that file. You risk losing them entirely at this point because they simply can’t see what you offer.

The most practical approach to adding a menu using restaurant website design best practices is to create a dedicated page on your site and link it within your website navigation bar so it’s easy to locate. Moreover, it needs to be a mobile friendly and easily scroll-able menu so visitors can browse on the fly.

Lastly, why not add a call to action button right on your web menu page? when a website visitor scrolls, pull them in with an “ORDER NOW” or “START YOUR ORDER” button in case they are ready to place an order. Of course, you will want to link this to your own direct online ordering system and not link to a third party .