Those days are long gone when restaurants could do well while running their promotions through flyers and good word of mouth only. In the last couple of years, entering the digital domain has become as important for restaurants as it is for any other business.
With more people resorting to mobile food ordering during the pandemic, it has now become very crucial for any restaurant to map out its online food marketing strategy.
In short, restaurants have to prioritize their operations on the digital medium.
When it comes to digital marketing for restaurants, many people consider that having a website and social media pages is enough to conquer that medium. However, that’s not the case at all. You can’t expect to get the needed response from the digital audience by doing the bare minimum.
Besides creating the website and social media accounts for your restaurant, you also need to ensure that you handle and operate them in the right manner. In many cases, restaurant owners abandon their plans to expand on the digital medium due to a lack of response. This lack of response primarily stems from the mistakes they have made in handling their restaurant’s digital marketing strategy.
In this post, we will walk you through all those pitfalls and barricades that can stop a restaurant from achieving the digital success it aims for. By focusing on those big no-no’s and getting around and addressing them, restaurant owners can make their establishments a model of digital success.
1. A Non-Responsive Website
There is no point in having a website for your restaurant if it is non-responsive. A non-responsive website boasts a static interface only suitable for one type of device (usually desktops). If your restaurant has a non-responsive website, you need to switch to a responsive layout as soon as possible. A responsive or mobile-responsive design will ensure that users can access your restaurant’s website without any UX degradation.
Keep in mind that more than 70% of adults own smartphones and an overwhelming majority of those users use phones to buy things online. This also includes ordering food. By persisting with a non-responsive design, you lose this significant chunk of the customer base right from the start. A person opening your non-responsive website on their device will take no time in closing it after realizing that the website is opening in its desktop-only version.
Various other statistical and factual points also suggest that you should ditch your non-responsive restaurant website for a responsive layout.
· More than half of the e-commerce activity is now carried out on phones.
· There are around 290 million smartphone users in the US.
· Google ranks mobile-responsive websites better than non-responsive websites.
· Non-responsive websites are slow to load that eventually leads to a higher customer churn.
2. A Website Using Flash Extension to Play Multimedia Content
Multimedia content has a key place on any restaurant’s website. If done right, it can play out very nicely in persuading users to place an order or visit your establishment. However, you need to factor in how you incorporate those appetizing food shots and animations in your website. If you are still using Adobe Flash extension to play the visual media on your restaurant’s website, we fear that you won’t get the resounding response you are looking for.
Experts have scrapped Flash as a viable backend option for the display of visual media on web platforms. The software significantly slows down the website. Moreover, it is prone to malware and other cybersecurity threats. Also, most users these days don’t have Flash players integrated into their browsers. This means they can’t see the multimedia content of your website anyway.
Also, Flash is not supported by Apple’s portable devices. So, all the users accessing your website on their iPads and iPhones can’t see your Flash-powered visual content either.
In short, Flash is a big no-no for a restaurant website that thrives on loads of multimedia content. With the HTML5 Canvas (the most popular Flash replacement) at your disposal, you can upgrade your website for fluid playback of animations and videos.
3. Absence of Online Payments
Providing multiple online payment options with security and agility is considered a basic ingredient for the digital success of any business, and restaurants are no exceptions. If you want to make sales and facilitate pre-bookings through your digital platforms (website, social media, food ordering app, etc), you have to put a system in place that can take care of the entire transaction— from initial customer query to payment.
Even if it is a carryout order or dine-in booking, you need to make sure that people can pay for them through their e-wallets and digital banking channels. Similarly, many customers don’t like the idea of paying delivery personnel in cash or on the POS machine. In short, customers expect restaurants to provide them a seamless digital environment where they can place an order and pay in one go.
Not having online payment options means losing a lot of potential sales. Restaurants that are still stuck with cash and card payments fail to impress a considerable number of Millennial and Generation Z customers that primarily operate on contactless online payments.
4. PDF Menus
At the onset, choosing the format of the digital menu doesn’t seem like a big deal. This is why many restaurants opt for PDFs because they are cheap to make and you can easily add all the details in this file format. But little do they know that a badly formatted menu can become a major obstacle for their digital success.
While devising and formatting menus for digital platforms, restaurant owners should consider user convenience rather than focusing on what suits them. For users, it is a lot of hassle to navigate through PDF menus. Many people don’t even bother to open a menu when they find out that it is in PDF.
Restaurants should furnish their digital menus in image file formats. This way, they won’t struggle to integrate their menus across different digital platforms. Also, imaged-based menus are easy to share and navigate.
It is worth mentioning here that non-PDF menus can also help with SEO. The details of meals and deals mentioned in the menu can help engine search crawlers to index the restaurant website for search queries with the right intent and context.
5. Lopsided Social Media Activity
For most restaurants, the term “social media” only means Instagram and Facebook. Even if they make their pages and accounts on other platforms, all their efforts for traction and engagement remain focused on those two. There is no doubt Instagram and Facebook can play an instrumental role in the success of a restaurant. However, a restaurant can’t get ultimate digital success by ignoring Twitter and YouTube.
Twitter has emerged as a platform to improve customer service and amplify the CSR efforts of a business. Restaurants that want to turn into brands should have active Twitter accounts where they must promptly reply to customer concerns and queries.
Similarly, YouTube is a place to carry out impactful branding through creative and engaging video content (food vlogs, eating challenges, kitchen tours, etc) and earn subscribers that can eventually become one of the most loyal customers.
To sum it up, a restaurant has to devise a holistic and wholesome social media activity that covers all bases. Without it, it will remain hard for a restaurant to reach the level of digital success it is striving for.
6. Lack of Mobile Ordering Solutions
Having a website and social media platforms only to receive orders through phone calls and inbox messages is not the wisest move. If you are on to making digital activity a large share of your sales, you have to introduce mobile food ordering solutions that enable customers to place their orders while bypassing person-to-person interaction. In other words, the easier the process to order and pay for the food, the more customers a restaurant will get.
For starters, make sure your website has an integrated food ordering web app. This way, a customer can navigate the menu, order the food, and pay the bill on the same tab. This seamless fast-track process makes for an improved customer experience.
Besides a food ordering web app, you should get a custom mobile app for your restaurant as well. A well-designed mobile app comes with great UI, push notifications, seamless payment processes, and many other customer-centric features.
A mobile app doesn’t just help a restaurant in getting more orders. With its intuitive functions (reminders, notifications, etc), it also helps in bolstering the brand recall value of the restaurant.
Whether you want to get a responsive design for your restaurant website or need customized food ordering solutions with seamless integration, get in touch with MenuCRM. The experts at MenuCRM can provide you with innovative mobile solutions for restaurants tailored to your business requirements and integrated with a well-thought-out digital strategy.
Contact MenuCRM today and get started right away.