The following websites are not listed in any particular order. These websites can help you add value to your marketing plan by giving you the opportunity to connect with your customers. Connecting with your customers builds longer and stronger relationships, which can lead to increased revenue down the line.
Make your presence known on social media. Start by creating a business page for your restaurant. They are easy to set up and offer great value to your customers as all of your information from your address to your phone number are easily accessible in one place. Don’t make your prospective customers search too hard, you might lose them. You should be using Facebook adamantly. Whether that be to posting updates about your menu, behind the scenes videos about your restaurant, showcasing an employee of the month or week, or even just providing content that might be relevant to your customers.
Use Facebook as if it were an extension of your restaurant. That includes responding to reviews. If they are positive, show appreciation towards those who took the time to leave you a review. If the reviews are negative, reply in a timely manner and offer a solution to the issue. Maybe that means offering to send them a gift card or asking them to come in to speak with you or to give you a phone call to discuss the matter further. Whatever it may be, invest the time in responding to ALL reviews. Your customers and potential customers will take notice and appreciate you for it.
2. Google My Business
How often do you search for “best chinese food near me”? Or how about “best ice cream in my town?” Google is a powerhouse when it comes to searching for new restaurants or finding old favorites. According to Smith, “Google is the number one site in global internet traffic and engagement with approximately 183 million monthly unique visitors and 5.6 billion searches made per day.” Basically, listing your business through Google My Business should be a common sense practice. Plus, it’s free. Once you register your business the likelihood of your restaurant appearing in relevant search results is now much higher than if you hadn’t registered.
The number and quality of reviews influences your ranking and ability to appear. So make sure to consistently monitor your customer feedback and ensure that you are reaching out to those that left your establishment unsatisfied. Maybe to increase customer feedback or traffic, offer a discount on their next purchase if they leave a review. Many restaurants such as Chick-fil-A and Moe’s Southwest Grill offer discounts or rewards on their receipts that you are able to claim once you leave a review.
There are over one million restaurant reviews listed on Yelp. So even though it isn’t used primarily for restaurants, you are still able to find and connect with customers. According to Shuda, “...about 20% of the reviews on Yelp are about dining establishments. This makes restaurants the number two rated category behind shopping.” Meaning, you should take advantage of Yelp’s review service. It is still just as valuable. Yelp allows you to either publicly or privately respond to reviews. Which, according to Smith, “...helps you build customer loyalty among current customers, while also appealing to those searching for something new.” Using this website signifies to your customers that you are truly invested in your restaurant because of the level of engagement that Yelp offers.
TripAdvisor is known as the travel extraordinaire website. However, it is also a well renowned restaurant review website. TripAdvisor collects reviews from travelers all around the world. Creating a page on TripAdvisor allows you to take ownership of your business. Similarly to Facebook, you can customize your page to include images of your business, details regarding your business, respond to reviews and much more.5. Zomato
“Zomato ranks #1,066 in global internet engagement, pulling in nearly 1.5 million unique visitors every month” (Smith). What does this mean for your business? Well, if just 1% of those monthly visitors were to stumble across your restaurant’s page, that’s 150,000 page views. If 1% of those individuals were to actually visit your website? That’s 15,000 website views. And finally, if 1% of those who visited your website decided to give your restaurant a try? That’s 1,500 new customers. In just one month. That equates to 18,000 new customers a year! Think about how this will impact your bottom line. Zomato serves as one of the leading sites for local restaurant and bar information. It pulls reviews from all over the internet -- food critic reviews, food bloggers and of course, your customers. Monitoring where your business compares to those in your community can pay off, as we figured out above.
OpenTable is similar to those that we have covered so far. Customers can use this platform to read reviews about restaurants. However, the main difference is that customers are able to reserve dining through this platform and are sent an email following their dining experience to leave a review. OpenTable also offers dining rewards based on how often they reserve and dine out. Even though it sounds like this website is more customer driven, you can still make a huge impact on your restaurant if you choose to monitor this website and include it in your marketing efforts.
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Smith, Dew. “The 10 Top Restaurant Review Sites in 2019.” Lightspeed HQ, 9 Oct. 2019, www.lightspeedhq.com/blog/restaurant-review-sites/.
Shuda, Dayne. “Find Out What Your Patrons Think - 7 Restaurant Review Sites Owners Can Monitor.” Restaurant Engine, Restaurant Engine, 17 Sept. 2019, restaurantengine.com/restaurant-review-sites/.