Why Your Restaurant Actually Needs a Website

restaurant website design

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While on a trip recently, I was using my phone to try to find menus of some of the restaurants I saw in town. This happened to be a small coastal town but known for tourism, so there were plenty of restaurants to choose from. Several of the ones I looked up did not have an actual website of their own. While I was able to find reviews on Urban Spoon of one I thought looked good, there was no menu listed. Needing to make a decision, I ended up choosing a different place that did have a site and a menu available online (that was also mobile friendly). I wonder how many times this scenario plays out for people, who like me, are wanting to know a little bit more about a place than just reviews before checking it out?

#1 Don’t confuse review sites with a web presence.

Many a restaurant owner has lamented the lack of control they have over review sites such as Yelp and Urban Spoon. And still more think there’s nothing they can do about it. Of course paying attention to and responding to dissatisfied reviewers on sites like that is paramount, but ensuring that your information is up to date (hours, location, etc.) and providing a link to your actual website is also key. Many restaurant owners are busy and don’t have the time to make sure that every review site out there has their latest menu, photos of their dishes, or photos of their location. So that’s where your actual restaurant website comes into play.

#2 Don’t rely only on social media to act as your web presence.

If you’re going to get on social media, by all means, pay attention to it. Just because you created a business Facebook page with your location, hours, a few pictures, and pop by to post a special now and then, it’s not the same as having your own website that you control 100% of the time. Much like a negative review on Yelp, customers can leave negative reviews on your Facebook page. If no one is checking that page regularly or responding to messages/posts on your timeline, it doesn’t give the greatest impression of your restaurant. Facebook listings have a way of making it high up into Google on occasion as well and you wouldn’t want someone to stumble on the Facebook page that you last updated in November of 2012 to really find out about your restaurant. Lastly, sites like Facebook and Twitter frequently change their features, terms of service, and even appearance. So that’s another thing you’ll have to keep up with. Remember, these are free services and you get what you pay for.

#3 Do yourself a favor and hire a professional to create your website.

Yes, there’s lots of enticing marketing and commercials out there these days for do-it-yourself website builders that can create an amazing site for you, for free, in just a few clicks. But in reality, you may find it’s more time consuming and costly than you thought (if you’re interested, I’ve written some more about that here). Remember, you’re busy running your restaurant and that’s what you’re good at. Why not focus on what you do best and hire a professional web developer who will do what they do best for you?

Total control, all of the time.

That is the beauty of having a website at www.yourrestaurant.com. No one is leaving reviews that you have to constantly look out for, a third party service is not changing the “rules” on you or how your “page” looks, and you’re not having to log in all the time to make updates on your own. You have total control over the appearance of your site, the content on the site (including hours, directions, and menus), the photos you choose to display, and whether or not your site is mobile friendly when you choose to hire a professional to create a custom website just for you. And while there are content management systems available that will allow you to edit content when you need to, you can always just have your web developer make the change while you do what you do best … run your restaurant.

If you need a custom, professional website for your restaurant business, contact us below for a free estimate and consultation.

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