2013 has been a very tough year for restaurant owners around the world. Many restaurants we’ve visited in the United States, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan and elsewhere have all struggled with rising costs, increasingly fickle customers, employee turnover and limited or non-existent profitability. But all is not lost. Many restaurants are surviving and even thriving. Here is what we see as being some of the ways that are becoming increasingly popular in 2014 for restaurants to find more customers and turn them into repeat customers.
Go mobile already!
Michael Sohn / AP
This photo is people in St Peters Square in Rome for the inauguration of St Francis as the new Pope. The sea of mobile devices show how they have changed our lives.
We did a study earlier in the year, which showed that mobile devices made up around 29% of visitors to restaurant websites. That number has continued to increase over the year and for some restaurants, over half of the visitors to their website are now on a mobile device. We are talking of thousands of people every month going to the website from a mobile phone or small tablet. Most of the restaurants coming to us even still have not got a mobile optimized website. Remember – these are people out and about looking for somewhere to eat – the prime market for most restaurants and if you don’t make it easy for them to find you, see if you are open and what is on the menu, they will go to another restaurant! It is quick and simple, all new websites that restaurants get should be optimized out of the box. Some restaurants are getting separate mobile only websites, but this just compounds the difficulty for the restaurant owner as they now have two websites that they need to maintain, keep the menu up to date and create new content for. One website for both mobile and desktops is the rule.
Is Poor SEO Killing Your Restaurant?
Too many times we see customers with websites that are costing restaurants thousands of dollars every month through poor design, poor messaging and poor SEO. If your website could be improved to bring in 200 extra visits per month and just 10% of those made a booking, and each booking was for 2.5 seats on average at $50 a seat, you would have an extra $2,500 in revenue a month. A 30% food cost, that is $1,750 in profit extra a month. This ignores those customers coming back as regulars – which is more profit.
Remember, if these customers aren’t finding your Restaurant, they are finding your competitors.
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