With the advent of social media and popularization of takeout and delivery tools, there has been a significant shift in the way restaurants interact with their customers online. With so much information readily available on the internet, customers have come to expect a clean, user-friendly and up-to-date website. In fact, 89% of diners research restaurants online before visiting in person.
What’s more, if the information on your website is out of date or incomplete, your website might not even show up when the user is searching for food in their area or a specific type of cuisine. That’s because the information on your website helps Google find your business and show it to your customers. But if Google can’t find your site or doesn’t understand what you offer, it won’t be able to serve it up to customers who might be interested in visiting.
So it’s important to think of your website as a continuation of your customer service. You want the user experience to be excellent right from the start or they might assume your in-person service leaves something to be desired as well.
According to Bentobox, an online platform for restaurant websites, the average restaurant updates their menu 12 times a month. While your site might not require that many updates, it is something that should be looked at regularly. The same Bentobox analysis found the following pages to be the most visited on restaurant websites. Not surprisingly, these pages contain information that changes frequently and therefore requires regular updates.
Here are the top five things to update on your restaurant’s website.
- Your menu
According to a 2013 study, 80% of guests want to see the menu before eating at a restaurant. It’s not only the most-visited website page for restaurants, but often a deciding factor for guests, so it’s vital that this page is accurate. Your buffalo chicken salad might be the reason someone decides to visit (or even found your site to begin with). If you no longer serve it, they’re going to feel disappointed the second they sit down and open the menu. So make sure this page is up to date.
- Location and hours
This one should be pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many restaurants get this one wrong. Make sure guests know where to find your restaurant by listing the addresses of all locations on your site. You also need to publish accurate business hours because nothing is more disappointing than showing up for some grub and finding the doors closed. While you’re updating your website, make sure you have a Google My Business account set up as well, which is becoming a must-have for restaurants and bars.
- Events and specials
What’s one of the best ways to attract new customers? Hosting events and offering specials. Everyone loves a good deal or reason to celebrate, so make sure to post about any holiday events, customer appreciation events, seasonal menu items or promotions like Wine Wednesday on this page.
- Reservations and online ordering
If you offer reservations or online ordering, that information should not only be up to date, but easy to find. In recent years, online ordering is a trend that’s skyrocketing, with 60% of diners ordering takeout at least once a week. While you have the option of using sites like Grubhub or OpenTable to manage reservations and online ordering, it’s a better user experience (and more profitable for you) to handle it in-house.
- Contact info
Even if you have the world’s most informative website, customers will still have questions. So make sure you have a contact page that includes your correct phone number, a contact form and links to your social media accounts. And be sure to check all of those places for customer questions and feedback. It’s important to be proactive here so customers don’t feel frustrated by a lack of response and take out their frustrations publicly on Yelp or social media.