New Year, New Restaurant Website

optimizing your website

Posted: Jan. 03, 2018

From the entire Lavu Blog team: We wish you a Happy New Year! 

Welcome to 2018, dear readers. Today, we focus on new year’s resolutions, the one we're suggesting for you is: optimizing your website to increase sales. It’s a new year, so how about a newly optimized website? In 2018, technology will continue to drive consumer behavior, which makes having an optimized website so important.

You might not be happy with your site now, but we’re here to tell you that you don’t need to redo your entire site. With the tips below, you can give your online calling card a facelift—and the tips are applicable to all dining establishments. So whether you manage an ice cream shop, pizza parlor, coffee house, brewery, bar, or traditional restaurant, check out the points below, schedule time to work on the content, and optimize your website for a successful 2018.

The Function of an Optimized Website

Do not underestimate the power of a well-designed and well-written website. If optimized, your website can persuade readers to visit your brick-and-mortar location and ignore the online siren calls from competitors.

To be a powerfully persuasive sales tool, an optimized website includes:

  • Reservation, online ordering, or delivery calls-to-action on every landing page
  • An easy-to-access menu
  • A strong “About Us” section
  • An up-to-date calendar of events

Read on for more details.

Add Calls-to-Action to Each Landing Page

If you accept reservations, online orders, or make deliveries, add a call-to-action to every landing page. Calls-to-action are commonly used by websites to encourage sales, and it’s highly effective for restaurants.

For the purposes of your website, calls-to-actions can look like buttons that say, “Reserve Your Table Now” or “Order Take-Out Here,” or they can also be a closing paragraph that includes your phone number. With more restaurant customers relying on the Web to make informed dining choices, these constant reminders serve to incentivize readers to act and visit your restaurant.

Easily Accessible Menu

Post your Menu tab at the top of the homepage, and include the full list of menu items. This might go without saying, but there are restaurant websites that do not provide a menu breakdown. It’s a baffling choice considering how tech-savvy modern diners are.

For today’s consumers, the menu is the make-or-break sales pitch. While Americans are becoming increasingly adventurous with their food choices, few people are willing to enter a restaurant blindly without seeing the menu first.

If you haven’t already, insert your menu.

It’s equally important to keep your menu up to date. Did you recently omit menu items? Or add new dishes? Update your menu to reflect these changes.

Lavu Pro Tip: Include the daily specials for bonus points.

Update How Your Menu Prices are Written

Prices: To include or to omit? Restaurants are playing with different ways of showing prices on their menus.

For fast-casual or casual restaurants, adding clearly printed prices is recommended. Your customer base doesn’t want to be surprised by the number printed on their bill.

If your target audience includes families, then omitting prices would deter parents from bringing their kids. Without prices, they cannot budget the meal accordingly, and will likely choose a restaurant they have visited before and know what to expect.

There is also the option for removing prices; a savvy yet risky business move. Usually, it’s a decision that restaurants with a famous reputation or celebrity chef can get away with it. The clientele must be comfortable paying an unknown amount of money. Posting a menu sans prices sends the message that if you need to ask, then you probably can’t afford it. Is this the message you want to send? If yes, then be bold and go for it.

You might have also seen menus that list prices but leave off the dollar sign. This highly effective menu psychology trick is popular among the new wave of restaurants, and we couldn’t recommend it enough.  Here’s why it’s so great: In other contexts of written language, the dollar sign serves to clarify the context of a number. On a menu, it’s fat that needs to be trimmed. The dollar sign is just a reminder that money will be spent.

By writing the number digit alone, guests know the cost, but don’t feel that twinge of anxiety for spending money. You might not believe in the power of a single-standing number digit, but many restaurants swear by it.

You Don’t Need Photos

Adding photos of your food isn’t necessary. With a clear description of the food, readers can make up their minds. Plus, most people are wise to the fact that food pictures are designed and not always true to reality.

Do add photos of your food if plating and presentation is a central element to your dining concept, but there’s no need to add photos for every dish.

A Strong “About Us” Section

In your “About Us” section, take this space as an opportunity to tell customers your story. Introduce yourself and your concept here, and don’t be shy. Be open and honest. Be funny and witty. Be fantastical and excited. Be dry and straight-forward. Be your restaurant. The personality imbued in this section will inform readers of the ambience and style of your dining establishment.

Additionally, a well-written “About Us” section must be authentic. For one example of authenticity, check the “About” tab from Terakawa Ramen in Philadelphia, PA. After presenting their cooking process and style of ramen in a precise manner, they close the section with, “It is the Chefs' intention for you to experience the passion and quality of ingredients that they have put into each bowl of ramen. Thank you for joining us!”

This sentence reads almost like a company mission statement: Not only are the chefs paying extraordinary attention to detail, only the best ingredients are used, and every dish is made with care. It wins over new customers, and helps them to endure the inevitable line at the door.

How does your “About Us” section come across? Does it give off an accurate picture of your brand? Is it inviting to new customers? Reread this page on your website and make revisions if your company biography is not sending the right message.

Lavu Pro Tip: Aim for brevity; long-winded descriptions tend to bore customers.

Up-to-Date Calendar of Events

Add a calendar of events to your website if you haven’t already, and routinely update it. If readers see that you are hosting a family-oriented event, have a live band playing, or a special happy hour coming up, they will be more likely to plan an evening at your restaurant. It’s a simple yet effective marketing resource to encourage new and repeat customers.

Update your website with these four tips and you are starting 2018 on the right foot! For more marketing tips, see how you can become a social-media pro.

Posted: Jan. 03, 2018 | Written By: Emma Alois

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