Social Media and the Independent Restaurant
2. For a small restaurant with a tight budget, what are some website essentials that are either missed or not used to their full potential?
Jonny: Free Tools & Resources that Every Restaurant Website Should Have
There are a lot of great tools and resources out there, but there are the critical ones that every restaurant website should include.
Website Essentials: You shouldn’t expect your restaurant website to be a common hangout for web users. The truth is that users have specific goals when going to a restaurant website and in my experience the top three things people are looking for are: 1. Menu options (and price) 2. Location 3. Pictures
Every restaurant website should make sure they have the accounted for the following:
Home page – this is a no brainer but it’s important to point out that this page must be properly setup. Ensure the following:
About page – this page will act as a continuation of your 30 second elevator pitch on the home page. Great for search engines and also a way to highlight the deeper details behind the restaurant.
Fresh content – while the restaurant website is still not a very appealing place for users to hangout, adding fresh content to your site will greatly improve your standing in search engines, which will add to exposure. A great way of doing this is by either adding a blog or News & Events section.
NOTE: Do yourself a favor and do not add music to your website. Usability studies continue to show that this is one of the most disliked features a website can have. If you have music, you can be assured that users will leave quickly or not return again.
3. Are there any particular social media platforms that could be useful in the restaurant industry that haven’t necessarily been marketed to that niche?
Jonny: (Not positive if this has been marketed much yet) There are so many great social media platforms and tools out there but one tool that I keep hearing more about in the restaurant industry is Guest Pulse (http://guestpulse.com/). Guest Pulse is a tool specifically for restaurant owners and managers for tracking reputation around the web and within social channels. It particularly does a good job of monitoring reviews from critics and user review sites.
Tyler: That completely depends on context. But I guess if you want a short answer: no. As with any client, I would advise to think strategy first, tactics second. This means define your goals – preferably holistic goals based on valid, reliable data, not information that comes from silos like just the Marketing department or the CEO’s gut intuition. Then get the smartest people in the room together to define the best strategy to meet those goals. Don’t make 5-year plans, or even 1-year plans, they’re worthless. Just define what needs to be solved now. Try something, then adapt & iterate again. Then ask for feedback from everybody – not just the whiz kids – on what you might not be seeing; that’s crucial, get as many outside ideals as possible. Always heed outside counsel, that’s often where the best ideas come from. Just ask Google or 37signals.