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How a restaurant can grow online

Published by on November 9, 2015

Looking to grow your restaurant business online? We have a few ideas to get you started !

Invest in a DSLR camera so you can take high quality photographs of the food you serve for your restaurant’s website and social media pages.

1. Improve product photography

Today many diners will view a restaurant’s website or social media pages before they reserve a table. Not only do they expect to see a menu on a restaurants website but also quality photographs of the food they serve. Impress potential diners by taking high quality photographs of some of your most popular dishes.

If you really want to make your restaurant stand out amongst your local competitors, we highly recommend investing in a good quality digital SLR camera – the Canon 650d would be perfect! SLR cameras have manual settings that can be configured so you can get the perfect shot. You can also buy different lenses for them, such as a macro lens, which will allow you to get clear and precise up-close shots of the dishes you serve.

2. Use Instagram

If you regularly observe the diners in your restaurant, it is likely that you will catch them snapping photos of their meal on their smartphones before they start eating. It is likely that these photos end up on Instagram – a hub for food photography! Follow the lead of your customers and create your own Instagram account where you can share photographs of the food your serve. Use local hash tags (such as town and county names) as a way to target a local audience.

You may also want to consider creating your own restaurant hash tag so that diners can use it when sharing their food photographs, thus increasing customer engagement and helping to promote your restaurant to a wider audience.

3. Invest in a fully responsive website

Mobile traffic is on the rise so if you want to stand the best chance at getting local customers into your restaurant, a fully responsive website is a must! Many diners like to check out restaurant menus and reviews beforehand and also search for restaurant contact numbers on their smartphones, so it makes sense to have a website that is capable of accommodating different screen resolutions and devices.

If you have the money, you could even consider creating an app for your restaurant, which customers can use in the restaurant to view the menu or settle their bills. Thanks to ever-advancing technology, the possibilities are endless!

4. Start tweeting

If you haven’t already, create a Twitter account for your restaurant and start tweeting pictures of your busy restaurant and the food you serve. Follow local people every day and always re-tweet and respond to customers that interact with you. Use local hash tags to market your restaurant to your target audience.

5. Facebook ads

As well as having a Facebook business page for your restaurant, we highly recommend setting up Facebook ad campaigns. These are great for targeting a niche audience in your local area. Use them to build up a Facebook following and direct traffic to your responsive restaurant website.

6. Book a table online

People lead busy lives and often find it much more convenient and less time consuming to book a table online than to phone up and make a reservation. Set up a system on your responsive website that allows people to make a booking online. You could even take it a step further and allow them to reserve or pre-order food. This will not only please the customers but also help to increase the efficiency of your kitchen operations!

7. Invest in professional branding

The best way to make your restaurant stand out amongst local competitors is to invest in quality branding. Make sure that your logo and marketing materials look as stunning as the food you serve. If your logo looks unprofessional and untidy, it will suggest that your food and service is the same. Always make sure that your logo and branding reflects the quality of your restaurant and makes a good first impression on diners.

8. Start a recipe blog

Blogging is a great way to engage with customers and increase your website’s ranking in local searches. Why not share a few recipes that your diners can try out at home? Of course, you won’t want to share all of your cooking secrets, but creating recipes will be a great way of giving something back to your customers, whilst also presenting yourself as an industry expert (something that will have you crawling up the search results pages in no time.)

Create content that your customers will find useful, such as wine recommendations.

9. Create specialist content

As well as sharing recipes on your blog and social media pages, we highly recommend creating specialist content that strengthens your reputation as an expert. For example, if you run an Italian restaurant, you may want to consider sharing information on the types of tomatoes you use in your pasta sauce or recommendations on which Italian wines go best with dishes on your menu. Customers love this type of content!

TripAdvisor-awards-Certificate-of-Excellence-2015-to-40000-UK-hospitality-businesses

10. Make the most of Trip advisor – Reward loyal customers

Show loyal diners that you value their custom by rewarding them with offers and discounts. Find them on Facebook and set up advertising campaigns to ensure they are targeted with your offers. You may also want to consider sending out email newsletters featuring money off vouchers and running competitions to win meals at your restaurant. Add a trip advisor logo in your windows and menus to make people aware. Provide discounts for good social media reviews and photography. Perhaps review your competitions Trip advisor profiles.

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11. Google Adwords

Increase your visibility online by setting up Google Adwords campaigns for your restaurant. The great thing about Google Adwords is that it allows you to target niche audiences in specific areas. For example, if you run an Italian restaurant in Lancashire, you may want to consider targeting phrases like ‘Italian restaurant Preston’ that feature what your business is and where you are based. If you would like more information about Google Adwords or need help setting up a campaign, get in touch with one of our Google Adwords professionals.

Today there are so many different opportunities for restaurateurs to grow their businesses online. If you need a helping hand building a responsive website for your restaurant or setting up online marketing campaigns, get in touch with Online Media Direct today.

Image credits: Chau_Doan and Dave Dugdale

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