5 Things to Have Before Launching a Restaurant’s Online Presence
October 10, 2022
Learn how to set up your restaurant’s website and online ordering for maximum visibility and diner loyalty from day one.
Building a restaurant's online presence involves the same attention to detail as creating a restaurant's physical space: vision, aesthetic, branding, flow and operational functionality. Before a restaurant opens to the public, several behind-the-scenes requirements are needed to run operations successfully and provide hospitality. Permits, tax IDs, payroll, insurance and utilities are a few of the not-so-flashy things restaurant operators need to have to run a business.
Before 2020, a restaurant could get away with a limited digital presence. But now, a restaurant's online presence is considered one of the more essential factors to a restaurant's success, right next to the concept, food, staff and storefront. It is the mirror image of a restaurant – digital hospitality.
These are five prerequisites to have before launching or revamping a restaurant's online presence.
12 Essential Elements of a Restaurant Website
Make your digital front of house as successful as your traditional one.
1. Google My Business
Google My Business is a free service that helps businesses manage their online presence across Google's products and platforms. Setting up a Google My Business profile creates a snapshot of your restaurant that appears in search results. Owning your Google My Business profile lets you control how your restaurant appears across Google platforms.
As a result, you can keep critical information that guests might be searching for online — like menus, hours, contact info, online ordering and photos — up-to-date. However, it is worth noting that online visitors can create a profile for a business through suggestions. Therefore, a restaurant must claim the profile to update information accurately.
2. Google Analytics
Google Analytics helps you better understand your guests and how they use your restaurant website and ultimately improve their entire experience. First, make sure you have a Google Analytics account set up and that it's appropriately tracking your website.
If you are a BentoBox customer, we make it easy to get set up through our pre-built Google Analytics integration. However, many step-by-step resources can help you get everything in order if you're on your own. Once set up, you can monitor how diners visit your website, referral traffic, time of day and demographics.
3. Social Media Integration
Having a social media presence is just as important as having a website. Though the two are independent of each other, the two should complement each other and drive visitor traffic between one another. The benefits of integrating social media and websites do more than heighten traffic engagement between platforms.
A website with a social media integration whose feed populates automatically on the site keeps the appearance up to date, seamlessly promotes marketing initiatives and improves site visitor engagement. Social media with a website integration turns organic traffic into new diners, directing visitors to explore the website, make reservations or drive revenue (online ordering, catering, merchandise store, gift cards and events).
BentoBox customers can easily integrate social media channels onto their websites. Additionally, BentoBox customers can connect their online ordering or pre-order & catering storefront to their Facebook and Instagram business pages. This connection allows restaurants to place a dedicated "Order Food" button on their Facebook and Instagram business pages.
4. Email Sign-Up
Email is one of the most effective ways to communicate with diners and loyal followers; it's fast, easy and inexpensive. First, you have to give people a place to sign up for an email list, which you can do directly on your website. If you're a new restaurant or an established restaurant revising your online presence, don't feel pressured to kick things off with a newsletter immediately. Take the time, but don't miss the opportunity to start collecting emails immediately.
BentoBox customers can easily collect emails on their websites and have the contact information stored and organized in their BentoBox back end. Additionally, customers can integrate their website with a third-party newsletter and sync contact information directly.
5. Marketing Tools
Online ordering has become a critical part of a restaurant's daily operations and revenue driver. Having a way for diners to order online is step one; establishing a relationship and turning one-time diners into loyal diners is step two.
BentoBox customers have the tools built into their online ordering platform to extend digital hospitality and foster a relationship that encourages guests to return. These tools and features include promo codes, automated campaigns and a loyalty program. With built-in marketing tools enabled, restaurants can foster stronger relationships digitally, drive higher revenue and establish brand cohesion.
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