Restaurant chains are spending millions of dollars in 2016 trying to differentiate themselves from competitors that includes other chain corporations and independent restaurants. The development of apps on mobile has changed the dynamic of ordering and reserving at a restaurant, which has changed the overall experience of the customer.
According the Fox News, “A new study conducted by Aaron Allen & Associates, independent pizzerias have lost 21% of their market share to pizza chains. In the past decade, about 7,800 independent pizzeria have closed, with over 2,500 folding last year.”
The big reason why the pizzeria closed was because they fail to adapt to technology change and did not switch their marketing strategy. Keep in mind, small restaurant do not have the resources to create the mobile friendly experiences other can, however they do have the flexibility to be creative to attract customers. This guide will explain four important tools that will help your independent restaurant stay competitive with chain restaurants with minimal cost.
One of the most important tools every business needs is a website to showcase everything a business has to offer, as well make it easier for your customers to find your restaurant. However, the website has to be functional for the customer to interact with no problems both on a computer and mobile. A responsive website is a great tool to increase your google rank because a website allows you to link your social media pages, contact information, online reviews, and photos. With online ordering becoming popular among mobile users having an online menu becomes important to attract new customers. Showcasing online menus in your website is a no brainer, but restaurants can take a further step and sign-up at allmenus, locu or openmenu to display and potentially deliver orders.
Google Virtual 360 Tour
Google is the most popular search engine on the internet because of the simplicity of navigating and searching. Google even went far enough to develop a page for business to display all of their information and made it easier to present that information on the google results page. For example a potential new customer searches for a specific restaurant, a square to the right of the results will display all of the information, as well as pictures. Yet, most restaurants have failed to include a Google virtual 360 tour to their business because they do not see the point of having one. A virtual tour allows for potential customers to view the inside of the restaurant making it enticing to visit in the near future just by looking at is on their mobile phone or computer.
If your restaurant doesn’t have social media profiles it means you have been hiding under a rock or your restaurant is out of business. Nowadays, having social media profiles is not enough to attract new customers into your restaurant. With online marketing transitioning from word format to picture displaying, restaurants have a big advantage from chains because restaurants can get creative on showing food on the different platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Social media is the best for marketing your restaurant without spending any money, and even hiring a part time intern to update the page’s weekly.
The last tools takes a bit of effort from both the restaurant and the customer to review and monitor those review on websites like yelp. Having a positive reputation online can go a long way in attracting new customers into your restaurant, that can mean from positive customer experience to apologizing to customers with a negative experience. Yelp is usually the first site new customers go to read experiences, so make sure to add as many details as possible, and make it work for your restaurant. Without monitoring your online reputation can really hurt your restaurant because other potential clients are reading the negative reviews, thus choosing a competitor for the simple fact that you didn’t take time to response to the customers.