Over the course of the past year, we have seen the restaurant industry rebounding. A major rebound was inevitable considering the losses during the pandemic. Nonetheless, things have not quite gone back to normal. People are not visiting restaurants quite as they did before the pandemic, and competition is tough. How do you make your restaurant thrive in these competitive times?
Part of the answer lies in creating an impressive website with an online food ordering system along with other features. It is easier than ever to do so, with website builders like Wix offering these tools when you start your business journey by creating your own website for your restaurant. There are tons of customizable design themes and templates for restaurant owners to choose from, so you can make a unique website that will make your business stand out from other competing restaurants.
Let’s get into some of the ways to make your restaurant thrive in these competitive times.
Build an online presence
Creating a website for your restaurant is about more than providing functionality to customers. It is a major step in building an online presence. In today’s world, a strong online presence is critical to survival in the restaurant industry. People look online before choosing a restaurant to go to, and if your restaurant is hard to find or has an uninspiring presence, patrons will go somewhere else.
Your website needs an online ordering portal and can benefit from a bookings system as well. However, the most important function is that it connects you to customers. Whether it be to help them navigate your site, or if they need a platform through which to ask questions, your site needs to serve as a solution for their needs. You also have the chance to present your restaurant in its best light, with your story, menu, and what sets you apart.
It is also crucial that you can interact with your customers, which is why you need a strong presence on social media. Your Facebook and Instagram accounts give you the opportunity to present your food at its finest while making it easy for customers to interact with you. They can send you messages if they have questions with absolutely no pressure – which is far better than calling a noisy restaurant and trying to understand the person on the other end of the line.
A strong online presence is a good start, but you may need to do more to be competitive. After all, restaurants all over are building great websites and hiring social media teams.
There were success stories for some restaurants during the pandemic. These restaurants realized that they would not survive if they carried on as they had before. They started offering other services. These services include initiatives like selling frozen meals, creating gourmet meal kits, and catering private events.
Your restaurant is going to be much more competitive if you offer a range of services. Diversifying is the most surefire way of increasing business in today’s world. By doing so, you have more streams of income and can adapt if things do not go your way in one respect.
These extra services need to be well thought out and expertly executed. It will only damage your reputation if you make a half-hearted effort, as people who are unhappy with the service will stop eating at your restaurant as well. It is not hard to provide good service to customers, but it can be if you don’t put the right resources towards it, including making sure you have enough staff to take on the extra workload.
Create a community
There will be some patrons who return over and over again. These patrons can form the basis of a community that draws even more members. People enjoy finding restaurants that are beloved by a committed group of people. It shows that you are doing something right and that any inevitable blips are just that.
To create a community, get your patrons’ contact details. Send newsletters once a week that actually provide value, with discounts and specials, as well as interesting news articles your patrons might enjoy. Ask for engagement on social media posts, and listen to people who have complaints or suggestions. The most unhappy customers can turn into your biggest supporters if you give them empathetic and attentive service.
You want to build as big a customer base as possible, but remember not to alienate your community in order to do so. Sometimes, you can let opportunities to attract big numbers of one-time visitors go by if it will disadvantage your loyal supporters.
Running a restaurant today is a different story than before the pandemic. People interact differently with restaurants, and the industry has become increasingly competitive. You need to go beyond to thrive, including building a strong online presence and providing truly valuable service to your patrons.
Photo by Valeria Boltneva