Today, the online visibility of restaurants has a decisive influence on how many guests come by. Because restaurants are a local offer that you have to promote on Google. This also applies to orders and meal pick-up.
Anyone who runs a restaurant benefits from investing in online marketing. Find out how it works here.
1. Make your website fast
Since mid-2021, the Core Web Vitals are important quality signals for the Google search engine. They reflect the user experience on a website and provide valuable information for website operators.
They can use it to rate and evaluate the user experience of their website. In particular, it is about the loading speed, the interactivity and the visual stability of a page.
Pages with good Core Web Vitals values perform significantly better in Google search than pages with poorer values. This is shown in an evaluation by Sistrix. So, if you want your restaurant website to appear at the top of Google's organic search results, you have to make sure it meets these criteria.
A good example of a performant and interactive website is L'Osteria:
(Everything in the green: L'Osteria scores well in the Core Web Vitals).
There are several tools that can be used to measure the Core Web Vitals of your own site:
- Search Console,
- PageSpeed Insights,
- Chrome DevTools,
- Web Vitals Extension for Chrome Browser
2. Actively use Google My Business
One of the most important steps for restaurants to increase their online visibility is to register with Google My Business. The Google My Business listing provides you with something of free storefront.
The decisive factor is always the search with a local reference. If you enter a search term like "restaurant nearby" on Google, you will get hits from the city or region. If you are registered with Google My Business, you have a significantly higher probability of being listed here.
As usual with Google services, this is free of charge. So there is no reason to do without it. These are the decisive advantages of a Google My Business entry for the online visibility of restaurants:
• No costs
• Supplement or alternative to the website
• Information visible to all
• Upload images to menus and actions
3. The blue button for more online visibility
While we're on the subject of Google: Alphabet offers another interesting way to increase the visibility of your restaurant for online users. We are talking about the "blue button" for a reservations. "Reserve with Google" is a convenient way to attract attention in Google Search, Google Maps and other services.
By clicking on "Reserve a table", users can book a table in your restaurant with just a few clicks. The best thing about it: The button appears right next to the Google search results. It's impossible to miss it. And with the right reservation system, availability in your restaurant is synchronised with Google in real time.
4. Include social media in your marketing strategy
What do you do with the potential visitors who don't use Google or hardly use it? You can often reach them anyway, via social media. So invest in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
It is important that you know your target group and where they are. If you are targeting very young guests and buyers, you should use Instagram and Tiktok as channels. Ideally, you should be present on all of them.
What does the content involve? You can present shots of dishes and richly laid tables in photo series. Or provide a video tour of your restaurant. Post what fits the style of your restaurant and feels authentic to you.
The content should whet the appetite just by looking at it. Also pay attention to the popular hashtags. These include #happyhour or #foodie.
5. Make your menu accessible
Online, a restaurant's menu really shouldn't be a secret. Show your potential guests what they can expect from the culinary side of your restaurant. One of the advantages of online marketing is that you can tailor promotional activities much more precisely to a target group. The menu plays a crucial role here.
Creating a menu once is not enough. Regular updates are necessary. This is especially true if your menus change frequently. Google should always have an up-to-date link to the menu.
Basically, the menu is especially important for restaurants that serve many pick-up customers. They want to be able to quickly find all the dishes on offer.
Having a menu easily accessible on your website is also important for people with allergies or dietary restrictions. Being able to check a menu online before hand can mean the difference between someone who is gluten-free or vegan coming to your restaurant or picking another place for dinner where they know they'll find options.
6. Update opening hours
Unfortunately, this still happens everyday: Restaurants that give incorrect opening hours on the internet. These are often old details that no one has updated. For visitors, there is hardly anything more frustrating than calling or dropping by a restaurant and no one is there. This does not have to be the case, especially because updating the opening hours can be done with just a few clicks and entries.
If there are different opening hours on a public holiday, this must be noted online. In any case, a quick look at Google should suffice to be informed of any changes. By the way, this can also be completely automated.
The aleno reservation system offers integration with Google My Business. Opening hours from the guest management system are updated directly with your business profile.
7. Promote sales
Do you have special promotions running in your restaurant? These could be seasonal menus or menus based on sporting or other events. Or do you have a special menu for lunch? Your potential guests should be able to find all this out online with little effort.
You should not only promote special offers on site. Present them online with appropriate entries, photos and other content. Show the public what you have to offer.
This is one of the effective ways to set yourself apart from the competition. What good is the most beautiful and elaborate New Year's Eve menu if no one knows about it?
A little tip: Google My Business offers you a special function for advertising promotions and offers. These always last one week.
8. Shine with positive reviews
Positive reviews are important because they offer orientation to prospective customers. After all, we also ask others privately if they can recommend a good restaurant. This raises the question of how you can most easily get hold of these positive reviews.
In fact, an effective approach is to simply ask your clients to do so. For example, you can ask by email or text message. You can leave a post asking for a review on social media.
Other possibilities are to print the request on the receipt of your visitors. Or you can place a QR code on all tables that leads your guests directly to the rating portals on the internet.
9. Use networks
There are many offers out there that can be used to increase the reach of your restaurant. The following are particularly important for you:
- Restaurant Booking and Review Platforms
- Yellow Pages
However, it takes a lot of effort to register everywhere and to be present with up-to-date information. Partner networks help you to reduce the workload significantly.
One of the key advantages is the automation of the entries for your restaurant profile. You enter the required data only once, and updates are often made in over 100 listings that are part of the network. Partner networks are therefore a booster for the online visibility of your restaurant.
Many partner networks offer real-time synchronisation to keep all registered data up-to-date at all times. This would not be possible with a manual approach. In addition, your data is consistent across all offers.