The restaurant world remains closely tied to its past. Ancient cooking techniques like confit (to flavor/preserve food by submerging it in its own fat) and curing (to flavor/preserve food using salt, sugar and nitrates) remain as popular now as they were hundreds of years ago when they were used out of electricity-less necessity. This respect for chefs-gone-by doesn’t mean that you can’t embrace technology to drive business in your restaurant. Here are some top web-based tools that no restaurant should be without.
The absolute, no questions asked, undisputed leader in the online reservation space. While the pricing structure ($2.50/head) is borderline monopolistic, Open Table is an invaluable tool revered by restaurant-goers everywhere. People simply don’t want to pick up the phone any more to make reservations. With easy online access and a mobile app, your potential guests can make reservations in under a minute. Regulars are rewarded with good-as-cash OpenTable dollars, while diners that don’t show up for their reservation are docked bonus points.
It is no secret that we live in a social media driven world. Three of 2012’s top 10 most visited websites are social media platforms. Make the most of these technologies, and make the most of your restaurant. While the possibilities are damn near endless, start with these quick tips within 6 top social media sites.
Facebook: Engage customers by asking questions and getting feedback on new menu items or promotions.
FourSquare: Offer something special for guests who ‘check-in’ at your restaurant like a complimentary dessert or ½ priced glass of wine.
Instagram: Post photographs with captions of daily specials.
Twitter: Use a Twitter client to monitor conversation–both good and bad–about your restaurant.
YouTube: Feature charismatic employees in brief promotional videos. No need for high production value, particularly if the videos are funny!
Pinterest: Show off your best blog/website photos and you’ll have 12 million Pinterest users a click away from reservations.
The most celebrated restaurants in the world change their menu EVERYday. While your restaurant may be a little less whimsical, chances are you make at least a few menu changes a year. Keeping your menu up-to-date on the vast number of popular restaurant sites and mobile apps (think Urban Spoon, Yellow Pages, Trip Advisor, et cetera) can be quite the challenge for busy jack-of-all-trades managers. Enter SinglePlatform for restaurants–a one-stop shop that publishes your menu on hundreds of top sites. Keeping your web presence current has never been more important.
The classic adage is 90% of all restaurants fail. Sure, it starts with the food. If you cook it, the people will come. Well, kind of. Don’t leave it to chance, be a smart and proactive restaurateur, and embrace these online tools today!