From mom-and-pop diners to celebrity chef-owned bistros, there may be no better example of a brick and mortar that needs a Web presence, than restaurants. Today's consumer demands access to hours, location, phone number, menu, prices and more - at the click of a mouse. Even more so, they are demanding this information from their mobile devices.
This is especially true when you take into account that 85 percent of consumers search online for local businesses (Local Consumer Review Survey 2012). Luckily, there are many restaurant-worthy development tools available.
Let'sEat is a website builder for restaurants and bars. It was built from the ground up specifically for restaurant owners. The interface is simple and clean and designed to be updatable on the fly.
Of the available features are: the ability to post menus online, generate printable online coupons, promote orders with a mobile site, Google Maps integration, photo gallery and more.
BistroSquare.com was founded in 2010 with the goal of making it easy for all restaurant owners to easily and efficiently build an affordable, modern website. Its team is made up of restaurant veterans and Web hosting experts to build the software, tools and infrastructure necessary to help restaurant owners build their website with no technical knowledge required.
The site offers three different plans for companies ($9.99, $19.99 and $29.99). All include a domain name, unlimited pages and email accounts, Web control panel and more.
Starting at $25 a month and ranging up to $99 a month, myRestaurantWeb offers a range of services for restaurant owners looking to create a Web presence. Some of its services even include full access to designers, writers, graphic artists and programmers, for companies seeking additional help. All memberships, however, include website manager, premium themes, domain names, social tools, unlimited Web pages, menus, online store, testimonials and more.
According to Yoast (2012), 22 of every 100 new domains created in the U.S. are running WordPress. While the site's attractiveness is multipronged, its versatility and ability to run on many operating systems are its biggest pluses. For restaurateurs, WordPress recently announced its Confit theme. And, smartly, the design began with the mobile experience.
"When looking at common restaurant site problems, one of the first issues that sprang to mind was how often broken animations, inaccessible information and bloated PDFs are foisted upon us when using our smartphones, when all we really need is a phone number and tappable address," wrote WordPress's Kevin Conboy.
Thus, the next couple areas WordPress focused on for this specific theme were mobile-accessible contact details and easy OpenTable reservations, both of which the company tackled by creating custom widgets. Additionally, in the name of food, the theme doesn't sacrifice gorgeous photography to show off a company's creations with this theme.
Regardless of tools used, it's imperative for every restaurant - of all sizes - to have a Web presence. But for businesses not ready to take the digital plunge, a Facebook fan page should be made, today. It should include hours, contact information, images, responsive customer support and more.
To learn how to maneuver participation on the social network, check out Website Magazine's Facebook Fan Page Fail Guide. Another valuable strategy for restaurant owners is the use of hyperlocal marketing strategies. For five of these strategies, check out Website Magazine's article on the topic, here.