There are several essential features your restaurant needs to have in order for you to build your brand’s reputation and boost sales.

Create Your Own Website

Yelp and Seamless listings are both essential, but you also need a website that gives you full control of your content. Somewhere you can send people who respond to your advertising. Setting up your site is easy, and you don’t need a lot of technical skill. Try one of these website creation portals:

  • 1&1
  • Weebly

Produce an online menu that’s sleek and functional

Think about the things you do when you’re searching online for a new restaurant to try out. You look for the menu to see what sort of food is on offer (and at what price). So make sure your online menu sells your restaurant in the most alluring way. It needs to look good and tantalize tastebuds. And above all, it needs to be easy for people to find, so make sure it stands out on the web page.

Focus On Your Restaurant’s Target Market

Not everyone likes Italian food. Some are big on Chinese. That means advertising your restaurant to everyone is a waste of your time and money. The more targeted your approach, the better your results. So identify the sorts of people who are most likely to visit your restaurant. How old are they? Do they work or live nearby? Being clear on WHO you want to reach makes it easier to work out a plan on HOW to reach them.

Build An Email List Of Customers

After your website, the next most important thing is to build an email list. The various ways you can get customers’ addresses is featured later. Once you’ve got their details you have a great opportunity to sell your brand and promote your offers to them. Email List TIPS:

  • DO send out regular rewards to subscribers in the form of coupons or offer codes
  • DON’T bombard them with emails every day, as they’ll soon click ‘Unsubscribe’

Send Out An Email Newsletter

Not many restaurants generate enough interesting stuff to warrant a weekly newsletter. So don’t force out newsletters if there’s no news. People don’t appreciate emails just for the sake of them. Make sure there’s some interesting content and offers in every email, even if it means they go out monthly rather than weekly. Before lunch is the best time to get mailing. And be sure to include some mouth-watering pictures.

Ensure Your Restaurant Listing Information Is Accurate

Get this: Nearly 97% of customers search for local businesses online, and 89% research a restaurant before booking. So not only does your restaurant need to be listed on Yahoo and Google (the two most popular search engines) but your information needs to be accurate. So double check all these before clicking upload:

  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Opening hours
  • Current menu

Yelp Really Is A Big Help To Your Restaurant

Getting good reviews on Yelp is the holy grail for all restaurant owners. Like it or not, your restaurant will be reviewed by customers who’ll post their thoughts for the world to see. So it makes sense to get your Yelp account looking the best it can. So be sure to add the following:

  • Lots of photos
  • Opening Hours
  • Address
  • Menu
  • Price range
  • Availability of Parking / WiFi / Outdoor Seating

Your restaurant positively MUST HAVE a Google+ account

Having a Google+ account is probably more important than having a Yelp account. Seriously. When people search for businesses on Google, the search engine’s Knowledge Graph provides details about the business in the sidebar. And much of this info is taken from, you guessed it, Google +. Also, encourage customers to review your restaurant on Google + as the Knowledge Graph loves to aggregate user reviews.

Great Table Menu Design And Copy Is Vital

It’s the one thing every single customer of yours will see. And if it looks the part, your table menu can boost sales and build your reputation. So make sure yours:

  • Reflects your restaurant’s look and feel
  • Is easy to read and pleasing on the eye
  • Is written to make your food and drink sound irresistible

Stay Up To Date With Current Trends

We’re living in the age of data, where access to stats, trends and facts about the restaurant business are everywhere. Stay in the loop and keep up to date with what’s happening. If you don’t, your rivals will and they’ll have an advantage. Because data and trends can help answer questions like:

  • Do you need to market your restaurant differently?
  • What needs to change on your menu?

Don’t assume that what you’ve always done will always work. Tastes change and your restaurant needs to change with them.

Show-off Your Staff

Nothing makes your restaurant more individual than the human touch. Your staff and the food they prepare and service they provide help you stand out. So be sure to keep your best employees happy and motivated – something like an Employee Of The Month award is a good start. And be ready to show off shots of your staff enjoying life working at your restaurant. It creates a good impression and could attract your next star performer to join your team.

A wonderful washroom / brilliant bathroom speaks volumes.

Never under-estimate the importance of having a spotless restroom. A great one gets people relaxed, a bad one ruins appetites. It’s somewhere most customers will visit, so it needs to make a great impression. Get it looking (and smelling!) amazing. It doesn’t have to be an expensive makeover, just a few nice touches like:

  • Attractive wallpaper/paintwork
  • A good mirror
  • Some distinctive pictures on the wall