The Key To Survive Is A Website
Covid 19 has caused chaos in the restaurant world. With mandatory shutdowns and rules for selling meals to go. The restrictions have caused an enormous amount of small restaurant businesses to close forever. Those that have survived have had their own website and online ordering system not depended on UberEATS or Doordash (Btw, These delivery services eat away restaurant profits!).
We are not talking about restaurant chains that have backup funding and well-established internet presence. Small owner restaurants are over 60% of all restaurants, they have the highest failure rate. There are a lot of ways to help recover your business now that restaurants are now allowed to do limited seating.
The Big Delivery Services
Yes, places like DoorDash, UberEATS and GrubHub are known for their help with delivery services for restaurants. They also cater to big restaurants chains which get much lower fees than a small restaurant. They have a 15% fee while small restaurants can have upto 50% fee. With margins so small nowadays, most small eateries cannot afford to work with them.
When someone goes to those sites or apps the big chain restaurants show up first. Many times small cafes are not on their first page. There are sites that allow you to upload your menus and that handle the payment process. The fees are substantial and again large chain restaurants will come first.
Your Own Website Is a Versatile Key
When you invest in your own website, you have a tools that allows you to expand your services and control your cost. Owning the site and ordering system is beneficial in the long run. A well designed website allows you to control the content and do amazing things such as:
- Upload Daily Specials
- Show pictures of the dishes (People order food with their eyes!)
- Offer cooking lessons
- Offer special sauces
- Offer alcoholic beverages (depending on state rules)
- Meal kits with what you have available in supplies
- Curbside pickup
- Ready to heat meals
- Links to your catering business or catering orders online.
- Re-market to folks who did not order with a coupon
With these extra services you can keep your employees working and keep the restaurant in business. The initial cost for creating a website will come out of the money needed to hold out til the epidemic is over, this can help reopen you now and get cash flow back into your restaurant.
The biggest advantage is that your website has is local SEO optimization. While large chains dominate internet searches with their paid ads, you can also get to the first page with a well made website. Most advertising like TV and Radio are fugitive lived. Their effects last for maybe a week, a website will stay effective for a year before you need to renew it. Renewal costs are very low.
You can set up a pay online for all your services and only have to worry about your processing fees (which is 2.9% at most places like PayPal or Stripe). You can shop around for the best rates. By controlling your rates, you get to have more profit.
This is also a good time for you to check with your local farmers for produce. The closures of so many shops has left with farmers having more produce than they can sell. You can set up some impressive deals and you will be remembered when all the dust settles.
Things You Can Try On Your Website
Take out: everyone's favorite but you can have them pay before they pick it up. This allows you to bypass your Point Of Sales charges from your credit card machine. The online fees often are better than you would enjoy from your POS vendor.
Delivery: If you have your own delivery person, this is great. You can require them to pay upfront. This reduces the chance of problems with your delivery. You can build in tips so the driver will get his share. Big delivery services will take 15% up to 35% of your bill.
Curbside Pickup: Same as take out with you receiving a call when they get there and you taking it out to them at their car.
Meal Kits: This is a great way for you to move the produce and other supplies you may get in from long-term contracts. The best thing is that with your own website you can change the meals to match what you have in stock. The customer gets fresh ingredients without having to go out shopping. You control the quality and they save time. You can also link this to online cooking shows for preparing the very meal kit you are offering. Become a resource people can count on they will come back again and again.
Heat to serve meals: with food saver technology you can prepare the meals to take home then reheated. From having roasting bags for meats to boiling in bags for the sides, you can deliver almost the same quality as you do for when they come and sit.
How to prepare your favorite dishes videos: This one can deliver the zing you need. It is doubtful they can steal your skills. The quality of the ingredients of your meal kits will be far better quality than anyone can get from the local grocer. The customer also sees how difficult it is for them to do. This makes your website a go to place. This will boost your website presence in front of many chains. It's like free recurring advertising.
Specialty groceries: There are a lot of spices that are not available in grocery stores. You use them all the time. You can sell bundles of them to people who visit your site. Better yet, if you bottle some of your specialty sauces you can supply them as well.
Cooking Class Videos: Above and beyond your prep the meal kit videos you can create general cooking class videos. There are many people who make their living just doing cooking videos. Many of these services allow you to collect email and phone numbers of your customers. This is a magnificent marketing tool.
Getting An Excellent Website
Getting a website is like getting a sign for the front of your restaurant. It is permanent advertising. You would not open a restaurant without a sign. The website is way more useful. Combined with social media marketing, you can build a brand that will bring you and your specialty.
For getting to the top of page one on search engines, long word keywords are the best. Things like Mexican take out Fresno will outperform Mexican food Fresno. So you can optimize your website for each of your services. You become a resource for your town and everyone comes to your site for you will always be able to keep busy.
You do not want a template website that looks like everyone else's. You need a custom designed website so you can offer services. Have your designer put in links to the social media sites so everyone can find you. They can set you up with a YouTube channel to post your videos. You can make most of these videos with your phone.
Show your enthusiasm for your craft. With Facebook and Twitter, Reddit and Instagram you can announce your daily specials or meal kits. With the check out feature on your site, you have cash flow. You are now in control.
Ashmith.com is Fresno premier freelance web designer and SEO expert in Fresno. My experience with custom web design will allow you to get an effective key to keeping your restaurant open in these trying times. The restrictions will be lifted and you can seat the customers to your heart's content, the website will still work hard to bring you foodies.
Here are 2 restaurant websites I've developed during Covid-19:
What to expect when you work with me for your web design project:
- People-centric design
- You will work with the designer
- Affordability in price