Websites have become crucial for restaurant success because up to 43 percent of restaurant traffic in North America interacts with restaurants through mobile devices. Restaurants can generate extraordinary website traffic on week-ends when people search for available tables for impromptu dining. Restaurants that offer responsive mobile websites convert up to 64 percent of searchers. Converting on websites means getting the searcher to place an order or reservation or sign-up for emails or a newsletter. Six ways to increase website conversions include the following strategies:
- Provide Online Ordering
People have less patience for waiting on the phone and responding to voice menus, so many diners prefer to handle business directly on websites to save time and frustration. Newer applications are making it possible to have an online ordering widget inside the website like Gourmet Labs. Making it easy for customers to order online raises restaurant conversion rates and increases customer satisfaction. Simplify ordering by sending an order-confirmation email with an expected pick-up time. Assure customers that they will receive phone calls from staff members if the orders are unclear or confirmation is needed for new customers and large orders.
- Optimize Website Display for Mobile Devices
Restaurant websites convert mobile searchers who are looking for food or checking out recommendations from their friends. Up to 90 percent of hungry searchers convert immediately, which is a higher conversion rate for restaurants than in any other industry. Responsive websites allow displays to adapt to each device regardless of browser. The display of a restaurant website changes to become easily readable on smaller devices so that searchers convert more often.
- Simplify Site Navigation
Follow the three-click rule for restaurant websites by making it possible for searchers to reach any area of the site with only three clicks. This ability is especially important for people who use mobile devices. Simplifying site navigation also means providing options to return to the home page easily, allow people to click a logo to start a search, and editing content to include the most essential information. Keeping restaurant websites limited to three pages simplifies searches for customers and web-crawling robots that determine search engine rankings. Providing a clear site-map also improves conversion rates and optimizes websites for search engines.
- Offer Restaurant Loyalty and Rewards Programs
Restaurant loyalty and rewards programs give people reasons to convert immediately on websites. Restaurants can offer exclusive offers, gifts, coupons, free appetizers and desserts to encourage placing instant orders or reservations or referring restaurants to their friends.
- Install a Reservation Widget on the Restaurant’s Website
Restaurant widgets for taking reservations on websites offer people a convenient way to book reservations from home, work or mobile devices at any time of day and get confirmation within seconds. A responsive widget should offer the following benefits:
- Ability to manage reservations from secure Web-pages
- Simple management of reservations in real-time
- Booking capability for business functions, holidays and birthday celebrations
- Honoring requests for special seating, disabled customers and outdoor dining
- Provide Coupons and Incentives for Immediate Conversions
Offering incentives for immediate orders and reservations increases conversion rates. These incentives don’t need to be financial but should offer value. For example, restaurants could offer a T-shirt or coffee mug with the restaurant’s name and logo for branding purposes or a sports bottle, calendar or other free gift. Signing up for a restaurant’s emails or newsletter is another effective way to increase conversions. Once customers become accustomed to using websites, they will more readily place orders and reservations. Getting emails and newsletters gives a restaurant more opportunities to convert casual website visitors.Mobile searches, loyalty programs, social media affiliations and reservation widgets convert more visitors than design bells and whistles. In the digital age, responsiveness rules, and consumers return to websites where they can easily book a reservation, post a comment, view a menu or check on nutritional information. Restaurants that fail to optimize their websites for responsiveness won’t get maximum results regardless of how attractive their designs, photographs and graphics may be.