Summer events and holidays such as Memorial Day, Graduation Season, Father’s Day and Independence Day are fast approaching. With more customers researching and ordering online than ever before, it’s crucial that restaurants do everything possible to maximize online exposure and visibility. In reality, 88% of consumers who conduct local searches on their mobile will visit or call businesses within 24 hours.
The summer season is notoriously slow for restaurants and the key to avoiding a sharp drop in monthly sales lies in the location’s ability to enhance the brand and boost marketing results. Below are key steps to help restaurants attract more customers using the upcoming summer holidays.
Promote offers for free and update all ads
Instead of fighting for limited advertising space, capitalize on free advertising platforms. Google My Business (GMB) listings are 70% more likely to attract local visitorswhich will increase a restaurant’s sales and web traffic. Not only does GMB update a restaurant’s digital presence on Google Search and Maps, but it also allows business owners to insert product listings for free. Once GMB is updated, be sure to also list promotions and offers on Facebook, Yelp, and Instagram.
Customers are already researching the best places to eat and are finding holiday-inspired menus online. Get the specials in front of them at no cost to the business.
Visit the restaurant’s website
A slow loading website negatively impacts a restaurant’s ability to receive an online order or reservation. Studies show that 53% of visitors will exit a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Not only does a fast website make your customers happy, it gives you a better chance of being found on that highly searched first page of Google. One of the data that Google uses in its results page algorithm is page speed. Additionally, a restaurant website should work seamlessly across all platforms, primarily mobile and desktop.
Keeping COVID restrictions up to date
Summer vacations often bring out-of-town crowds that aren’t up to date with your state’s current COVID protocols. Use Google My Business and social media profiles to update your specific business policies. Notify customers of updated hours, if masks are needed, or if employees need to be vaccinated. Due to the pandemic, many restaurants are understaffed and, in turn, customers are experiencing longer wait times or delayed food deliveries. Acknowledge this on your website or social media, it will make the customer stop and think for a minute before posting that bad review.
Manage reviews and reputation
Take the time to respond to every review, good or bad. Ninety-seven percent of customers say reviews influence their purchase decision. It is important to respond quickly to negative reviews, between 24 and 48 hours. If the situation is still new, it increases the likelihood that you can come up with a workable solution. Second, it reduces the time the review remains unattended on the web. The faster you respond; the fewer people will see the review alone and be potentially negatively influenced by it.
Recognize staffing issues
the the restaurant industry is experiencing a labor shortage, and many customers are experiencing longer wait times and service issues. Anticipate complaints and negative reviews by posting to your website, list, and social media channels. Let customers know what the restaurant is going through and the challenges you face. This will create loyalty and a sense of community among your customers and honesty will help you establish regulars who are looking to support locals.
Implement QR codes
QR code technology has been around for a while now, but during COVID the popularity has skyrocketed. Using QR codes for customers to view menus is very simple to set up. Many restaurants have already made this switch to QR codes for menu access with great success and it is an important tool for promoting specials and promotions for the summer holidays.
Preparing a restaurant for the summer season is not an easy task. The checklist above will help restaurants succeed and create a plan to successfully market the business for the upcoming holidays.
Jonathan Brooks is the president of Business Warrior, responsible for revenue growth and business operations. Through its leadership role, Business Warrior successfully went public in 2020, tripled its subscriber base, launched two new software releases, and recently improved Q2 2021 revenue by more than 220% while growing the team to more than 30 people. Business Warrior is the source for small businesses in America to improve their brand and increase their marketing results. Business Warrior software takes a holistic view of a company’s online reputation, listings, website search results, and social media. Predictive algorithms are used to recommend the most imperative actions needed to attract new customers, positively impact day-to-day operations and improve profitability. For more information, please visit businesswarrior.com.