Summer events and holidays such as Memorial Day, graduation season, Father’s Day and Independence Day are right around the corner. With more customers researching and ordering online than ever before, it is crucial that restaurants are doing everything possible to maximize online exposure and visibility. In fact, 88 percent of consumers who make local searches on their mobile will visit or call the businesses within 24 hours.
The summer season is notoriously slow for restaurants and the key to avoiding a steep decline in monthly sales lies in the location’s ability to properly enhance the brand and boost marketing results. Below are the top steps to help restaurants attract more customers through utilizing upcoming summer holidays.
Promote offers for free and update all listings
Instead of fighting for limited ad space, capitalize on free advertising platforms. Google My Business (GMB) listings are 70 percent more likely to attract local visits, which will increase a restaurant’s sales and web traffic. Not only does GMB update a restaurant’s digital presence across Google Search and Maps, but it also allows business owners to insert product listings for free. After GMB is updated, make sure to also list specials and offerings on Facebook, Yelp and Instagram.
Customers are already looking for the best places to eat and find holiday inspired menus online. Get the special offers in front of them—at no cost to the business.
Check the restaurant’s website
A slow-loading website negatively impacts a restaurant’s opportunity to receive an online order or reservation. Studies show that 53 percent of visitors will leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Not only does a fast website make your customers happy, but it gives you a better chance at being found on that highly sought-after first page of Google. One of the pieces of data that Google uses in its results page algorithm is page speed. Additionally, a restaurant’s website should work seamlessly across all platforms, primarily mobile and desktop.
Keep COVID restrictions up to date
Summer Holidays often bring in crowds from out of town who are not up to date with your state’s current COVID protocols. Use Google My Business and social media profiles to update your company’s specific rules. Let customers know about updated hours, if masks are required, or if employees are required to be vaccinated. Due to the pandemic, so many restaurants are short staffed and in turn, customers are experiencing longer wait times or delayed food delivery. 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, both good and bad. Ninety-seven percent of customers say that reviews influence their buying decision. It is important to respond to negative reviews quickly, between 24-48 hours. If the situation is still fresh, it increases the likelihood that you’ll be able to offer an actionable solution. Second, it decreases the amount of time the review is sitting unattended on the web. The faster you respond; the fewer people will see the review on its own and potentially be negatively influenced by it.
Acknowledge staffing issues
The restaurant industry is experiencing a labor shortage, and many customers are encountering longer wait times and service issues. Get ahead of complaints and negative reviews by posting on your website, listing and social media channels. Let customers know what the restaurant is experiencing and the challenges you are facing. This will create loyalty and a sense of community among your customers and honesty will help you establish regulars who are looking to support local.
Implement QR Codes
The technology for QR codes has been around for a while now, but during COVID popularity has soared. Using QR codes for customers to view menus is very simple to set up. Many restaurants have already made this shift to QR codes for menu access with great success and it is an important tool to promote specials and promotions for summer holidays.
Preparing a restaurant for the summer season is no easy task. The above checklist will help set restaurants up for success and create a plan to successfully market the business for the upcoming holidays.
Jonathan Brooks is Business Warrior’s President, leading revenue growth and operations for the company. Through his leadership role, Business Warrior successfully became public in 2020, tripled its subscriber base, launched two new versions of the software and recently improved 2021 Q2 revenue by over 220% along with growing the team to over 30 people. Business Warrior is the source for small businesses in America to enhance their brand and boost marketing results. The Business Warrior software takes a holistic view of a business’s online reputation, listings, website search results and social media. Predictive algorithms are utilized to recommend the most imperative actions needed to drive new customers, positively impact daily operations and improve profitability. For more information, please visit businesswarrior.com.