Appetas

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Appetas makes it simple to create restaurant websites that attract customers and look amazing on all devices.

 

Filtering by Category: Restaurant Website Tips

How to claim your restaurant’s listing on Google, Yelp, and Foursquare

  CC Image courtesy of  Jamiesrabbits  on Flickr

CC Image courtesy of Jamiesrabbits on Flickr

Long gone are the days when diners look for places to eat by opening the yellow pages. Recent studies have shown over 92% of consumers search for restaurants online. If your business isn’t listed in the right online directories, most customers won’t find you.

Life was simpler when you only had to worry about one phone directory. Now there are lots of online directories. By claiming your restaurant pages on the most popular sites, you'll help your customers find your hours, specials, and menus. The good news is that claiming your restaurant is completely free – there’s no reason not to do it!

Step 1: Claim you restaurant on each of these directories

  1. Google: This is where everyone starts; it’s essential for any restaurant.
    https://www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness/
  2. Yelp: Like it or not, millions of diners turn to Yelp – make sure your listing looks good.
    https://biz.yelp.com/claiming
  3. Foursquare: Foursquare check-ins help promote your business, for free.
    http://business.foursquare.com/listing/

Note: If your business isn’t listed yet, you’ll need to create a listing first.

Step 2: Update your information and photos.

Each of these directories gives you a way to add your restaurant’s location, hours, and photos. Take advantage of this free advertising and make sure your listing looks great!

Step 3: Engage with Customers.

Each of these services gives you ways to engage with your customers. For example, you can respond to reviews on Yelp and post check-in specials on Foursquare. Keep in mind that on the web when you engage with one customer, you’re actually talking to lots of customers. If you respond well to a negative review, other customers will appreciate your attempts. (For more tips, read our post on what to do with negative reviews.)

One final reason to claim your listing is that you’ll greatly improve your rankings on search results in Google through Search Engine Optimization. Linking your website from your online listings will dramatically increase traffic to your restaurant’s website. If you don’t have a website yet, check out Appetas. We create beautiful restaurant websites in minutes.

 

Six Reasons Not to Use Flash on Your Restaurant Website

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Let’s start with the basics: what is Flash? Flash (aka Adobe Flash) is a multimedia technology that allows web developers to create animations and interactive content on a website. Flash websites can be beautiful and fun. So why don’t you want one?

Here’s why:

  1.  To view a Flash website, visitors must have a plugin installed. Although most web browsers have the plugin pre-installed, some do not.
  2. Many mobile phones do not support Flash. With 40% of restaurant website traffic coming from mobile devices, a Flash website could lose you a lot of customers.
  3. Flash can make your page take a loooong time to load. People are impatient—according to this New York Times article, users will abandon a website if it takes more than 400 milliseconds (the blink of an eye) to load.
  4. On a Flash site, users can’t click on your phone number to give you a call to make a reservations or copy your address into a mapping tool.
  5. The browser's “back” button does not work on most Flash websites. This means that even if the consumer has viewed 7 pages on your site, if they press back, they will be sent to the page they were visiting prior to your site. They may never return.
  6. Flash websites are difficult for search engines to read. To put it simply: you want search engines crawling your webpage. This helps your restaurant website show up in search results on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

Not using Flash doesn’t mean you have to settle for an ugly website. Appetas offers beautiful templated solutions for your restaurant website. You can even customize your fonts, colors, and themes—all without the assistance of a developer. Get started now with our free 14 day trial.

The Importance of Menus on Restaurant Websites

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Restaurants are all about food. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true. They’re also about ambiance and community and spending time with friends and family. But mostly they’re about food. Therefore, it should go without saying that every restaurant website needs to include a menu. Yet nearly 30% of them don’t. Out of those who do, many of the menus are only available in Flash (making them not readable on mobile devices and often slow to load) or require consumers to spend time downloading large PDF files. Why not link straight to your menu? It’s what consumers want!

Need more proof?  80% of consumers think it’s important to see a menu before dining at a restaurant and 70% of consumers think it’s important to be able to read the menu on a mobile device.

Websites made with Appetas include a navigation link that takes diners directly to a beautiful version of the restaurant’s menu. And we now offer Locu integration. What is Locu? It’s a free service used by many restaurant owners to keep track of the latest version of their menu and garner new business by showcasing to the menu on Yelp, facebook, OpenTable, and other popular sites.

Restaurants that already use Locu will have their menu automatically added to their Appetas website. Don’t have Locu yet? Not a problem! Your Appetas package includes a free account with Locu. With Locu integration, we can send a copy of your menu directly to Locu and have it up on your website within 48 hours (usually less), styled with the same theme, colors, and fonts you selected for the rest of the site.

 Appetas restaurant website menu sample

Appetas restaurant website menu sample

Restaurant Owners: Why You Need a Mobile Version of Your Website

 An Appetas customer's mobile website

An Appetas customer's mobile website

According to a study from restaurant analytics company Restaurant Sciences, a whopping 95% of independent restaurants and nearly 90% of full service restaurants do not have a mobile website.

If you’re a restaurant owner, you need to have a mobile version of your website. A “mobile website” does not simply mean that your website is viewable on a phone—it means your website is designed to be viewed on a phone. Customers aren’t likely to spend 15 minutes on a non mobile-friendly site, zooming into every bit of text until they find the information they are searching for. And since 84% of diners are likely to look at more than one restaurant website when deciding where to eat (according to research by SinglePlatform and Chadwick Martin Bailey), who’s going to win their business—the restaurant with or without a mobile-friendly site?

We know restaurant owners have an overwhelming number of things on their plates (no pun intended), but consider the numbers: nearly half of consumers visiting restaurant websites are doing so on a mobile device and over 80% of consumers searched for a restaurant using a mobile application in a 6-month period (SinglePlatform, Chadwick Martin Bailey). Are you prepared to lose all these potential customers because they can’t view your website on their smartphone?

We didn’t think so. So, what’s a busy restaurant owner to do?

We recommend turning to a templated solution like Appetas, which allows you to create a mobile-friendly website in a few minutes. No technical or design expertise needed! You can even test your site out with our free 14 day trial (no credit card required).

 

Seven Things Customers Want from a Restaurant Website

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Restaurant websites have a bad rap—and perhaps deservedly so. Customers have seen too many sites that don’t include menus, aren't readable on mobile devices, or are just plain ugly. Even worse—many restaurants have no website at all. Gasp!

Every restaurant should have a website. This does not just mean they can be found on Yelp or Facebook, but a site of their own. According to research by SinglePlatform and Chadwick Martin Bailey, restaurants are the most searched industry on web and mobile devices (over 90% of consumers searched for a restaurant online in a 6-month period). If you don’t have a site, you’re missing customers.

But just having a website isn’t enough. You may still be missing customers if your website isn’t good. You care about your customers having a good experience starting when they walk through the door, right? Well, consider your website the door. It is often a customer’s first impression of you.

Creating a good restaurant website is not as hard as you may think—customers only want a handful of things. Here are the basics:

  1. The website exists. (Did we mention this already? This is a big one, folks.)
  2. They can easily view a menu. (Easily—as in it does not require a PDF download and it’s not in Flash.)
  3. It’s mobile-readable. (According to the study discussed above, over 80% of consumers visited a restaurant website from a mobile device in a 6-month period.)
  4. Restaurant hours and location are listed. (Extra points for a link to Google Maps.)
  5. They can make an online reservation.
  6. They can read about specials, events, and promotions.
  7. The website looks nice.

That’s it. Seven little things. And they don’t require a website built from scratch. Templated solutions like Appetas allow restaurants to create a branded website that meets all these criteria in a few minutes. Know a local restaurant that could use some help? Let them know they can try Appetas free for 14 days.