This week, Chef Robert Irvine came to our town to film his show, Restaurant Impossible. If you aren't familiar with the Food Network drama, he takes a failing restaurant and in two days and with $10,000, determines the issues that are making it fail, and fixes them. At the conclusion, there’s a big reveal showing the transformed restaurant. A complete dinner service allows patrons to experience the new and improved staff, surroundings and cuisine. Although we couldn't get a reservation, we were able see the grand reopening to get a sneak peak of the changes. My daughters even got a picture with the chef!
Some of the restaurants selected for the show are in dire need. From lousy food to poor service and dingy surroundings, there’s much to fix. But that wasn't the case with the Zest Bistro. Good food, good setting, just average service but overall a decent spot. Obviously the restaurant is struggling or Chef Irvine and his team wouldn't have been invited. When the show airs, we will find out what the real problems are.
Ultimately, very few restaurants or businesses execute perfectly. Maybe it’s the product. Maybe it’s the pricing. Or maybe you aren't effectively promoting the good things you do. And with 97% of consumers looking for a local product online and over 70% of enterprise purchase decisions starting with search, your website is the first impression your audience gets when considering a purchase. Is it a good one?
So instead of Restaurant Impossible, what if you dedicated two days to your own Website Impossible? Makeover your site and increase your business. Here’s how.
Clean the Kitchen
Do you want to eat in a restaurant that has a dirty kitchen? Although you can’t get salmonella poisoning from a dirty website, the broken links, pages not found, outdated and inaccurate information will make your audience sick. And search engines put you in isolation.
Reduce the Menu
A huge restaurant menu makes choosing a meal difficult and increases food costs. A website with too many menu options has a similar effect. Your audience, and search engines, can’t find what they want which ultimately decreases traffic and your revenue. Human short term memory peaks at seven items. Keep navigation at no more than seven but even less is more!
Redecorate the Front of the House
A cluttered entrance, with dirty floors and torn banquettes doesn't encourage new visitors. A cluttered website with ineffective information and poor graphics won’t either. Plus, with mobile usage surpassing desktop, it better be a mobile friendly responsive design. Update your site with a compelling layout including balanced color, graphics and multimedia.
Who’s in Charge?
Often, the restaurant staff doesn't understand or execute their roles and responsibilities. If food isn’t prepared properly or customers aren't attended to, business walks out the door. When management isn't well defined or there is a lack of leadership, it leads to conflicts, misunderstandings and poor performance.
Who’s in charge of your website. Do they understand how important it is to expanding your audience and generating new leads and revenue? Are they empowered to make changes that will advance your position online and grow your business? Are you taking an active role in making sure it gets executed effectively?
Use Fresh Ingredients
One of Chef Irvine's pet peeves is using frozen or even canned ingredients. Not a good gastronomic experience and a higher cost. Is your content fresh or is it stale due to months of neglect? Fresh content helps you attract a broader audience and keep them interested and coming back. Your website impossible plan should include an editorial calendar defining the what, when and where of your content.
Recharge and Reengage
Chef Irvine has become part restauranteur and part psychologist. People who lost hope become re-inspired and start running their restaurant effectively. Just as it's easy to pass on cleaning the stove, it is also easy to put off website updates. Before you know it weeks or months have passed. Commit to a regular schedule.
Website impossible for your business? After 48 hours of focused attention, you'll be amazed at the crowds you'll attract!
Learn how an effective web strategy can expand your audience and increase business at InterEdge Marketing.