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What is the best way to promote and increase traffic to a restaurant website? [Q&A]

Like most business owners, restaurants want to drive as much traffic to their storefront as possible. And with the ease people can find information online, it is reasonable to want a strong web presence in the form of a website.

However, contrary to what I usually recommend, I’m not sure a website is the best option in this case.

Before your restaurant launches a website, step back and make sure you are crystal clear on the role that website will play in your overall marketing efforts. Perhaps there is a better option.


Let’s back up a bit.

As the owner or marketing director, you need to be clear on your objective before launching any campaign; whether it is a website or social media promotion, you need to start with the end in mind and consider the actions of your ideal customers.

Why do you want to drive people to a restaurant website? In my experience, folks visiting a restaurant website want only a couple of bits of information: menu, hours of service, directions, or the ability to make reservations.

Generally, I am a HUGE proponent of using your website as an online hub and relying less on social media. For a restaurant, however, due to the very limited amount of information potential customers would want, I think another tactic is more appropriate.

Develop a plan for capturing customers’ email address or phone number for text messages.

(Yes, that can be done on a website, but can be done more effectively elsewhere)

Otherwise, make sure the correct information is displayed in local directories (Google, Bing, Yelp, OpenTable, etc). Since this is likely where your customers are getting their information, obsess over the accuracy of what is provided. Ensure your hours are up-to-date, share professional photos, and keep your menu current.

To answer your original question, driving traffic to a restaurant website is no different than any other website:

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