We were asked to replace the existing website which had been up for 4 years.
The objective was to increase business and in truth, there was a degree of scepticism about the website making any real impact after the four year drought. After all websites are 10 a penny, you can make one for free and be online in 10 minutes and you are in business. I acknowledge that you may interpret a degree of cynicism.
The website took some time to do but the impact was almost immediate with table bookings.
Of course if you have a good "product" in this case great, flavoursome food, a unique hospitality and real ownership of the concept, then people, once they experience it, keep coming back and in this day and age it all gets commented on in social media.
But the reality is none of that matters when measuring the effectiveness of a website and thus the return on the amount of time and money invested.
The realtime conversion is the number of customers who actually end up booking and walking through the door.
After that the merits of the product or service are what count.
In this business type repeat business is a goal. The focus being to make each and every customer who comes in want to come back again and again and to act as ambassadors for the restaurant.
But the marketing cycle is at this stage in its infancy.
The next stage is to document positive experiences in the written word and pictorially and market it from an in-house strategic plan as well as by inspiring guests to post reviews and market your business for you.
Every online booking yields an email address to confirm the booking to.
The confirmation email is, in many instances, an under utilised opportunity.
Booking confirmation is the purpose of the email, but advertising or promoting upcoming or recurring events and products can yield significant results.
Letting customers know about free local parking after 7pm for instance is an upsell.
Your Email List
Nurturing your email list is something that is in your control as is the content which you market.
If you have a 70 seater restaurant and you take bookings online as well as by phone, then the email list will be your most valuable resource and after a few weeks the number of contacts in the database will be significant and yield not only the contact details but trend data.
Why do people book?
Anniversary, birthday, graduation, a special occasion.
How often do they book?
What factors influence the booking?
Proximity to the local theatre, or transport terminal, parking availability, seasonal weather, proximity to the office, promotional events, opening times.
How will you use the emerging information?
"I wish I had done this 4 years ago" Domenico Minardi
"We asked Bill how he could help. He came in various times of the day to dine with us, he spoke to the staff to get a feel of how the restaurant ran and he began to build our website.
He is a perfectionist and as soon as the website went live our bookings tripled overnight. We were blown away in how a website could have turned a business around in just a short space of time
Wouldn't hesitate to recommend Bill to anyone"
Cafe Class, Woking, Surrey
Authentic Italian Cuisine.