What do people see when they Google your business? Do you have a website? Does it show up on Google? Are there any reviews?  Are they positive?  How many stars do you have on Yelp!?  Do the pictures of your food look good?

Digital Word of Mouth

Before iPhones and laptops became all the rage, restaurants, bars, and other businesses relied on traditional word of mouth to encourage business.  They would use coupons, get listed in the Yellow Pages, or maybe put an advertisement in the local paper, but the biggest seller was customers raving about their business to their friends, family, and colleagues.  Today word of mouth has turned digital.  Customers are turning online when deciding where to go.  Online sites like Yelp! let customers publicly rate their experiences.  People are trusting other customers more than ads.  What motivation does a customer have to write a bad review on Yelp!? It creates a sense of honesty and trust. 

Online Identity

Today’s restaurants, bars, and cafes need to have an online identityCustomers are searching online for their next meal.  If you do not have a website, Facebook, online menu, or Yelp! page, you could easily be overlooked by your competitor who’s online presence is full of mouthwatering pictures and stellar reviews. 

Not all websites are created equal.  A bad website that isn’t user friendly or filled with a accurate data can suggest the business isn’t modern enough, it’s not up-to-date with the times.  Today’s consumers have become very visually oriented.  Millennials want to see drool worthy pictures.  They want to check your business’s Instagram, follow you to see amazing specials that are too good to pass up.

Is your website mobile friendly? Most customers are searching for restaurants on the go, using their smartphones.  Is your menu too hard to read?  Can you zoom in and read the font? Do you label your gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian items?   These special customers tend to plan ahead, since they can not eat everywhere.  If you’re special dietary options aren’t labeled, you may be turning away potential customers.

Social Media

According to a new Facebook study at least 1/3 of restaurant and bar patrons use Facebook or Instagram.   People are influenced by the delicious pictures and positive reviews on their social media feeds.

If the modern person is hungry, they can use the Yelp! app to find the best restaurants, bars, coffees, etc near them.  It can be as specific as gluten free muffins or broad like Tacos.  When trying a new restaurant, some people like to see pictures of the food, reviews, and even the menu. 

Yelp! has become the leader in online reviews for restaurants and small businesses.  First time customers want to be reassured they will have a good experience.  They check to see how many stars your restaurant has.  They look at pictures, read reviews.  Does your restaurant have a Yelp! page? Are the reviews positive? Bad online reviews could be secretly hurting your business. 


So you have an easy-to-navigate website with some good pictures, a relatively active social media presence, and good Yelp! reviews, now what?  Comprehensive and integrated customer loyalty programs are taking businesses to the level.  Your customer’s inboxes are being flooded with emails every day from businesses like your own.  Your email can easily get lost in the shuffle and sent to spam or left unread.  Restaurants can benefit from using SMS (text messages) https://www.modernrestaurantmanagement.com/how-restaurants-can-benefit-from-sms/  as part of their marketing plan. Zonal’s app based loyalty program uses SMS and even push notifications to send rewards, coupons, and marketing nudges directly to their phones

Adapting to the digital age is easy. It is free to create to create Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages for your business. Uploading pictures and posting about new specials or menu items takes only a few minutes a day.  Quality pictures can be taken with a smartphone and good lighting.  Simple websites can be created on sites like wix.com for those on a budget.  You want to have an easy-to-read menu, contact information, and great pictures.  An online identity is as important as having a sign in front of your business.