Every business needs a website, but I’d be lying if I said I’ve never heard that quote “We don’t need a website.” Even if it’s just essentially a one page business card, your business needs one. Restaurants particularly do, particularly the longer out you go. Here are three restaurant owners, who don’t want websites, but should…
The Lone Ranger
“We don’t need a website. We’re the only pizza joint in the neighborhood and everyone knows us. They stop by or call. We don’t even deliver. Maybe once every other year we pay the local neighbor kid to take a xerox and stuff it in everyone’s mailbox. What do we need a website for?”
Short term, it’s obvious this place can live without a website. Live without social media. The owners don’t care about growth or expansion, have no desires to open a second location or another restaurant, etc. They’re old school, and we can respect that. However things change. People move in to neighborhoods and don’t know you, don’t have a relationship with you. The younger they are the more likely they are to search for pizza online, order online, maybe even expect delivery. Or at the least they don’t have your xerox you stuffed in people’s mail boxes 2 years go, so they don’t even know what is on your menu, or what your phone number is (because they also toss their yellow pages so your listing there is meaningless). Over time that mounts up, and in the long run you’ll lose more and more of that business decreasing your margin. Why risk it? A good website can not only secure your neighborhood business now, it can do so for the new people in the future.
The Al Capone
“We’re always busy. We don’t need to spend any money on marketing or a website. Why should we? Business is great. The place is always packed. Sure people complain that we don’t have a website, but it’s part of our mystique. You’ve gotta be in the know, ya know?”
If you want to be a hip and cool flash in the pan, then this is a great way to go. Sure the mystique of being ‘off the map’ if people have already found you and you’re doing good business is fun, but how long does it last? If you’re ok with shutting your restaurant down in a year or two when it’s dead, then more power to you. If you’re interested in not interacting with people online and letting negative reviews on Social Media and Yelp spiral out of control adding negatives to negatives, and your business running dead inside a matter of weeks, then more power to you as well. Long term it’s just not smart business for a restaurant to ignore it’s online presence. To expect people to constantly find it through word of mouth. You’ll suffer the same problems as the Lone Ranger and more, and when your place stops becoming cool, you’re going to be in a sudden world of hurt, with no marketing base to back you up. You can be cool and mysterious on your website and social media without ignoring either. To do so just begs to be made into a flash in the pan.
The Coke Bottle Glasses
“Look, our customers are older. We don’t cater to the kids and their ePhones. We don’t need a website, none of our customers would look at it! It’d be a waste of money!”
This is essentially saying “Yes we’re going out of business in about 10 years when half our customers are dead and we can’t pay our bills anymore.” You’ve got to be attracting newer business, and if you think it’s only the kids using mobile phones to search for restaurants you’re wrong. The baby boomers retiring now are very savvy when it comes to the internet. Maybe not as much as a 20 year old, but they aren’t slouches either. They search for restaurants online, and menus online just like the rest of us, and if you want to offer a relaxing mature environment they like, you need to be there online to sell it to them, or they’ll find somewhere else that fits the bill, and before you know it you’ll watch your regular customers pass on, and not be replaced by new regulars. Long term, even if you don’t want to market to young kids, you need to be online with a good website, that targets the audience you want.
oRestaurantDesign can help you make a website for your restaurant no matter what you’re trying to do. Whether you need a simple local restaurant website, or one that is hip and mysterious, or one that targets older customers. We can help you no matter what, along with advise you on what to do, how to do it, and we even help you set everything up, and can even help you do it all. Contact us to ask us how.