Social Media 101: Part 3 - Getting Fancy with Promoted Posts!

HADRIAN/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

HADRIAN/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Last week we mentioned some ideas for attracting and keeping people on your social media sites. But once you attract them, you’ve got to keep them. When customers see your posts, they think about you more. Of course, this leads them to visit your restaurant again!

There are a host of different promotional categories that you can choose to emphasize on for each week. Here are a few that we suggest you try: 

Advertise Promotions/Discounts
Let your customer know of ongoing or upcoming discount codes online – perhaps even social media only codes that customers can whisper in the restaurant to get a special discount. This can keep them coming back to your Facebook for the next discount!

Contests
If you’re feeling fun, you can create social media contests such as “Best Food Pictures,” or let customers name your newest dish via a post on your page. Just promote the contest via your social media and in your restaurant, and let your customers have fun!

Rewards
Give customers small rewards for signing up to be on your newsletter list, or “checking-in” at your restaurant on your Facebook page. Offer them a free soda the next time they come in, or a small discount off their meal.

Boosting Your Posts
You’ve got great content, discounts and contests, but you want to reach beyond the people who’ve “Liked” your page. Facebook does have a solution for this, and it comes in the form of “Promoted Posts.” Essentially, this can increase the effectiveness of the previously mentioned promotions (such as contests, rewards, and discounts) by broadening the audience that will see your post. For example, a post on your restaurant page may only reach a small amount of your followers without the “boost.” With the boost, this percentage can increase to more of your followers, or your followers and their friends. This ensures that more people see it!

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To do this, simply go on your page and create a post or select one from your page to be promoted. Then, click on the “promotion” tab to select your budget and start the campaign. That’s it, you’re done! After that, remember to check back at the post to see how well it did and improve for next time!

Whatever you decide to do, remember to stay fun and creative yet professional. Customers love restaurants that have an active presence and a personality online. Not only will promotions help you stay active in their minds, it will help develop a brand for you as well!

Social Media 101: Part 2 – How Should Restaurants Use Social Media?

You’ve gotten your accounts set up, you’ve invited your friends and family to like your Facebook page, and you’ve even created a profile picture and cover photo. Now what?

Getting started on social media can seem like a daunting task. Not only do you have to create a Facebook page, you have to keep it frequently updated with new posts and pictures.

CC IMAGE COURTESY OF FIVERLOCKER ON FLICKR

CC IMAGE COURTESY OF FIVERLOCKER ON FLICKR

Have no fear! Restaurants all over the world have tapped into the success formula of social media, and we’re here to give you some tips on how you can make your online presence a success too!

First, let’s go over what each of these social media sites do, so you’ll know where to post what:

  • Facebook: This is your primary social media account; your restaurant’s Facebook should be kept updated with your specials and hours. It should be used for promotions, updates, and to communicate with your fans!

    Want an example to follow? Poquitos in Seattle is an example of a restaurant doing it right!
    https://www.facebook.com/VivaPoquitos

  • Twitter: This is for posting little tidbits of information. It can be the same information as Facebook, but it’s also ok to be more frequent updates, for example photos during an event. It can be linked to your Facebook feed as well!
  • Instagram: Foodstagramming! We told you it was a big deal. Instagram is where your restaurant can post delicious food photos.
  • Pinterest: Pinterest is an image board that your restaurant can use to inspire customers with your food and recipes!


Now that you know the purpose of each social media websites, let’s go over what to post!

  • Post your new menu items, or maybe your daily specials via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
  • Encourage customers to come into your restaurant by posting discount codes and secret passwords only on your social media sites (and to frequently come back to your Facebook page to check out new discounts).
  • Be relevant! Post breakfast pictures at around 7-10AM to encourage your followers to come in if you’re a pancake house. If you’re a bar, make posts before a game so followers think of you before they go out. We recommend the Buffer app that can post at whatever time you want.
  • Contests and giveaways are always a fun way to engage with your customers online. Have your customers check-in when they visit your restaurant, mention your restaurant or sign up on your email list for a chance at a free dinner!
  • Be sure to always update your customers on new openings, extended hours, or remodels via your social media accounts!
  • Handle complaints or negative publicity directly, but politely. The customer is always right online. (See: Handling Negative Yelp Reviews for advice)

Now that you know what to post – go ahead and try some posts yourselves! Remember to come back next week for more tips on smart social media promotions!

Social Media 101: Part 1 - Setting Up Your Accounts

If you’re like most people outside of Generation Y, you’d roll your eyes when you think of social media. Why do we need to be glued to our phones all the time? Why do people need to know what you’re up to 24/7? 

Well, we wanted to start a three-part series of posts to help you understand why social media is important and how you can use it to help your restaurant. This post is the first part of the series.

CC IMAGE COURTESY OF JASON HOWIE ON FLICKR

CC IMAGE COURTESY OF JASON HOWIE ON FLICKR

In a world where “foodstagramming” is a thing, restaurateurs have to take note. Diners are frequently sharing pictures of their food, or “checking-in” to a restaurant whenever they are out via Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. These new practices are giving restaurant owners valuable free marketing. In fact, nearly 3 out of 4 customers say they have based their restaurant decisions on Facebook posts.

On the flip side, many restaurants have found success in keeping up with the social media world as well. Restaurant owners have been creating accounts on various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. that allow them to not only promote but connect with their customers. Many restaurants post pictures of their food, happy hours, and deals on their social media sites to keep their regulars coming back. A recent survey stated that 9 in 10 restaurateurs have said that social media will become a more important marketing tool! Now is the time to start investing in social media for your restaurant.

Now that we’ve (hopefully) got you convinced, it’s time that you get your social media site set up. Don’t worry; it’s much easier than you think. The first step is to create your restaurant’s site on each social media network. We’ve added relevant links below to help you create your restaurant pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Go ahead and create your pages on each of these services. In subsequent posts, we’ll go through how best to use each service to promote your restaurant.

Good Food + Service = Returning Customers!

If you’re like most restaurant owners, you’ve probably offered a promotion or discount before to drive business. Most customers jump at the opportunity for discounted food. They come inside, enjoy a nice meal, leave… and then you never see them again.

Good Food

How can we fix that?

Everyone in the restaurant industry knows that discounts help bring new customers, but the trick is bringing them in without cutting your prices. You want your customers back in your restaurant for the food, the service and the atmosphere. The key to that is consistency in your identity, service and quality of your food.

1. Identity
Your customers like to have a good sense of what to expect from a restaurant. If you are known as the restaurant with fast service, keep it up! If you are known for your affordable prices, don’t suddenly raise prices. You want to make sure every customer’s experience with your restaurant is consistent and solid with every visit. Define the identity of your restaurant, or take what you’re known for and make it the hallmark of your restaurant. Having this consistency will remind customers of what you have to offer, and bring them back every time they think of you!

2. Service
Everyone likes to feel special, including your customers! Even though you may be serving hundreds of people a day, make it a goal to get to know at least 3 customers everyday. What’s their name? Is this their first time to your restaurant? Are they from out of town? Perhaps you can spark a conversation with them about how your restaurant got its name, or how the recipes were developed. Once you’ve had a particularly striking conversation with a customer, remember their name and greet them the next time they come back.

3. Food
It may seem obvious, but at the end of the day your restaurant’s goal is serving great food. As a restaurant owner, you’ve got a ton of things going on. However, always remember that the quality of your food should always be the highest priority.

That’s it! Make sure you’re fulfilling these three key areas, while letting old and new customers stay updated with your restaurant website, and you’ll be sure to see returning customers soon!   

Cater to Your Local Customers

You’re a small restaurant owner, you want customers in the door but you’re competing with other restaurants, big chains and grocery stores. How do you get local customers to think of you first when they’re on the hunt for something to eat?

CC IMAGE COURTESY OF TEDxLasPalmas ON FLICKR

CC IMAGE COURTESY OF TEDxLasPalmas ON FLICKR

Local marketing!

Marketing your restaurant is all about starting out small. Think about things that are located within a 3-5 miles radius of your restaurant. Is there a school, a firehouse, a community center or a church? If there are, pick one or several places that you’d like to market to. When picking places to sponsor, remember your target market. Does your restaurant cater more to college students, families or health-conscious foodies? For example, if your food is more on the pricy side, you may not want to market to cash-strapped college students.

Once you’ve picked your preferred places to sponsor, reach out to them to see if there are any major upcoming events that you could offer coupons or promotional codes to. Better yet, check if they are open to letting you cater free or discounted food. Of course, this would be a large investment on your part so make sure that your restaurant, business card and website are well represented at the event. If all goes well, you’ll now have a partner in the community! What better way to bring in customers than to have great word-of-mouth advertising from a local partner? You will gain new customers from this partnership, earn some free marketing and may even make money on future events with these partners!  

How to claim your restaurant’s listing on Google, Yelp, and Foursquare

CC Image courtesy of Jamiesrabbits on Flickr

CC Image courtesy of Jamiesrabbits on Flickr

Long gone are the days when diners look for places to eat by opening the yellow pages. Recent studies have shown over 92% of consumers search for restaurants online. If your business isn’t listed in the right online directories, most customers won’t find you.

Life was simpler when you only had to worry about one phone directory. Now there are lots of online directories. By claiming your restaurant pages on the most popular sites, you'll help your customers find your hours, specials, and menus. The good news is that claiming your restaurant is completely free – there’s no reason not to do it!

Step 1: Claim you restaurant on each of these directories

  1. Google: This is where everyone starts; it’s essential for any restaurant.
    https://www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness/
  2. Yelp: Like it or not, millions of diners turn to Yelp – make sure your listing looks good.
    https://biz.yelp.com/claiming
  3. Foursquare: Foursquare check-ins help promote your business, for free.
    http://business.foursquare.com/listing/

Note: If your business isn’t listed yet, you’ll need to create a listing first.

Step 2: Update your information and photos.

Each of these directories gives you a way to add your restaurant’s location, hours, and photos. Take advantage of this free advertising and make sure your listing looks great!

Step 3: Engage with Customers.

Each of these services gives you ways to engage with your customers. For example, you can respond to reviews on Yelp and post check-in specials on Foursquare. Keep in mind that on the web when you engage with one customer, you’re actually talking to lots of customers. If you respond well to a negative review, other customers will appreciate your attempts. (For more tips, read our post on what to do with negative reviews.)

One final reason to claim your listing is that you’ll greatly improve your rankings on search results in Google through Search Engine Optimization. Linking your website from your online listings will dramatically increase traffic to your restaurant’s website. If you don’t have a website yet, check out Appetas. We create beautiful restaurant websites in minutes.

 

Guerrilla Marketing for Your Restaurant

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Guerrilla Marketing takes its name from guerrilla warfare, a fighting technique in which generally small groups of combatants use less traditional military tactics to fight larger (and less mobile) armies. Similarly, guerrilla marketers come up with creative, unconventional, and generally less expensive means to advertise their products to the world.

The key to great guerrilla marketing is to pick something that suits your restaurant really well and to make it unique. One great example is the Sushi Roll escalator, pictured here. By placing these stickers on the escalator handrails, Sushi Roll introduced consumers to the “sushi train” available inside their restaurant and caught consumers when they had time to look at an ad.

Another unique idea came from the Japanese restaurant Original Shundi. They simulated a Shuriken (throwing star) attack around their city by placing special Shuriken stickers on 1500 vehicles. The stickers provided their contact details and invited people into their restaurant. With a little imagination, they turned something people generally don’t like (having a sticker placed on their car) into an advertising opportunity that people talked about.

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Think about something that might suit your restaurant. If you’re a pizzeria located in a plaza, set up a pizza tossing competition out front. If you rely on delivery orders, come up with a really inventive menu that can be hung on people’s doors on it and spread it around the neighborhood.

You don’t need to be a marketing professional to succeed at guerrilla marketing. It’s all about having fun. So, give your staff some examples, ask for their ideas, and try something new.

National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

Chocolate covered bacon with caramel drizzle

Chocolate covered bacon with caramel drizzle

December marks one of the most fun and sweet-filled days of the year—and it’s not Christmas. Nine days before that other sweet-filled holiday, on December 16 each year, the US celebrates National Chocolate Covered Anything Day.

Cupcakes with some extra chocolate drizzle? Yes, please. Chocolate-dipped cheesecake squares? Yes, again. Ramen noodles covered in chocolate? Why not!

Consider using this under-appreciated holiday to bring some attention to your restaurant by creating your own unique chocolate covered confection and handing out samples on the street. We recommend thinking beyond the ordinary—make something unusual, but make sure it tastes good! Tell people what you’re celebrating as you hand out the samples and increase the likelihood that they will turn into a customer by including a lunch or dinner special for that week on their napkin.

There are plenty of other national days you can work into your marketing efforts. Take a look at the special days and weeks celebrated in December on the National Day Calendar.

 

Got a Negative Yelp Review for Your Restaurant? Here’s what to do. . . .

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Panic! No, we didn’t mean that really. Don’t panic. Negative Yelp reviews aren’t the end of the world. Every restaurant gets them, whether that’s because a server called in sick at the last minute and service was slow or because the customer just wants to complain (we know, it happens).

So, how do you react? Here’s what you should (and shouldn’t) do to improve your reputation.

Do

Post a polite public response apologizing and addressing the customer’s issue. Maybe invite them back in to your restaurant for a discount. Example: “Hi Jane, We’re sorry to hear your steak wasn’t done to your liking. If you’d like to come in again, our staff will work with you to make sure it’s done right. We’d be happy to offer you a free appetizer of your choice on your next visit.”

Don’t

Let’s say the negative review was from a super picky customer who was never going to be satisfied. How do you respond in that case? The same as above (though you may choose not to invite them back for a discount). Here’s an example of how not to respond: “Jane, you asked for your steak to be medium rare and then when the waiter brought it out you said it was pink in the middle and sent it back. We tried three more times and you kept sending it back, all while our other customers waited for their meals. You took up too much of our time and were rude to the waitstaff.” Sure, this may be true, but it won’t win you any friends online.

You should also avoid a back-and-forth battle with the customer. If you apologize in a polite manner and they respond negatively, it’s okay to ignore them. People reading the Yelp reviews will see that you have tried.

Remember, no good will come from ranting at your negative reviewers on Yelp, but a negative review can be turned around with some good customer service.

If the Yelpers are complaining that you don’t have a website, check out Appetas. We create restaurant websites in minutes.

How to Promote your Restaurant with Google AdWords

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Say you’ve already created a mobile-friendly website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. You’ve seen the increased traffic that comes into your restaurant from online marketing and you’re ready to try something else. You may want to turn to Google AdWords.

What’s that, you say? If you are a user of the Google search engine (the most popular search engine, with a 67% market share), you’ve seen the ads that pop up when you search almost any term. Well, companies are paying for those ad placements. Each time you click on one, they are charged some amount of money (it all depends on the bidding system) and you are taken to their web page.

This can be a great tool for restaurants, but it’s also one you need to keep an eye on.

Why it’s good

You are one of many food trucks/pizzerias/delis/etc. in your area. When people search “food trucks Seattle”, you want your website to be at the top of the list. Instead, you’re not even on the first page. But you can buy your way onto the first page with an ad.

Why it’s not so nice sometimes

It’s easy to spend money on AdWords, but harder to know whether it’s money well spent. You can set a maximum daily budget for your campaign to rein in spending, and you will only be charged for clicks on your ad, but make sure you also track business to make sure you are getting value from these ads.

How to get started

There are two options when using AdWords: Google AdWords Express or Google AdWords. We have never used AdWords Express, but Google is marketing it as an easier product for small businesses who want to advertise in their local markets. It has a few downsides over the standard product (you have less control of the details, the reporting isn’t as thorough, and the results may not be quite as good), but it takes significantly less time to manage.  On the other hand, the standard Google AdWords product is complicated, but it gives you thorough reports and complete control over your keywords and bids.

Not sure which option is right for you? Here is a good article comparing the two services.

If you decide to go with the standard product, once you set up your account, visit the Keyword Planner and search for terms you might be interested in bidding on. The key is to think about what potential customers will be typing into the search tool—terms like “best food truck Seattle” or “food carts Seattle”. You can narrow your campaign by location so you’re not targeting the entire country. For beginners, we recommend setting a maximum daily budget for the campaign and letting Google do the bidding for you (set default max CPC—or cost per click—to auto).

If you have yet to build a mobile-friendly website, check out Appetas. We provide beautiful restaurant websites in minutes!

The Appetas Partner and Affiliate Programs

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This past May, the Appetas team headed to the National Restaurant Association show to release our product to restaurant owners from around the country. We soon discovered they weren't the only ones interested in Appetas. Restaurant technology and service companies approached us, explaining that their restaurant merchants were seeking website services. They asked whether we could provide our website builder platform to their customers. We were also approached by design agencies and restaurant consultants wanting to provide their customers with Appetas websites. Seeing the opportunity to help more restaurants get online quickly and easily (our ultimate goal), we began the Appetas Partner and Affiliate Programs.

Via the Partner Program, companies with established offerings and distribution channels to restaurant merchants are able to offer their customers websites built in minutes on the Appetas platform. We provide the technology platform and customer support, our partners provide the sales and marketing distribution. Partners can use their own brand name through our white-label and co-branding features. Our launch partners for the program are Restaurant.com and Granbury Restaurant Solutions.

 The Affiliate Program is intended for individuals and agencies with a merchant base of fewer than 100 restaurants. This program provides an easy way for consultants, design agencies, and others to offer their clients beautiful websites. Appetas-approved affiliates receive 25% of the annual or monthly fee paid by customers they bring to the Appetas platform.

For more details regarding the Appetas Partner or Affiliate Programs, give us a call at 1-800-872-6618 or fill out this form.

Black Friday is the Slowest Day for Restaurant Business

The holiday season is a generally busy time for restaurants. Families reunited for the holidays gather together around your tables, shoppers collapse in your chairs, and friends who haven’t seen each other in months grab a drink at your bar.

However, for many restaurants, Black Friday (aka the day after Thanksgiving) is the slowest day of the year (according to a study by Copilot Labs). What should you do when your tables are empty? Start prepping for the busy time that is just around the corner by getting your restaurant’s new website set up! Restaurant sites built with Appetas help you handle the busy times by providing your customers with online menus, reservations, and ordering.*

Your website can be up in just a few minutes and you can move on to thinking about your holiday specials. Speaking of holiday specials, we have one as well (though it’s not of the food variety):

From Friday, November 29, through Friday, December 6 new Appetas customers receive 50% off the annual established plan for the first year of service. In addition, new Appetas customers always receive a 2 week free trial and annual customers receive a free custom domain name. To redeem the special, select the established plan on our holiday special pricing page and enter the discount code HOLIDAY at checkout. You can also give us a call at 1-800-872-6618. Happy Holidays!

 

*Online reservations and ordering available with established and full service plans. These services are provided by our partners. Additional setup and fees may apply.

What’s your Restaurant’s Social Media Voice?

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We’ve talked a lot about why your restaurant needs a website (Appetas is a website builder, after all), but to effectively market your restaurant, you should have a social media presence.  This means a Facebook page at a minimum, but preferably a twitter handle as well. 

Stumped as to what to post? The key to finding your social media voice is knowing your market. If your restaurant is all about local sourcing, write about where you are getting your ingredients for dinner. More of an ambiance place? Mention the band that is playing that night or link to a video of your bartender making the perfect tropical beverage.

Always popular things to post to get people in the door: happy hour deals, food specials, and photos of your most beautiful dishes.

You don’t need to post on social media every day, though if you have something interesting to say, it doesn’t hurt.  We suggest a minimum of three times per week and a maximum of once a day.

Want to save some time? There are plenty of services that will blast your post out to your accounts on multiple social networking sites. Here’s a post on the top 10.

Why Food Trucks Need Websites Too

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As a food truck owner, you’re always on the move, but that doesn’t mean your web presence should be a moving target. Although you offer a less formal dining experience, your customers still want a website where they can find the essentials: your menu, hours, specials, and a schedule of the locations where your truck can be found. Consider it your truck’s home base.

Think your Facebook page is a suitable web solution? You could be missing out on a huge number of customers: 33% of adults in the US aren’t on Facebook and, of those who are, 61% admit to taking breaks from the site for weeks at a time (according to a Pew Internet study).

Another essential? A mobile-friendly website. Mobile device traffic accounts for 40% of visitors to restaurant websites. And we would venture to say the numbers are even higher for food trucks. Why? Because people are often out and about when looking for your truck.

We know with all the things you have going on, getting a website up might sound like an insurmountable obstacle, but with Appetas, it can be done in minutes from your iPad or desktop. Choose from one of our beautiful design templates (you can also customize your themes, fonts, and colors), add your info and photos, and publish your site. You can update your website anytime—changing your location and hours for the day or adding any specials you might have. And you don’t need our help to do any of it!

Should you want some help (or have any questions), just give us a call at 800-872-6618 or send us an email. We’d be happy to hear from you!

 

Six Reasons Not to Use Flash on Your Restaurant Website

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Let’s start with the basics: what is Flash? Flash (aka Adobe Flash) is a multimedia technology that allows web developers to create animations and interactive content on a website. Flash websites can be beautiful and fun. So why don’t you want one?

Here’s why:

  1.  To view a Flash website, visitors must have a plugin installed. Although most web browsers have the plugin pre-installed, some do not.
  2. Many mobile phones do not support Flash. With 40% of restaurant website traffic coming from mobile devices, a Flash website could lose you a lot of customers.
  3. Flash can make your page take a loooong time to load. People are impatient—according to this New York Times article, users will abandon a website if it takes more than 400 milliseconds (the blink of an eye) to load.
  4. On a Flash site, users can’t click on your phone number to give you a call to make a reservations or copy your address into a mapping tool.
  5. The browser's “back” button does not work on most Flash websites. This means that even if the consumer has viewed 7 pages on your site, if they press back, they will be sent to the page they were visiting prior to your site. They may never return.
  6. Flash websites are difficult for search engines to read. To put it simply: you want search engines crawling your webpage. This helps your restaurant website show up in search results on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

Not using Flash doesn’t mean you have to settle for an ugly website. Appetas offers beautiful templated solutions for your restaurant website. You can even customize your fonts, colors, and themes—all without the assistance of a developer. Get started now with our free 14 day trial.

The Importance of Menus on Restaurant Websites

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Restaurants are all about food. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely true. They’re also about ambiance and community and spending time with friends and family. But mostly they’re about food. Therefore, it should go without saying that every restaurant website needs to include a menu. Yet nearly 30% of them don’t. Out of those who do, many of the menus are only available in Flash (making them not readable on mobile devices and often slow to load) or require consumers to spend time downloading large PDF files. Why not link straight to your menu? It’s what consumers want!

Need more proof?  80% of consumers think it’s important to see a menu before dining at a restaurant and 70% of consumers think it’s important to be able to read the menu on a mobile device.

Websites made with Appetas include a navigation link that takes diners directly to a beautiful version of the restaurant’s menu. And we now offer Locu integration. What is Locu? It’s a free service used by many restaurant owners to keep track of the latest version of their menu and garner new business by showcasing to the menu on Yelp, facebook, OpenTable, and other popular sites.

Restaurants that already use Locu will have their menu automatically added to their Appetas website. Don’t have Locu yet? Not a problem! Your Appetas package includes a free account with Locu. With Locu integration, we can send a copy of your menu directly to Locu and have it up on your website within 48 hours (usually less), styled with the same theme, colors, and fonts you selected for the rest of the site.

Appetas restaurant website menu sample

Appetas restaurant website menu sample

Customized Themes, Colors, and Fonts for Your Restaurant Website

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Some of our customers find the exact design they’re looking for among Appetas’ many templates. Others come to us with a specific vision of what they want—the perfect background image, color palette, and font. Now folks in the latter group can use our ridiculously simple editor to self-customize their site design.

How’s it done?

  1. Visit the editor for your website (if you haven’t created a site yet, enter your restaurant info on the homepage, click “preview your site”, and fill in the sign-up form to start your 14 day free trial—no credit card required).
  2. Click the paintbrush on the left to bring up the theme options.
  3. At the bottom of the box, click the “Customize Theme” button.
  4. Choose whether you would like to change the background, colors, or fonts.
  5. Follow the instructions below depending on which area you would like to change

Customizing your site’s Background

Choose from one of the theme options in the box OR drag and drop your own background image in the space provided OR click “Choose File” to upload your background image.

Tip: You’ll need a high quality photo for your background. We recommend a professional photo of your restaurant’s interior or exterior.

Customizing your site’s Color Palette

Color Palette Selector

Color Palette Selector

Choose a color palette in the dropdown OR click “Customize Colors” to select the precise color for headers, text, etc.

Tip: If you have a logo, pick some of the colors from your logo for your website’s color palette.

 Customizing your site’s Fonts

Choose a font option in the dropdown.

 It’s sort of like Instagramming your website. Go ahead, give it a try. Have another feature suggestion? Drop us a note. We’d love to hear from you.

 

Restaurant Owners: Why You Need a Mobile Version of Your Website

An Appetas customer's mobile website

An Appetas customer's mobile website

According to a study from restaurant analytics company Restaurant Sciences, a whopping 95% of independent restaurants and nearly 90% of full service restaurants do not have a mobile website.

If you’re a restaurant owner, you need to have a mobile version of your website. A “mobile website” does not simply mean that your website is viewable on a phone—it means your website is designed to be viewed on a phone. Customers aren’t likely to spend 15 minutes on a non mobile-friendly site, zooming into every bit of text until they find the information they are searching for. And since 84% of diners are likely to look at more than one restaurant website when deciding where to eat (according to research by SinglePlatform and Chadwick Martin Bailey), who’s going to win their business—the restaurant with or without a mobile-friendly site?

We know restaurant owners have an overwhelming number of things on their plates (no pun intended), but consider the numbers: nearly half of consumers visiting restaurant websites are doing so on a mobile device and over 80% of consumers searched for a restaurant using a mobile application in a 6-month period (SinglePlatform, Chadwick Martin Bailey). Are you prepared to lose all these potential customers because they can’t view your website on their smartphone?

We didn’t think so. So, what’s a busy restaurant owner to do?

We recommend turning to a templated solution like Appetas, which allows you to create a mobile-friendly website in a few minutes. No technical or design expertise needed! You can even test your site out with our free 14 day trial (no credit card required).

 

Seven Things Customers Want from a Restaurant Website

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Restaurant websites have a bad rap—and perhaps deservedly so. Customers have seen too many sites that don’t include menus, aren't readable on mobile devices, or are just plain ugly. Even worse—many restaurants have no website at all. Gasp!

Every restaurant should have a website. This does not just mean they can be found on Yelp or Facebook, but a site of their own. According to research by SinglePlatform and Chadwick Martin Bailey, restaurants are the most searched industry on web and mobile devices (over 90% of consumers searched for a restaurant online in a 6-month period). If you don’t have a site, you’re missing customers.

But just having a website isn’t enough. You may still be missing customers if your website isn’t good. You care about your customers having a good experience starting when they walk through the door, right? Well, consider your website the door. It is often a customer’s first impression of you.

Creating a good restaurant website is not as hard as you may think—customers only want a handful of things. Here are the basics:

  1. The website exists. (Did we mention this already? This is a big one, folks.)
  2. They can easily view a menu. (Easily—as in it does not require a PDF download and it’s not in Flash.)
  3. It’s mobile-readable. (According to the study discussed above, over 80% of consumers visited a restaurant website from a mobile device in a 6-month period.)
  4. Restaurant hours and location are listed. (Extra points for a link to Google Maps.)
  5. They can make an online reservation.
  6. They can read about specials, events, and promotions.
  7. The website looks nice.

That’s it. Seven little things. And they don’t require a website built from scratch. Templated solutions like Appetas allow restaurants to create a branded website that meets all these criteria in a few minutes. Know a local restaurant that could use some help? Let them know they can try Appetas free for 14 days.