I'm stumped... How would you explain the benefits of an Online presence to a restaurant owner??

36 replies
hey everyone.

i'm looking to venture into Offline marketing.

i've read previous posts pertaining to this topic mentioning
the fact that services (eg. web design etc) can be offered to
restaurants.

i'm curious though. how would you actually explain the benefits
of having an Online presence to these owners?

would you simply say "having a website high up on Google will help
you build brand awareness and attract more customers?"

or would you take a different approach?

i would greatly appreciate your feedback!

cheers
#benefits #explain #online #owner #presence #restaurant #stumped
  • Profile picture of the author rugman
    I would tend to go towards the - people are searching for you and you are not showing up on the Google local search" tactic. Any business that is not showing up that I am interested in I send them a letter. On the bottom of the letter I insert a picture of a screenshot that shows their competitors being listed in the "luck 7". Follow up with a visit or phone call. Try and get in the door with anything you can - Google local listing - email marketing - SMS text marketing - anything they can use.
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  • Profile picture of the author sloanjim
    do many people really go on Google and look ofr restaurants? It's all well having a nice shiny site top of the S.E.'s but if customers aren't looking is there relaly a point to it all?
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    • Profile picture of the author HaydenR
      Originally Posted by sloanjim View Post

      do many people really go on Google and look ofr restaurants? It's all well having a nice shiny site top of the S.E.'s but if customers aren't looking is there relaly a point to it all?
      This is where keyword research comes in handy. Do the keyword research first and give them the actual statistics. E.g. There's 1,000 people looking for "Japanese Buffet Restaurants" and they're all going to your competitors.

      If you feel an industry gets too little search volume then don't go into that industry. Personally, I like to target keywords that get at least 800 local search before I go into it.
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      • Profile picture of the author katehblog
        HaydenR and sdentrepreneur are both right! It's all about how you present the benefits. Choose the right keywords, show them that the competition is doing it better than they are right now.
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      • Profile picture of the author Riz
        Offline business owners, whether a Restaurant or any other business category understand 2 things:

        1) Increased Sales
        2) Increased profits

        If you can show them how any marketing, online or offline can help them increase sales and profits then they will no doubt listen to what you have to say.

        The difficulty lies in actually knowing how to arrange a meeting with the decsion maker either by telephone, or in person.

        There are many startegies, including cold calling, direct mail, referals, email etc to make the first contact.

        Once you are able to arrange that meeting then the rest is easy if you are able to communicate the benefits to the owners relating it to increases in sales and profits.

        If you confuse them with internet jargon like 'increased ranking', 'seo' etc they are most likely not going to be able to relate that to increases in their sales and profits which are the only 2 things they are interested in.

        Restaurants have repeat customers and can benefit from many different IM related services. Lets take a basic example of email marketing or a facebook page where they can communicate with their fans. If a Restaurant through these channels can make a regular customer come into their restaurant twice a month as opposed to once a month via regular communication the Restaurant has immediately doubled their profit from that one regular customer.

        The bottom line is whatever business you are dealing with you must ensure you communicate the benefits to them of the services you can offer by relating it to how they can increase their sales and profits.

        Riz
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      • Profile picture of the author nigelchua
        Originally Posted by HaydenR View Post

        This is where keyword research comes in handy. Do the keyword research first and give them the actual statistics. E.g. There's 1,000 people looking for "Japanese Buffet Restaurants" and they're all going to your competitors.

        If you feel an industry gets too little search volume then don't go into that industry. Personally, I like to target keywords that get at least 800 local search before I go into it.
        I agree with this. When I was selling SEOs and sites last time, I would do my due diligence first by identifying the eatery/restaurant's specialties, and run a keyword search identifying how many people are searching this particular keyword in their area, and how much their competitors are benefiting, AND then give them a solution to their lack of presence.
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      • Profile picture of the author nigelchua
        Originally Posted by HaydenR View Post

        This is where keyword research comes in handy. Do the keyword research first and give them the actual statistics. E.g. There's 1,000 people looking for "Japanese Buffet Restaurants" and they're all going to your competitors.

        If you feel an industry gets too little search volume then don't go into that industry. Personally, I like to target keywords that get at least 800 local search before I go into it.
        I agree with this. When I was selling SEOs and sites last time, I would do my due diligence first by identifying the eatery/restaurant's specialties, and run a keyword search identifying how many people are searching this particular keyword in their area, and how much their competitors are benefiting, AND then give them a solution to their lack of presence.
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    • Profile picture of the author Riz
      Originally Posted by sloanjim View Post

      do many people really go on Google and look ofr restaurants? It's all well having a nice shiny site top of the S.E.'s but if customers aren't looking is there relaly a point to it all?
      Of course they do, and a little keyword research will show just how many. the bigger the city the higher the search volume for Restaurants is likely to be.

      Also, some businesses might not require a high search volume. For example, a motor bike dealer has high transaction values and only need a small amount of monthly searches to make it worth their while to appear on the first page of Google.

      Riz
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      • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
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        Originally Posted by Riz View Post

        Of course they do, and a little keyword research will show just how many. the bigger the city the higher the search volume for Restaurants is likely to be.
        A little keyword research will show that, outside the major cities, most restaurants(heck, most local searches period) get little if any searches. That's why most of the businesses that hire a someone for local marketing are getting taken for a ride.

        Also, some businesses might not require a high search volume. For example, a motor bike dealer has high transaction values and only need a small amount of monthly searches to make it worth their while to appear on the first page of Google.

        Riz
        It depends on how much they are getting fleeced for each month by their local "consultant".
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        • Profile picture of the author Riz
          Originally Posted by Black Hat Cat View Post

          A little keyword research will show that, outside the major cities, most restaurants(heck, most local searches period) get little if any searches. That's why most of the businesses that hire a someone for local marketing are getting taken for a ride.



          It depends on how much they are getting fleeced for each month by their local "consultant".
          Well not all consultants are made the same way and not everyone is out to fleece others. If there are consultants 'fleecing' a monthly fee from a client that they are not really helping then it would take a rather dumb business owner to continue to pay that consultant.

          Business owners are not dumb, well at least not most of them.

          If the consultant is fleecing his clients then they won't last very long in the buisness.

          I have many restaurant clients that have used services from SEO to List management and i can safely say that each and every one of them has profited far greater than my fees.

          Riz
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          • Profile picture of the author JamieSEO
            Riz has provided some great points.

            The first thing I consider when dealing with offline clients is how internet savvy are they?

            Many small businesses that still do not have any online presence are uncomfortable with computers and the internet, so absolutely no tech talk. Typically you need to use older methods such as in person meetings and letters. I do not recommend cold calling, instead I usually send a nice letter with a brochure to the business, then follow up with a phone call later that week.

            It costs you a bit more, however I have found it has a much higher success rate.

            I have a bunch of brochure, letter and other templates that I created for myself that I will soon be putting up as a WSO. If you think these could help you just PM me and I'll send you a free review copy.
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            • Profile picture of the author JamieSEO
              Originally Posted by JamieSEO View Post

              I have a bunch of brochure, letter and other templates that I created for myself that I will soon be putting up as a WSO. If you think these could help you just PM me and I'll send you a free review copy.
              Thanks for the PM's - review copies have now been sent out to those that contacted me first. The WSO will go up in a few days
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    • Profile picture of the author nigelchua
      Originally Posted by sloanjim View Post

      do many people really go on Google and look ofr restaurants? It's all well having a nice shiny site top of the S.E.'s but if customers aren't looking is there relaly a point to it all?
      Actually, they do - to find out what eateries and restaurants are nearby, and better still, how much they costs and what people are saying about the food and place. Research before eating. =p
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  • Profile picture of the author Digital Traffic
    If you have to work that hard to convince them, then you must not have properly qualified them in the first place.

    I would just make them aware of how many of their patrons are busy using their smart phones while they are frequenting their restaurant.

    Surely if they have a decent amount of younger employees, they must realize how attached to their phones that people have become.

    Then ask, what percentage of that traffic is your web site currently receiving?
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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    I have several big clients that are restaurants.

    I show a new potential client how they should show up on a Google Maps Search and also show them Facebook/Twitter pages that have large followings and interactions (my clients). I also show them how people search on their smart phones and are posting items like Foursquare and Yelp Check Ins.
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    • Profile picture of the author TSDMike
      Originally Posted by sdentrepreneur View Post

      I have several big clients that are restaurants.

      I show a new potential client how they should show up on a Google Maps Search and also show them Facebook/Twitter pages that have large followings and interactions (my clients). I also show them how people search on their smart phones and are posting items like Foursquare and Yelp Check Ins.
      I would also show them how sites like Urbanspoon can influence buying decisions - in this case when deciding where to eat.

      Do a little research and show them how others are doing well. Put together a case study or two and how it is benefiting their business. I typically point out a local restaurant called the Twisted Rooster - their FB page is here* and they do a nice job that illustrates what the potential is when you do it right.

      *I am not affiliated with Twisted Rooster in any way.
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  • Profile picture of the author cma01
    I look up restaurant sites on Google to find their hours and view the menu. If they have delivery and/or online ordering, that's a plus.

    Why wouldn't a restaurant have a web site? Do they have all the loyal customers they could ever possibly want? Even if that is true, people do die and move away.

    A lot of restaurants get people to sign up on their list and then email a special birthday offer.
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  • Profile picture of the author 10kperday
    92% of all local online searches result in a sale.

    Nuff said.
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  • Profile picture of the author sloanjim
    ok fair enough..i never have.

    Of course they do, and a little keyword research will show just how many. the bigger the city the higher the search volume for Restaurants is likely to be.
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  • Profile picture of the author jsherloc
    Honestly, aside from getting the restaurant to show up for the more generic geo-related terms, example: "smithville mexican food" "smithville mexican restaraunt" etc....

    In my experience the BIGGEST issue that restaurant owners need to tackle is online reputation management. The food business is definitely one where A LOT of people are going to be reading what other people have to say about the overall quality of the food and their dining experience. The industry also attracts a lot of jealousy from local competitors, as it is clear some of the reviews being left on social media/review sites are not really compeltely legitimate all the time.

    Make sure they have a presence on all of the major "community review" sites too. Oftentimes the local TV station and/or local newspaper company will own these types of review sites.

    So, I'd say that an online presence on all of the community review and community dining sites PLUS a solid marketing plan to increase and leverage/syndicate these online reviews should be a vital ingredient for your solution...on top of the regular organic SEO stuff. And the mailing list/SMS list should be included ASAP too. Also, depending on what area you are working in, QR codes for restaurants can do some amazing things if you plan them out correctly. Though in more rural areas this might be a bit tougher...

    - Jim
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  • Profile picture of the author grin
    I have friends that do NOTHING but restaurants. Also, having worked at them when I was in high school, I know they are some of the most interested in advertising where ever they can. My buddy actually does "expert" ebooks with them and starts out by selling them a how to use email advertising effectively for restaurants. After that, they all started coming to him looking for more advice etc.

    They use email lists very well, or anything that can deliver coupons and specials. Google places of course has a coupon section, and Groupon and so many other places. You could easily even convince them to have a weird billboard with a QR code on it that has titled heading that says "What the hell is this?"

    Basically, anyway you can get a "come in on Thursday coupon" will get you in the door. Also, they have problems keeping full in between certain times; some are classic others have odd hours when they empty out and would rather at least have three or more tables going as opposed to completely empty. All of which they can benefit from online campaigns, email lists, mobile and just about everything. They actually need it more than most companies do.

    On the short end you can explain it to them that it used to be if you typed in "hamburger" in a search engine, it would return the entire global result and now it goes for the nearest location result. Many people still don't get that yet. Your ISP server is geo-located and so is your mobile device, so one way or another the searches are all leaning towards "jane smith is in Springfiled USA" so she must want some page that is located nearby, as opposed to just whatever page comes up the most times.

    However, just like most internet based marketing, list building is HUGE.
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    • Profile picture of the author johninmn
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    I love finding new places to eat. How else would I do this other than the internet? Now, I don't usually use random searches. I am usually on a few community and review sites checking out what people have to say.

    So, SEO may be useful to them, but having a social presence and managing their reputation is more important IMHO.
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    • Profile picture of the author midasman09
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      I'm sorry.....the "average" owner of a restaurant CAN be approached, IN person!

      In my Advertising Career....I have,
      1) Walked into HNUDREDS of restaurants...with my advertising sample in hand AND..."Rate Sheet" in my Binder
      2) Asked the Name of the Owner (If they say "Corporate"...I leave)
      3) Owner comes toward me...I hand him/her my "Mock-Up" sample and tell them HOW I can "Bring Them More DINERS" (aka, "FILL their seats!)
      4) They then...look up at me and ask, "How much?"....at which time I tell them.....they pause a minute...then (because they either know THEY can have an exclusive...or....they see that some of their competitors are ALREADY participating {depending on the program})...so.....they either say; "OK! I'll go!"....or.."Nah! Not for me!"....at which time I take my Mock-Up Sample out of their hands, thank them for their time...and leave... HOWEVER.... because of a thing called "EGO"....I have been able to CLOSE...80% of restaurant owners I'm able to SHOW my program/s to!

      However....the reason why I'm able to get restaurant owners into MY programs...is because I ENJOY.....seeing prospects....IN PERSON! So....there will ALWAYS be opportunities for me (and people like me)....who do NOT depend on the "Phone" or "PC Keyboard" to SEE the "decision-makers"!

      Don Alm....STILL selling..."Face-To-Face"
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      • Profile picture of the author JamieSEO
        Originally Posted by midasman09 View Post

        I'm sorry.....the "average" owner of a restaurant CAN be approached, IN person!

        In my Advertising Career....I have,
        1) Walked into HNUDREDS of restaurants...with my advertising sample in hand AND..."Rate Sheet" in my Binder
        2) Asked the Name of the Owner (If they say "Corporate"...I leave)
        3) Owner comes toward me...I hand him/her my "Mock-Up" sample and tell them HOW I can "Bring Them More DINERS" (aka, "FILL their seats!)
        4) They then...look up at me and ask, "How much?"....at which time I tell them.....they pause a minute...then (because they either know THEY can have an exclusive...or....they see that some of their competitors are ALREADY participating {depending on the program})...so.....they either say; "OK! I'll go!"....or.."Nah! Not for me!"....at which time I take my Mock-Up Sample out of their hands, thank them for their time...and leave... HOWEVER.... because of a thing called "EGO"....I have been able to CLOSE...80% of restaurant owners I'm able to SHOW my program/s to!

        However....the reason why I'm able to get restaurant owners into MY programs...is because I ENJOY.....seeing prospects....IN PERSON! So....there will ALWAYS be opportunities for me (and people like me)....who do NOT depend on the "Phone" or "PC Keyboard" to SEE the "decision-makers"!

        Don Alm....STILL selling..."Face-To-Face"
        Excellent post - there is absolutely NO form of communication that is better than face to face, and walking into a business so that an owner can see that *gasp* you are actually a human being, does wonders for sale conversions.
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  • Profile picture of the author spader
    It will depend actually if the owner caters delivery sort kind of services; if they do then you can introduce getting online orders plus its benefit aside from the sale.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      I check out new restaurants all the time online - I want to see the menu - photos of the interior are good - the general attitude conveyed by the site makes a difference.

      Places is important as is SEO but you connect with the owners pn the topic of customers/diners - that's what they need most.
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  • Profile picture of the author hotlinkz
    I would go the mobile route. It's more fitting for restaurants. People really do use mobile devices to locate and contact restaurants while they are on the go.

    Show them how the mobile web is expanding and the imminent probability that their competitors will soon be implementing the technology.
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  • Profile picture of the author Prashant_W
    wow! thanks for the response! i'm pretty overwhelmed! will go through this thread! thanks once again
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  • Profile picture of the author ADukes81
    If a business owner cannot see the power of having an online he/she is out of their mind. Go back in 6 months and pitch to the new owner.

    It's 2011 and EVERY business needs to have an online presence. Absolutely ridiculous to think they are "on the fence" about it.

    So many routes you could go..
    -Website
    -Facebook page
    -YouTube
    -Twitter
    -Yelp
    -Foursquare
    -Mobile site
    -SMS messaging
    -Email marketing
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  • Profile picture of the author TrumpiaTim
    An online and mobile marketing presence will allow restaurants to connect further with their clients and keep them updated on ongoing promotions and news. Doing so will increase their value in terms of branding along with having a greater retention rate of customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Tell them they can open a cyber cafe and serve virtual food for dieters. For those who dont mind spending that extra dollar to get Zero Calories.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ant Marshall
    There's countless way's this can improve their business!

    Seriously, when I'm looking for somewhere to take a friend or a lady, the first thing I do is google and then look for reviews.

    Well first of all they can have their menu online so people can see what kind of food they do whereas another restaurant nearby may not have this feature and will automatically give them the upper hand.

    Secondly, it's getting their BRAND out there. It will make them more recognisable in the area for anyone search restaurants in the area and will make people remember. It will play on there minds and they will start saying, "Hey we will try that place soon".

    Thirdly, anyone who doesn't live in the area and is looking for somewhere to eat when they get there is going to see them on google.

    Having a website is VITAL now-a-days. I don't know the last time I picked up the yellow pages looking for somewhere to eat. Seriously, I don't need to. If I want to go somewhere I google it and if the restaurant isn't up on there I just assume they don't exist.

    Hope I've helped.
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  • Profile picture of the author mouseffects
    I prefer to go the text messaging route with restaurants. With a 96% open rate (84% within 10 minutes) they can deliver instant "flyers" to their list when they want/need to.

    When I go in and talk to them I explain it in language they understand. Just like above, I equate text marketing to flyers and the ability to get it in their customer's hands right away. "Slow day" specials, sending the message right before lunch or right before they get off of work, etc. I use the "What if" approach... "What if you had as little as 100 people on your test messaging (VIP Club) program? If you sent a message 1/2 hr before [lunch/supper] and 84 of those people read it immediately, how many of those people do you think would come here based on your offer? (Shut up for about 10 seconds.) Now, what if you had 200 or 300 or 1000?" Le the customer estimate it to themselves. Everyone has a different perception of marketing success. They will think of the number that is attractive to them because they WANT IT TO WORK.

    When I talk Google Places, the easiest way to explain the importance is to equate it to the phone book. In November 2009 (two years ago) statistics said that only 31% of US households have a phone book and people under 35 don't have them at all.

    Google Places has now become the new Yellow Pages and this is their opportunity to get on the first page; later it'll cost more to do the same thing. Because, if you are not on page 1, you might as well not be there at all. Every restaurant in the world knows the importance of being in the Yellow Pages. You just have to point out that it's no longer in print (and it's NOT yp.com either).

    QR Codes are also an outstanding marketing product for restaurants because people are sitting waiting for their food. A table tent with QR & instructions produces results.

    The biggest thing, as pointed out numerous times here, is NOT to sell them but to HELP them get customers (increase profits).

    Get in with a small monthly fee (QRs or text for example) then, after they trust you, upsell them into other things. It's common knowledge that it's easier to sell something to someone you already have a relationship with than having to go out and find others.

    If you want any more info about any of this, PM me and I'll be happy to share.
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