There are 990,000 restaurants in the United States, and more are opening each year. Unfortunately, of the eateries who try to make a go of it, nearly 60% fail in their first year. In more competitive areas, like New York City, that failure rate spikes to around 80%. While the reasons behind the failure of restaurants are numerous, the internet is providing restaurateurs with an important and effective way to improve their chances of making it in these treacherous waters.
The Role of the Web in Restaurant Marketing
By this point, if you don’t have a website for your business, advertising, at the very least, your name, address, and phone number, you’re way behind the game. Of course, even if you do have a website for your restaurant, you need to go beyond those basic bits of information.
One of the best things you can do to improve your business via your website is including your most up-to-date menu. Keep in mind, the Internet Age is all about convenience, so if your customers can’t find out what your establishment has to offer without a fuss, chances are good they’re going to choose a restaurant that offers that convenience instead. In fact, 80% of customers say they want to see a restaurant’s menu online before they’ll even consider eating at that restaurant. Clearly, failing to put your menu online is going to harm your bottom-line.
The Internet is No Panacea
That being said, you shouldn’t assume that your failing restaurant is just a result of poor internet marketing, although that undoubtedly plays a role. Success in 2014 is about taking a holistic approach to the restaurant industry. Poor accounting, bad people skills, and the inability to lead your employees all play a huge role in the success of your restaurant. Improving on those issues and addressing your online marketing are effective tactics you should regularly employ to be a successful restaurateur.
Joining local restaurant tours is another great way to get your restaurant out there in a fun way. Hudson Valley restaurants have been banning together for 10 years now for the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. Held from March 10 to March 23, this touring event includes eateries from Albany to New Paltz, drawing much needed attention to restaurants offering some of the best food in the state. Coupling this sort of exposure with a renewed focus on internet marketing can make for a powerful advertising tool.
If anybody ever tells you that running a restaurant successfully is a walk in the park, they’re lying. Very few people will become the next Gordon Ramsay or Masuharu Morimoto. By taking web marketing seriously and optimizing all the moving parts of what makes a business successful, however, you might just have a shot.