The Challenges of the Modern-Day Restauranteur – What are They and How can HIN Group help you Overcome them?

Today’s food & beverage industry is more challenging then ever before – just ask any one of Sydney’s many restauranteurs. As Sydney’s hospitality industry continues to grow, more and more restaurants are popping up every day. Along with this, the movement towards the internet means restaurants not only compete with other local establishments, but with venues all over Sydney for share of wallet. Furthermore, the epic rise of interactive food blog sites, social media, and customer review websites has shifted the power to diners, who can share opinions, communicate directly with restaurants, and rate past dining experiences for the benefit of fellow consumers.

In this hyper-competitive and challenging hospitality landscape, it is harder than ever to draw customer interest and attention. So, how can you make sure that your restaurant not only stays afloat, but thrives in this environment?

Unfortunately, while providing quality cuisine and a memorable dining experience is crucial, it often doesn’t quite cut it. There are countless fantastic Sydney venues that have struggled due to an inability to draw in customers. This is where HIN Group can help. Our team have the skills, knowledge, and resources to make sure that your restaurant shines bright.

Here’s a few ways we can work together:

  1. Website design and SEO: A website is often one of the first touch points between you and a potential customer. We can make sure that your website is engaging, informational, interactive, and memorable. Also, we are search-engine optimisation experts, and can implement strategies that will ensure your website is found by consumers in the overloaded internet environment.
  2. Social Media: Let’s be honest. Anyone can create a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account. However, it is a lot more difficult to make sure that these accounts are optimised and integrated in their ability to deliver the right message at the right time, and to the right audience. We can make sure your restaurant does this, and can also develop social media marketing strategies which take full advantage of highly interactive and functional social media platforms.
  3. Events: What better way is there to gain a competitive edge and generate a buzz than to gain the support of expert critics and bloggers? We can set up events at your venue, where you will have the opportunity to showcase your best dishes to critics who have high credibility, and a huge audience of potential customers.

Search Engine Optimisation: The Basics for your Restaurant

As a restaurant owner, you may or may not have heard of Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO for short). For those who haven’t, SEO consists of those activities which improve the visibility of your website on search engines, such as Google and Bing. The key to SEO is that it does not imply paying search engines. To add some context, imagine that you are searching for an Italian restaurant in the CBD on Google. Typically, the first search result will be an advertisement, where a restaurant actually pays Google to appear as the highest search result for the specific keywords searched. The ranking of all results below the advertisement section is based on a range of factors, such as relevance of the website to the keywords searched, and the popularity of the site. SEO activities are undertaken with the objective of moving a restaurant as close to the top of Google’s search results when consumers search for particular keywords.

SEO is undeniably important for contemporary restaurants who wish to be found easily online. If you believe you have a strong and unique value proposition, and wish to share it with as many people as possible, then SEO is definitely a great move. Data from AdLift shows that the click-through rate for the first non-advertisement search result is 45.7%, as opposed to 11.6% for the second search result, and 5.4% for the third search result. Thus, the investment of time and money into Search Engine Optimisation can be highly rewarding in terms of exposure and new customer generation. Below are a number of basic pointers towards achieving successful Search Engine Optimisation:

Keywords

Nobody knows the exact formula search engines like Google use for ranking search results, however it has been found that using keywords in titles and throughout the pages of a website will effectively improve your restaurant’s ranking. For instance, a Taiwanese restaurant in Newtown should use the words ‘Thai’, ‘Taiwanese’, and ‘Newtown’ as frequently as possible (without being overly repetitive, of course).

Links

Links between pages are also an effective means of enhancing search engine ranking. Instead of simply relying on dropdown boxes at the top of the page, provide links to other sections of the website within each page. For instance, subtly provide a link to the ‘about us’ section on the home page.

Fresh, Interesting Content: Search engines like Google rank websites with constantly updated and relevant constant higher than stagnant websites with old and outdated content. Update information regularly, constantly develop new constant, and be aware of what is trending online in order to remain relevant.

Mobile-friendly websites

This is becoming more and more important – particularly as wi-fi is becoming more widely available in public locations. Recently, Google has revealed that, for users searching on smartphone devices, search results will favour websites with mobile-friendly accessibility. Think about it – how many times have you been out and Googled for restaurants in the area? This is precisely why review websites like zomato and tripadvisor are so focused towards smartphone accessibility.

Web analytics!

This is very important. How are you supposed to know if your investment of time and resources into SEO is effective if you have no means of measuring it? Web analytics (such as Google analytics) can be very insightful in terms of return-on-investment. It will allow you to measure increases (or decreases) in website hits, and click-through rates, which will provide insight into the effectiveness of SEO activities.

There are so many more tips and tricks which will help your restaurant be found by potential customers. If you want to learn more, or wish to implement more advanced SEO activities, contact HIN Group. Our IT team can ensure that your restaurant is reached frequently and broadly by online consumers.

Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Restaurant?

Ysocial-networking (1)ou’ve heard it a thousand times before. “Social Media is a crucial tool for your restaurant”. There is an undeniable truth to this statement. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram provide a strong link between you and your customer. It is often the crucial first touch-point between each party, it is a great means of getting your restaurant’s name out there, and is a great way of promoting events or new menu items. Social media is highly interactive, allows for feedback from customers, is easy to manage, and provides an affordable means of advertising and promotion. However, setting up and managing social media profiles can be very time consuming, and it is important to consider a number of crucial factors before simply rushing on to every major social media platform on the web.

Need help deciding which social media platforms are right for your business? Here are some important considerations:

Who is your target market?

Investing time and money is only worthwhile if it is effective in reaching your restaurant’s target market. However, some social media platforms are more popular for some demographic or geographic segments then they are for others. For instance, it has been found that 53% of young adults have an active Instagram profile, as opposed to just 11% of consumers aged between 50-64. It is important to note that in Australia, the mass amount of consumers have an active Facebook profile. This implies that if the target market is not highly refined, or particularly broad, Facebook is always a safe bet.

What do you want to achieve on social media?

Each social media platform services different needs for businesses. Facebook has a highly comprehensive advertising system, and has a very large amount of users, which is ideal for generating awareness for your restaurant. Want to show off new menu items? Instagram or Pinterest services your needs well. Want to interact with your customers, respond to feedback and share messages? Then Facebook and Twitter is ideal for these purposes.

What resources and skills are available to you?

Most social media platforms are highly user-friendly. While each platform has more technologically-advanced components, for the most part they are designed for ease of use for the average user. However, some aspects of social media marketing do require access to certain skills and resources. For instance, In order to maintain professionalism, uploading images of food items to Instagram or Facebook would probably require access to a quality camera, and perhaps even a skilled photographer. One important resource that you must have is time. Managing social media profiles requires a high level of commitment & consistency, which can be very time consuming for typically time-poor restaurant owners. For this reason, you may need to critically analyse the benefits and downfalls of each platform, and decide on one or two platforms which will serve your restaurant the best.

For social media consultancy, or for support optimising the effectiveness of your restaurant’s social media presence, contact a HIN Group consultant today.

Visit the HIN Group website.