Hospitality is well known for being a challenging industry. Competition is high, margins tend to be low, and success relies on customers being your biggest champions. Fortunately, gone are the days when something as simple as foot traffic could make or break a café.
Today’s savvy café owners know that digital business marketing is hugely beneficial for bringing customers through the door. And an engaging website is one of the most critical tools for branding, attracting customers and growing your business. Here are five must-haves for a café website.
1. A strong business mission
Like any business, potential customers want to know what they’re going to get when they choose your café over others. What’s the philosophy behind your food? How do you come up with your menu items? Where do you source your ingredients? What’s your reason for being in business? These are all questions that should be answered on the homepage of your website with a strong, unique mission statement.
Here’s a great example from US restaurant chain Café Gratitude:
Café Gratitude is our expression of a world of plenty. Our food and people are a celebration of our aliveness. We select the finest ingredients to honor the earth and ourselves, as we are one and the same. We support local farmers, sustainable and regenerative agriculture, and environmentally friendly products. Our food is prepared with love. We invite you to step inside and enjoy being someone that chooses: loving your life, adoring yourself, accepting the world, being generous and grateful every day, and experiencing being provided for. Have fun and enjoy being nourished.
2. A clear menu and prices
It might sound obvious, but one of the most important things you need on your website is a menu. Make sure yours is easy to read and up-to-date with current dishes and prices. Also aim to use a text menu rather than a PDF – this makes it easier for Google and other search engines to read, and provides a better user experience.
3. Online booking functionality
You want to make it as easy as possible for customers to visit your business, and one of the best ways to do this is with an online booking form. Don’t worry if you don’t have this feature in-built on your website – third-party tools like thefork and Zomato Book allow you to embed a booking form on your website and easily manage reservations through their dashboard.
4. Enticing imagery
Think of your website’s imagery as the pièce de résistance in showcasing your business and enticing people to try your food. Make sure your imagery is high-quality – use a professional photographer if possible – and feature an online gallery prominently on your site. If you have an Instagram account and a solid social media following, you can also use a tool like Curator.io to include photos shared by your customers.
5. A blog
Regularly posting content on a blog is one of the most effective ways to improve your ranking in search engines (how high up you appear in search results), making it easier for customers to find your business. Your blogs could be about upcoming special offers and events, new menu items, recipes, seasonal tips, business partnerships – they’re only limited by your imagination! The important thing is to post new content as often as you can manage – ideally at least a couple of times a month.
An engaging website is just one way to boost your visibility online. Why not set up your online directory listings by checking out White Pages Connect. It allows you to quickly and easily update your details across directories, major search engines, social media sites, apps and maps – everywhere your customers are searching or talking about you. It can also improve your online reputation and help your customers find you any time.