When I first opened my restaurant in 1992, catering prospects would call to have a catering menu faxed to them. Today it is all about the internet and your website.
Catering prospects want to know if your catering menu is available online. The smart operator insists on walking through the menu together while on the phone.
There are some catering prospects who will find you via a web search and conduct their own catering research.
Under both scenarios above, what type of impression are you making? Would you want to buy from you? Does your website look relevant or dated?
For most of us, our websites are the first impression prospects have of us.
Below is a checklist I use when evaluating websites in client consults. It is a general list of what I see that needs to be fixed. These small changes can really help convert more website visitors to customers.
Go through the list and circle the ones you need help with:
~ It Is Not Instantly Apparent You Cater: I had to search to find out if you catered.
~ Your Catering Menu Is Hidden or Not On Your Site: Prospects want to see what you offer before picking up the phone.
~ Your Website Looks (a little, somewhat, very) Dated: Don’t mean to offend, but nothing stays fresh and relevant forever. Just as you remodel your home from time to time, your website needs the same. Potential clients notice.
~ Your Phone Number Is Hard To Find With No Description: Don’t make people scroll to the bottom of the page or go to the contacts section.
~ There Is No Action Statement In Front Of Your Phone Number: “Catering Hotline” or “To Order Catering Call” plants the seed of what action you want taken.
~ You Need More Info Above The Fold: Just like a newspaper puts their best headlines at the top, do not make visitors scroll endlessly to find out about you. Give them good info up top.
~ No Call To Action Buttons: These buttons are like billboards on your site telling visitors what to do: order now, see catering menu, request a quote, etc.
~ Where Are High Resolution, High Quality Food Pics? Good food photography sells people on using you for catering.
~ There Is No Catering Inquiry Form: Some catering prospects want to contact you via form submission and have you call them back. A good form feeds into your catering software database.
~ What Makes You Special? I didn’t read anything on your site that couldn’t be substituted by a competitor. You need to answer, “Why should I do business with you?” And you can’t be generic: we are the best, everyone loves us, we give great service, our staff is friendly. You must dig deeper.
~ You Don’t Have A Catering Guarantee: Two of the most successful companies in America were built with their guarantee: FedEx and Domino’s Pizza. We help our clients stand out with strong guarantees that get them noticed.
~ Where Are Your Catering Testimonials? What you say about yourself is self-serving. But when your catering clients brag on you, then you have a powerful credibility tool to book more events!
~ I Don’t See A FAQ: Some people need to do some research before ordering catering. By having a Frequently Asked Questions section, you can make prospects feel at ease. They don’t want to be forced to call you before they are good and ready.
~ Where’s Your Online Ordering For Catering? Today’s admins are busy. If they order on a regular basis, they appreciate a restaurant that lets them order any time day or night. Plus, our online ordering system interfaces with our software; preventing having to re-enter the information.
~ You Need A Catering Picture Gallery: The more pictures you have of your catering, the more likely someone can “picture” themselves using you.
~ You Need An “About Us” Section: Besides telling people what makes your restaurant special, let them know what makes the owner(s) special. People buy catering from people. Make your story memorable.
~ Where’s The Bait? Sometimes offering 10% off the first order or free dessert on the first order is enough of an enticement to get contact information for your database and a first order. Impress them and gain a client for life!
This list can keep you busy. Take the time to objectively evaluate your website with the criteria above. Objectivity is difficult. After all, none of us have dumb or ugly kids, right? It’s being you’re your harshest critic that yields the highest dividends.
If you would like to see some of the websites we have designed, please feel free to look at the links below:
And here is a new template we are in the process of building out.
If you are interested in a website critique or having us build a website for you, please reach out to Nicole in our office: Nicole@RCSMailBox.com or call her at 615-735-4097.
SEMINAR ANNOUNCEMENT: Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, August 2, 2016, and make plans to attend a full day catering seminar I am putting on in Portland, Oregon entitled:
How To Double Your Restaurant Profits Workshop:
The Ultimate Catering Sales & Marketing System For Restaurants
For complete details, please go to www.CateringSeminars.com/portland
NOTE: Let me encourage you to a join our new Facebook group I created for our industry: Restaurants That Cater. It is open to clients and non-clients alike. Please post your successes and challenges and share your knowledge with our community. There are groups and associations for caterers and for restaurants, but none for restaurants that cater…a very important group that is grossly underrepresented. Click on the link below and request to join:
Please pass on this link to your colleagues and co-workers in the industry. The more of us, the better!
Well, that’s all for this issue.
To Your Restaurant's Marketing & Catering Success,
Restaurant Catering Software
P.S. – If you need help growing catering sales, then please go to www.RestaurantCateringSoftware.com and download my free eBook: Cater or Die!
P.P.S. – I make a limited number of time slots available each week for a free Catering Strategy Session with me. (You also get a catering menu critique and free analysis of your website for “Catering Effectiveness”). For complete details and to grab one of the limited spots, please go to:
P.P.P.S. – Please check out my podcast at www.RestaurantCateringSmarts.com
P.P.P.P.S. - Anyone wishing to reprint my articles may do so. Please email me for the bi-line to use for proper author’s credits.