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Restaurant marketing made simple

Restaurant Website Traffic Report

Just for fun, we randomly selected ten of our clients for a website traffic study. Using each site’s Google Analytics from Feb 1, 2013 – Feb 1, 2014, we completed a general comparison in search of noteworthy trends and overall user behavior. Our sample sites totaled just under a million page views for the year (991,490 to be exact) and included a healthy mix of restaurants, bars, lounges, bistros and cafés throughout the U.S.

Restaurant Website Traffic

The Home Page came in with the highest traffic at 39.5%. Before you ask, “Hey, wait a minute. Doesn’t every visitor hit the home page?” Let me stop you right there, cowboy. When you pour your heart and soul into effective Search Engine Optimization like we do, visitors from Google, Bing and Yahoo can enter your site from virtually any page. The fact that this number is far less than 100% tells us we are doing our job in directing customers to the section most-pertinent to what they’re seeking. Less clicks equals happy web visitors. Happy web visitors equal butts in seats.

It’s important that restaurant owners don’t discount the Home Page as a crucial catch-all opportunity with a taste of everything a visitor might want to know. As DashCrowd demonstrates with our own client templates, a restaurant website’s home page should have all the quick essentials such as Address, Phone Number, Proper Name and Hours of Operation. Additionally, this is a great opportunity to “sell” your featured menu items, current specials, upcoming events, merchandise or latest promotions. We recommend supplementing these home page mentions with dedicated pages or blog posts, of course, but this is a wonderful way to grab their attention and give them a real sense of what’s going on at your establishment.

Looking beyond the Home Page is very telling of what your customers are interested in. Sure,
it’s not always what you want them to look at, but the numbers don’t lie. Use this knowledge to your advantage and watch the patrons roll through the front door! The most popular sub section, coming in at 39.4% of total page views, is Menus. This includes Food Menus, Drink & Cocktail Menus, Catering Menus, Kids Menus, etc. Hungry diners care about one thing above all else – what will be on their plate. It’s shocking to see many restaurateurs pay little mind to their website’s menus. They allow them to be poorly-formatted, go outdated or, even worse, use PDF’s instead of HTML! (Yes, it’s still common and no we don’t understand it). Online restaurant menus should be beautiful, accurate, colorful, easy to access and simple to read. Could you stand to lose nearly 40% of your current customer base or would you prefer to increase it by 40% instead? We’ll give you a moment to ponder…

After Home Page and Menu, traffic drops considerably but don’t let that fool you. The numbers
are still significant. Our ten guinea pigs wracked-up a total of 65,081 visits to their Info pages (Info, About Us, Contact, etc.) in the past year alone. Sure, it’s only 6.6% of all visits but it’s certainly enough to raise an eyebrow or two. Not all customers care to know more about your restaurant’s history or feel the need to contact the manager but it’s absolutely imperative that you make it easy for those who do. And for bars & restaurants in metropolitan areas such as New York City, you simply must include a map. Your potential customers live and die by cross streets – don’t make them work for it.

When making dining decisions, it’s clear that customers are interested in knowing what to expect. This is confirmed by the massive chunk of traffic hitting the Menus of our clients’ websites each and every day. It also explains why the Photos page is among the top 5 as well, consuming 4.9% of total site visits. People love pictures! Don’t deny curious visitors a dedicated photo gallery full of professional-quality, flattering (yet honest) images of your establishment’s interior, exterior, food, staff, décor, events and unique bobbles. This is an opportunity to give potential patrons a vivid sense of your restaurant’s atmosphere, space and cuisine. Let’s be honest, it’s 2014 and people hate reading – tell your visual story in pretty pictures!

The last of the most-visited pages we’ll be discussing today is the Group Reservations page, coming into the race with 2.5% of total site visits. To clarify, these figures do not include visitors who clicked away from the restaurant’s website to reserve on OpenTable, Rezbook, Savored, etc. The 25,000+ hits in this instance refer to people interested in making a larger group or event inquiry. Depending on the occasion, these parties can range anywhere from 10 – 400 people. Good for business? You bet! Should it be a major priority of any restaurant website? Absolutely!

This leaves us with about 7.2% of traffic perusing the other miscellaneous pages you might find on a restaurant’s website such as recipes, blog posts, videos, event listings, chef bio’s, etc. Fact is, the more pages your site has, the more search engines have to grab onto.

Social Nothingness

We have a few more interesting numbers to throw at you as well. Our study found that not one single visitor came from Twitter in the entire year’s time for any of our ten sites (and trust us, these are popular restaurants). And you will surely be surprised to hear only .5% of total unique visitors were referred from Facebook. Yelp, on the other hand, brings in an average 2.4% of the total website traffic for a restaurant. Does this mean you should give up on your evidently fruitless social media efforts? Nah. It means you need to make a better attempt to funnel your Facebook and Twitter followers to your website by promoting interesting content from your website. Give your fans a reason to visit your site, which will (hopefully) give them a reason to visit your restaurant. See now? So simple!

Keeping Up with Tech

So we know where people are finding your website and we covered what people are doing on your website but do we know how people are accessing your website? Yep, we do! In our 12-month client trial, we saw 24.3% of traffic coming from mobile devices. That is significant, folks! If you don’t have a Responsive Website or at least a mobile redirected website, you are upsetting nearly a quarter of your visitors without even trying! If your restaurant doesn’t look good on an iPhone, chances are they will swipe, click & tap elsewhere. Regardless, Desktop computers are still king with 65.5% and tablets hang on at a respectable 10.2%.

Takeaways

In addition to your Home Page, pay close attention to your Info, Menus, Photos and Group
Reservation pages. This is where your traffic is spending their time and this is how they decide
wither or not to visit your establishment. Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for restaurants. Use social media to drive web traffic away from Facebook and Twitter. Reputation management is the key to success on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Oh and, on an unrelated note, DashCrowd provides brilliant, responsive websites for restaurants with full cloud hosting, unlimited content updates and much more for a low monthly fee. Dreams really do come true.

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DashCrowd, LLC
115 W Allendale Ave
Allendale, NJ 07401

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