For many restaurants, managing an online presence is key to a successful business. Online ordering can open the door for customers to interact with your business in new ways.

If managing your online presence seems a bit intimidating, consider framing it as a simple exercise in advertising. All aspects of a restaurants’ online presence are, in some sense, advertising.

Whether it’s a website, review, Google business listing, or even a Facebook page, every piece of your online presence is a way for people to know your restaurant, and to some extent, yourself.

Don’t Ignore Your Google Listing: Claim It for Yourself

Customers use Google listings to find services more than any other online platform. Often created through crowdsourcing, this online directory provides quick references and links to businesses.

Initially, you do not have control of your Google listing. However, it can be given to you through a simple verification process. Various companies can assist you in completing this process, and help you more effectively use the information the listing provides.

Whether through desktop or mobile, nearly half of all searches are specifically for location-based information and services. This means when potential customers search your area, your restaurant has the opportunity to be at the forefront.

Become an effective marketer with help from our Restaurant Marketing Guide.

Online ordering providers like Menufy will work to help you gain control of your Google listing without adding any extra costs. Your Google listing is a form of advertising; by controlling which links are most prominent, you can direct traffic to the services that benefit you the most.

Cost aside, guiding traffic toward one service can also mean less stress for you. Rather than being spread across three, four, or even more different online ordering companies, your attention can be put into a single service that works for you.

Don’t Pay for Marketing You Can’t Track: Know What It’s Doing for You

Google listings are free, and control of them can be obtained without having to pay anyone. There is no reason to pay for advertising you can’t track.

All of the tools for understanding where traffic goes, when it happens, and what you can do to best prepare for it, are available for free. It is simply a matter of finding and taking control of them.

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Don’t Let Reviews Just Be Reviews: Use Them to Grow

Along with the above, your Google listing allows for customer reviews, lending an opportunity to engage directly with customers. Reviews also function as advertising; good reviews, and even bad reviews, can serve to boost your presence and entice new customers.

How can customers displaying their complaints publicly be a good thing? While a bad review can certainly harm a business, and in some cases be personally hurtful, resolving a bad review with a calm, measured response can transform the situation into positive advertising.

Taking time to address a customer complaint shows you’re committed to running a good restaurant, and even when things go wrong, you want to understand how to do better. We are all human. How we address our mistakes is far more important than whether or not we make them.

Don’t Just Give Stuff Away: Support Those Who Support You

It’s important to note that resolving a complaint does not always translate into free food, store credit, or really any compensation. While these are all great solutions, sometimes all that is necessary is a gracious response, and the sense that you are in fact paying attention.

Regulars sustain the industry, and are crucial to a restaurant’s survival. The more you can make them feel supported, the more loyal they will be. The nature of online customers is very different. A customer who orders online may be a regular without ever eating inside your establishment. Ensuring loyalty from those who order online is just as important as the people filling in seats.

What does it take to be an effective restaurant marketer? The strategies you need (and everything you ever wanted to know) are in one place.

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Written by   |  
Thomas works full time as a member of Menufy’s Client Support Team and has a wide variety of restaurant experience, as both a member of waitstaff and as a hibachi chef. He writes fiction and non-fiction, with a particular interest in psychology and the dynamics of personal/professional relationships.