Whether through our phones, laptops, tablets, or a combo of the three, most of us are using technology multiple times a day. So it makes sense that we’d turn to these tools when deciding on a restaurant for a dinner reservation or an event, right?
But just having a website for your restaurant business isn’t enough. Your site needs to be compelling, informative, and up-to-date, among other things, to be as effective as possible.
To dig into what truly makes a restaurant’s website stand out, we chatted with Heidi Barker, communications and guest relations lead for Taste 222 in Chicago. Read on for a Q&A with Heidi about how this innovative restaurant and event space leverages its website to stand out from the competition.
Q: How big of an impact does your restaurant’s website have on business?
It’s essential for businesses to have a strong overall digital presence, which begins with the website. Every visit to our website is a virtual visit to our restaurant. We work to make sure our site reflects our brand essence of creative food and beverages in an upscale, cozy setting, and encourages potential guests to come in. Our website is also a vital marketing and communications tool. It lets guests know about our menus, private events, our Taste Community consumer research, and other fun happenings.
Gather tip: To set yourself up for success with events, embedding Gather’s signature lead form right onto your restaurant’s website will allow you to easily accept inquiries 24/7.
Q: How does your restaurant’s website design help convey your brand?
The website reflects the welcoming spirit and sophisticated atmosphere of Taste 222. Our mega-talented graphic designer incorporated the colors and tones of Taste’s upscale, chic and comfortable space. Often, we hear first-time guests remark about how cool our space looks. We want that same excitement to come through on our website. We want you to sit back and let us take care of you. The same sentiment is true online, so the site is easy and seamless to navigate.
Gather tip: We’ve got a full, printable checklist with even more design secrets for an events menu that stands out.
Q: Why is it important to include menus on your website?
We want to make it as easy as possible for our guests to plan their visit. People are on the go and want information at their fingertips to look over themselves or send to their friends. For us, having the menus online also showcases the delicious creations of our extraordinary culinary team and inventive mixologists.
Q: How does your restaurant’s website stand out from your competitors?
We stand out because of who we are as a unique brand and the first-rate experience we’re working to bring to our guests. The website is an absolute reflection of that. Since we have a graphic designer in-house. We’re also able to quickly update the website with news, menu changes, or event promotions.
Q: Why do you think photos are so crucial for a restaurant website?
Our owner, Don Thompson, often reminds us that “you eat with your eyes first.” It’s so tempting to gaze at beautiful images of a delicious entrée or a refreshing craft cocktail (or mocktail). Website photography is our virtual serving tray to our guests. You can almost taste our famous Creole shrimp. You can just about smell the fresh mint leaves in our craft cocktail, “A Bit Steep.” Photography brings food and drinks to life and entices our guests to visit.
Gather tip: Whether you hire a professional photographer or snap some high-quality shots yourself, these 5 tips will help you take great photos of your event space.
Q: What’s been the effect of having online reservations on your site?
The effect is an added convenience for our customers. We want to make it as easy as possible for them to visit us. Our regulars know that our intimate space can fill quickly, and it’s always best to make a reservation. From a business standpoint, it also helps us to track performance, identify and build relationships with regulars, and manage our space and availability.
Gather tip: To get the best use out of both reservation and event management software, find out how Gather and reservation apps work together.
Q: Taste Community is a group of Taste 222’s valued guests who help steer the culinary direction of the eatery and provide real-time feedback. How has this offering affected the restaurant’s brand?
Taste 222 is more than a restaurant. It’s an innovation space for our portfolio companies and partners. The Taste Community is a growing group of neighbors and guests. They occasionally serve on taste panels and focus groups to give our partners real-time feedback on new products or menu items. It’s awesome to have the Taste Community featured on the website. It provides another peek behind the curtain as to our culinary innovation at Taste 222.
Gather tip: Want to take things further? Here are even more ways restaurants can support their local communities.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to include your restaurant’s backstory on your website?
The modern consumer wants to connect with the businesses where they’re spending money. Our story humanizes our brand and shares the motivation behind Taste 222, and its parent company, Cleveland Avenue, a venture capital and consulting firm for emerging concepts and brands in the food and beverage space. Guests can get to know us a little before even walking in the door. This helps to make them feel even more welcome.
Now that you know how to make your restaurant’s menu stand out, see how our platform can help your events program do the same.