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Continuing on the help topics for new restaurateurs, in today’s topic we cover some very important aspects related to the online ‘image’ of the restaurant. This includes everything from a website, online ordering, fb social links etc. Today, almost all brick and mortar businesses rely on the reach of online customers to woo them to their business and restaurant owners cannot ignore this important area of marketing.

Often restaurants take over another business and would continue the business as-is or transition the business to another type of business. If the new owner wants to start a new restaurant under a different name, they still have to contend with the previous restaurant that has made it’s mark online ie. google maps, fb etc.

In this topic, we will cover both situations where a restaurant is taken over as-is and a restaurant that want’s to transition to a new name. We are specifically concerned with the impact this has on the online ‘presence’ of the restaurant and would prove to be useful to new and existing owners of restaurants.

Restaurant (As-Is)
Here a restaurant is simply taking new ownership or new management and it’s important to look at the impact of this transition on the online aspects of the business.
Most online sites such as google maps, facebook have the common name, address and telephone of the business. If the previous owner has done it’s due diligence to promote the business online, there will be plenty of places where the business will have been published online. It is important to gather all the information in the same way that you pay attention to details on the brick and mortar transfer, you will need to do the same for the online portion.

Restaurant (New)
In this situation, the restaurant owner wants to establish a new restaurant with a unique name and promote this offline and online. The ramp up stage for a new restaurant can be challenging since an ‘awareness’ has to be established with the local people and then an ongoing task of driving customers through the door. Here, the online effort becomes even more important, since you can quickly drive essential customers through channels such as facebook, google maps etc. Below is essential reading for those owners who are in the process of taking over a business as-is or establishing a new restaurant with a new name.

Google maps:
Google maps is a growing area for many online users to locate eating areas in their vicinity since they now offer business owner to post detailed information regarding their business. One cannot ignore the value and competitive nature of this online feature that is crucial to businesses. For example, suppose a user wants indian food, the routine way of doing this is to type ‘indian food near me’. Google maps will show a whole bunch of restaurants that fits that criteria on the users smartphone or pc. Typically, google already has an idea of the person’s whereabouts in the US through the gps and they show a list of the restaurants within this area on a map and a list on the left column. More importantly the list is presented with ratings by users. Much like the ubiquitous google search engine, vying for the top most position is important for business users. Users are much more likely to target and click the restaurants that appear on top of the list based on user reviews. Google is likely to have some algorithms based on how it orders this list such as the longevity of the restaurants, the number of ratings and many other parameters. Be lucky, if you have good ratings and appear on top of this list!

The important thing for the restaurant owner is to make sure your information is correct, check phone nos, addresses, emails etc on the online sites that have your business published.
Again, it is very important that prior to the transition from the previous owner to you, the new owner has all the login information and information of all the published accounts online. In the case of a transfer of the business as-is, you should try to get all the online information transferred over to you. We saw a recent example where google maps showed two businesses running out of the same address and thus confusing users.

Facebook (fb):
Facebook is a great online vehicle that gets you highly targeted traffic and it becomes even more so if you want to get customer traffic through your door very quickly and rapidly. Be prepared to spend some marketing dollars on ‘boosting’ your posts and ads through the fb advertising channel. Make sure that all the information is correct if you are taking over the restaurant as-is and you want to assume control over any existing business account that previous owner has used. If there are not many likes, you may consider starting a new fb business page to avoid the hassle of transfership. Do not waste any time to keep up your part of the work which is updating your page with new posts and ads as often as you can. To see a good example of the types of posts and garner many likes is to visit facebook.com/Mogulnaan.

Eat24:
Most restaurant owners will know the importance of yelp which originated from helping restaurants get more visibility and more targeted customers to their business. An offshoot of the yelp business was born called Eat24 which in essence competes with the likes of Grubhub. Their system allows you to upload your menus and make this visible to yelp and allow customers to place an online order. This order can be delivery or pickup in much the same way as other food online ordering companies.

You cannot ignore the importance of having a listing in yelp since many foodies go there hunting first for their favorite food and restaurants. Ratings are an important part of the online user so customers make sensible decisions on their visits and purchases based on ratings, cost of food, proximity to their home etc. Be prepared to respond to customers feedback as you do on your business page in facebook and you will be rewarded in the long run!

Grubhub:
Any restaurant owner will know that part of their margins come from delivery and pickup and delivery can be a significant source of revenue stream for some of them. Grubhub has jumped into this quest to provide a seamless way for restaurant owners to have their menu online and bring many customers to their platform to provide a fully fledged online ordering system for customers. Grubhub has an advantage over many other companies in providing online solutions for restaurants in that they team up with other big players to integrate a whole solution. Although a bit quirky in it’s usage it nevertheless becomes part of the online arsenal that all restaurant owners need to have.

Summary:
With the advent of the smartphone, people’s way of using and consuming information as well as where to shop has changed considerably. No longer can businesses rely on the traditional brick and mortar of doing business, they need to have a strong online presence. This means more than just having a website, you will need to target all other online platforms which USERS are using such as fb, instagram, twitter, google maps, yelp, grubhub and more.

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