Restaurants not online are ‘invisible’, says research

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cent, Search engine optimization

More than half of consumers look online before booking a restaurant
More than half of consumers look online before booking a restaurant
A worrying number of restaurants are not embracing technology and the internet to promote their businesses, research from online reservations and marketing service Livebookings has found.

More than a third (39 per cent) of the 100 restaurants surveyed don’t have a website and 25 per cent don’t promote their site anywhere on the internet.

This, says Livebookings, means they are invisible to the 53 per cent of consumers who research restaurants online before reserving a table.

Restaurateurs who don’t use the internet to promote their restaurant are potentially damaging their long-term prospects by missing out on both customers and revenue, it says.

Independents not adapting

Major chains such as Giraffe, YO! Sushi and Pizza Express have seen a positive impact on bookings since embracing technology, and there are worries that independents are not adapting quickly enough to fundamental shifts in customer behaviour.

Those that do promote their restaurant are not necessarily doing so in the correct places.

Most of the 2,000 customers surveyed said they usually know what they want to eat but won’t know where, so 66 per cent will frequently use generic search terms such as ‘Italian in Leicester’.

SEO and e-mail marketing

To get these bookings, operators need to utilise Search Engine Optimisation, but only 42 per cent are doing so and 23 per cent have never checked how easy their site is to find online.

The research also found that 45 per cent of restaurants don’t send any emails to previous customers, despite a third of all diners being happy to hear from them once a month. There are clear benefits in doing so: one in four of consumers have visited a restaurant in the past month as a result of an email offer.

“It’s clear from this research that the internet is playing an increasingly important role in how consumers are finding and booking restaurants,” says Miles Quest at the British Hospitality Association.

“We would advise restaurants across the UK to carefully consider how successful their online activity is and, if it’s either non-existent or not performing strongly, to act swiftly. The numbers of diners searching online is only going to increase.”

Find more information in our Online Marketing feature here​.

On Monday, BigHospitality will publish top tips from an industry expert on using social media for a marketing campaign. Keep your eye on our Ask the Experts feature for more.

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1 comment

Restaurant Websites & Online Reservations

Posted by Chris Hawkins Managing Director Pager Call Systems,

It is interesting that in many retail sectors it s the independent operators that embrace new technology first, as an example many independent electrical outlets will be the first to have new products such as 3D televisions. Once the market is established by the trailblazing independents the multiple operators move in.

Independent operators should be in the best position to embrace new technology, they are leaner and of course smaller than many of the large chains and are well positioned to move quickly to adopt new ideas.

It is very important that independent restaurant operators do not miss out on the opportunities available from web reservations and marketing utilising social media and email.

The first stage for any smart restaurant operator is to get an online presence, a basic website is a small investment for the return it can offer.

The next big challenge once the website is up and running is to get visitors flocking to it and bookings coming in. I'm sure your article on social media for marketing on Monday will offer some great tips on how to get the visitors to a restaurants website.

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