In an interview with BigHospitality, Rif Kiamil explained that it could be 'high risk' for restaurants to use online booking and takeaway platforms as their only form of web presence.
“Platforms are a very interesting way to fill gaps, but they don’t let you stand out individually without paying more to be on top. You’re just a tiny icon with a little description, and nothing about personality stands out at all.
“You’re also not building up a customer base, which is quite high-risk, especially with how much it costs compared to the amount of orders that go in. If you ask people who order from platform which restaurants they have ordered from they won’t have any recollection, because the individuality of restaurants is never at the forefront,” he said.
According to Kiamil, restaurant businesses should invest in a search engine-optimised (SEO) website that tracks customer habits, allowing the creation of targeted loyalty rewards.
“Every business should have the right relationship with their customers and if you can track them, know how many you have and which ones are ordering from you for example, you’re in a much more stable place.”
He added that there is a place for platforms, but that restaurant owners should not rely on them to build their web personality and track their customers.
When it comes to developing their own websites, restaurants need to keep SEO in mind, and be visible on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. But they also need to make sure their design is mobile-responsive.
“We’ve done research that showed that 40 per cent of orders are now happening from mobile phones, so all our websites are fully responsive to mobiles and tablets, and when a new phone comes out we make sure that the website works immediately,” Kiamil said.
Funded by food supplier JJ Foodservice, FOODit has designed websites for 131 restaurants in a year, and is now launching a table reservation service on its template, adding to the takeaway order option.