Online presence is everything now, and over 70% of adults check the internet first, before making any kind of purchase. For enterprises that exist almost exclusively virtually, however, online presence is critical for success. We're taking a look at another aspect of how Covid-19 has led to a restaurant revolution with the rise of the ghost kitchen and online ordering.
Today, we're explaining why you need a website for your ghost kitchen and the importance of a great online presence.
Your target demographics for a ghost kitchen are likely Gen Z and Millennials, powerful buying generations who have embraced both tech and restaurant innovation, from molecular gastronomy to elevated comfort food. These are more than likely the customers that were in your restaurant pre-pandemic, and the ones most likely to be looking for other types of food delivery options besides during periods of shutdowns and limited service.
Plus, these diners use the internet a lot, from paying bills to shopping and even therapy, so it just makes sense that they'd turn to their phones for an online menu versus the traditional paper ones.
The importance of a website can't be overstated for digital restaurants. If you aren't on the internet, your customers can find you! But your website can be much more than just your menu and contact information. A great website will also tell your story, from your exploration of food technology to any organically sourced ingredients or farm-to-table practices.
Your website is the first impression that our customers have of you, and if it's bland and boring, it's often going to be the last. Your buyers have access to all your competitors right at their fingertips, allowing them to do their research easily before deciding where to order from.
Creating the right first impression on your website allows you to shine. Making your site dynamic, from high-quality photos of your meals to a comprehensive description of your menu items allows diners to "dine with their eyes" – a critical part of ghost kitchen success. Including behind-the-scenes looks at different food items being prepared, such as short videos, can add to the excitement and keep users on your website longer, increasing their chances of ordering from you.
While having a website means that customers can find you, if you don't have a website optimized for search engines, then it's unlikely that your customers will find you. More than 73% of online buyers choose from the first page of search engine results and rarely do they go past the third page. If your restaurant's site is on the 4th page or beyond, you might as well be invisible.
Online marketers refer to having a website that's search engine optimized. This refers to how well your website matches a search query that a user enters, such as "Chinese food near me" or "salads." Once a user types their query into the search bar, the search engine's web crawlers bots scan the internet for results that match, and then deliver a list of results. The better that your website matches the search, the higher on the list you'll be, and the more likely your customers will find you.
However, SEO isn't quite that simple. It's not just about putting all the popular keywords and ways to state your location on your website. In fact, practices like this are easily detected, and you may get penalized with a lower ranking. AI web crawlers are quite sophisticated, and also pick up on the presence of things like photos and videos, fresh content, and even online customer reviews.
Even the best-looking website isn't going to attract customers to order if it's hard to navigate, loads slowly, or they can tell that the payment page isn't digitally secure. Making your website user-friendly and easy to navigate, plus safe to order and pay, is another way that your ghost kitchen website enhances the customer experience.
One of the more interesting trends in restaurant innovation is establishing a brand, not just for large chain restaurants, but smaller restaurants as well. Having a website that tells the story about your food and your passion is a great tool for building your brand and making your concept relatable and interesting to customers. More and more, buyers want brands they can connect to, whether it's through a dynamic, recognizable social media presence, or even just a website that makes their online ordering experience feel like more than just getting a bite to eat.
Restaurant tech has evolved to make the integration of your online ordering system and your current management software almost seamless. When you choose Saas, or Software as a Service technology, you can rest assured you're getting the most up-to-date operating systems that make it simple for customers to order, your cooks to prepare, and you to manage your inventory and payroll. Great technology allows ghost kitchens to more easily operate and market to new customers.