"Do I really need a website for my restaurant?"
It's a question I often get asked when discussing our early access programme with potential customers. I always answer the same: "Yes, absolutely, you do!"
I'm biased, of course. I run a company that builds websites exclusively for the hospitality industry. How could I not say yes? Bias aside, I've seen first-hand, over and over again, what a well-built website with compelling content can do for any business.
A perfect example of this was one of the very first websites I ever built. A website for a B&B in Ross on Wye, all the way back in 2004. Their new website was well-designed and had good-quality photography and text that got the message across.
The feedback I got from my customers was that their entire clientele had changed in the weeks after launch.
They found that they suddenly had customers tipping larger amounts and were more appreciative of the accommodation and service. It ultimately allowed them to raise their prices and still succeed.
They hadn't changed anything else about their business and were not paying for any advertising. Still, the website more closely aligned with how the owners wanted their business to be perceived and changed the expectations of customers they were attracting.
But good websites are becoming more expensive. I've worked in the creative industry for nearly twenty years now, and in that time, I've witnessed the cost of websites slowly but surely creep up. Not just in terms of the high initial investment but also in ongoing maintenance and updates.
In light of rising costs, it's easy to see why almost half of all restaurants don't currently bother with a website. Instead, rely on social media and review websites to draw in business.
But, while I understand the motivations behind not running a website, it's still a shockingly high percentage who are missing out on the very tangible benefits a great website can provide.
This is why I founded Easy Eatery — because I believe that restaurants deserve better websites for less.