My company, Restaurant Sciences, has a research arm and we recently completed a survey of chain and independent restaurants to understand their internet usage. The survey answers burning questions such as what percentage of restaurants have a main website, a mobile website or a various types of Social Media presence.
A portion of the survey results is featured in a Boston Globe article titled “Independent restaurants neglect web, mobile”. The article is based on data from our study. One of the insights highlighted by the Globe reviewer was that half the independent restaurants in the survey did not have a main website presence. The article goes on discuss how far independent restaurants have fallen in almost every aspect of online.
In fact, when the survey results were first tabulated everyone involved in the study was astounded at the results. We re-contacted all the independent restaurants that indicated they didn’t have a main website to confirm our findings, and in fact found that they indeed did not have a main website. The following is a summary of the most typical feedback we received from our telephone interviews:
•We don’t have a website, but you can find us on Facebook.
•Why do I need a website, I know everyone in town and they know me.
•I’m too busy serving my customers to be bothered with the Internet.
•I have no idea what our Internet address is.
•We are listed in the online Yellow Pages.
•We don’t have a website!
If your restaurant does not have a main website it makes it difficult for patrons to find you in a Google, Bing or Yahoo search. And search engines do not do a good job of indexing Facebook pages, Yellow Page listings or Yelp reviews. Have you ever tried searching for a restaurant that doesn’t have a main website? It’s near impossible to find a phone number and address buried in the mountain of search results. There are many low cost options available to businesses these days for those that want a website. Jen Ziskin (quoted in the Boston Globe article) co-owner of La Mora in Brookline, MA, had this to say “Independent restaurants don’t necessarily need the resources of the chains to build a good online presence.” At La Morra, Ziskin treats her webmaster to a good meal in exchange for web development work.