In today’s digital age, most consumers search the Internet using Bing or Google to check out restaurant reviews, menus, and prices before they head out for dinner. Because of this, it is essential for restaurant owners to optimize their online presence in order to get those “would-be” patrons through their door. Here are five crucial tips for restaurant operators who are looking to increase sales in their establishment.

Get Listed in Local Directories

If you wish to appear in the results for someone searching, for example, “local restaurants” you must get listed with several reputable or authoritative business directories to improve your SEO ranking. Getting listed in local directories is important because the search engines, especially Google, rely on reputable and respectable local business directories for their information. This means that if your website link is on one (or preferably more) of those authoritative directories, Google will list your restaurant in the top search results for local restaurants.

Optimize Your Google Places Profile

To increase your business’s standing in Google, you must sign up for a Google Places profile. This is how Google classifies and highlights local businesses. However, you must do more than just sign up for the profile – you also need to optimize it by completing all of the information fields and using some relative keywords in your profile.

Encourage Facebook Check-Ins

Facebook check-ins are what power restaurant listings to success in Facebook Graph Search. If somebody uses Facebook to seek out a local restaurant, and your restaurant has a large number of check-ins from local consumers, your restaurant will be seen as “a place to be.” So, don’t be afraid to encourage your guests to check-in to your restaurant on Facebook. In fact, some restaurants even offer free appetizers or small discounts for the first check-ins of the day. Sometimes a little incentive doesn’t hurt!

Encourage Good Reviews

Online review sites give important sources of information about your restaurant, as more and more consumers are using these sites to research local establishments. Not much can be done to prevent bad reviews other than offering superior service and quality food, but you can actively build up your positive reviews. Encourage, but don’t solicit, your customers to provide you with positive feedback on sites like UrbanSpoon.com and Yelp.com . And if you do happen to get some negative feedback be sure to respond online and correct what you can. This will show potential diners that you listened, the problem has been addressed, and that they can expect to enjoy their experience at your facility. Read more about Getting Reviews The Right Way.

Nurture Leads

Lead nurturing is a sales-boosting technique that works especially great for small businesses, even in the restaurant industry. Create a “Loyalty Program,” ask your guests for their e-mail addresses and then use that information to nurture your relationship with your current patrons. Let them know you will be sending information about discounts, special offers, and news about upcoming events.  Be sure to mention social media in all communications such as invitations to “Like” you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter, etc.

Source1 Purchasing is your source for the latest tips, trends, and news of the restaurant industry. To learn more about the Source1 Program and how it can benefit your business, visit our website at www.Source1Purchasing.com.

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