Five Dos and Don’ts of Restaurant Web Design

Web DesignOwning and operating a restaurant is one of the toughest jobs out there. The hours are long and days off are few and far between.  As a former restaurant owner I understand how hard it is to run a food service business. The challenge of construction deadlines, hiring and training staff and managing the ever elusive opening day can be overwhelming.  If you are a Restaurant owner in startup mode, in the middle of a run or a seasoned veteran, the one thing that seems to get neglected is the website. It becomes a second thought and design elements become dated, updates don’t come as often as they should and sometimes interaction with customers falls off.

In today’s market, your restaurant website can no longer be the last thing on the checklist. The effort spent creating a recipe or the care taken pairing a great wine is now required for web design. Your diners have never been savvier or more selective than they are today.  They know what they want and have the ability to dine at your competitor instantly.  A poorly designed and inactive site won’t help.

Here’s a list of 5 Dos and Don’ts for your website.  If you have 2 or more of the Don’ts on your site, it may be time for a change.

The 5 Don’ts of Restaurant Web Design

1. Flash

Flash design adds graphics to your site.  It was all the rage a few years ago but today it just hinders your customer’s online experience.  It is very difficult to copy information from a page in Flash and most mobile devices do not support it.

2. Music

I am not sure where this idea came from.  I know many chefs are very creative and artistic, so it might stem from there.  But for today’s owner, there is no benefit for you or your customer to have music play on your site.

3. PDF Menus

A PDF menu is almost impossible for your customer to view on a mobile device.  From a navigation perspective, most sites require two clicks; once for the PDF menu and then again to view it.  Try a web based menu instead.

4. Coming Soon

Restaurant sites are littered with ‘Coming Soon” banners.  When your customer clicks on your Order Online Button and then gets a Coming Soon page, it’s enough to sign off. It’s better to remove the coming soon banners for features that are not ready.  When your feature is ready- market it and release it.

5. Updates

If there is one example that tells your customers that you have given up is a photo gallery with the latest pictures from last year or your last blog post from seven months ago. It gives the impression you don’t care. If you have these features on your website, make sure you update them.

The 5 Dos of Restaurant Web Design

1. Simple navigation, simple design

When a customer visits your site they have to know where to go immediately. A simple navigation menu will get them there. Keep your design simple and make sure to include a Homepage, an About page and Contact page. Use great images of your food and place and make sure they are high quality.

2. HTML Menu

You no longer need a PDF menu.  As your customers migrate more and more to mobile devices, your menu should be easy to read.  Changing your menu to a webpage is easier than you think. When you change to an online menu, make sure to include the prices.

3. Blog

In order to be found on the web, you need to create useful content for your customers.  The best and cheapest way to do that is to create a blog.  You don’t need to blog every day but you do need to blog often and post useful content.

4. Social Media

 Your restaurant needs to be on a social media platform.  Knowing your customer will help you decide which one is best. Your site needs big social media icons and sharable links. Like a blog, you have to be active and interact with your customers. To help you decide what platform your customers are using check  out this infographic from Mashable.com.

5. Responsive Design

Responsive design allows your site to size to the device your customer is using.  If your site is responsive, it will be easy to view on a laptop, a tablet or smartphone.

Next Steps

Review your existing site. If you have a few of the Don’ts than change one at a time.  If you are building a new site make sure to keep it simple.  You can start today and in one short month you can rebuild or create your site that will make your customers happy and craving more.

Good luck.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. If you need help with design, give us a call. 877-389-2591

 

photo credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/Razorsesoftware

Posted in Walsh/wexford | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

3 Quick Tips to keep your Project on Track

Every day is a challenge to stay on top of my daily tasks.  I manage checklists for my Walsh/ wexford business, monitor project plans for my clients and update To Do lists for everything else. My clients share in the daily struggle to keep on top of their project plans and To Do lists. Some days the tasks become too much and we start to feel overwhelmed. I am sure it’s the same for you.

Recently I met with a few clients to review progress on their project plans.  The meetings were productive and shared a common theme; they were becoming overwhelmed.  The project tasks coupled with the responsibilities of running the day to day of their business was becoming too much.  I reviewed the plans and was satisfied with how the tasks were mapped out.  Not until I looked again did I notice that every task for the project was on their spreadsheets; everything. Not just the tasks due that week but tasks for the whole project.  For one client, she had been staring at all the tasks for a 6 month project plan; it was too much.  I realized my clients kept looking at everything that had to get done and not just the tasks for the day or week but for the whole project.  It became distracting and overwhelming.

After the meetings I decided to do away with the master project plan and created a weekly plan for everyone.  Progress would still be tracked on the master plan but now it was streamlined and listed only weekly tasks.  Being responsible for the day to day challenges of a business are hard enough, trying to bring your business to the next level can be overwhelming.  Simplifying your plan is one way to help.  We have named the process of completing a small amount of tasks per week as chipping away.   I apologize to whoever invented the term chipping away but we are going to borrow it.  Here are three steps that we have been using to consistently move ahead. I hope they work for you. Chip Away

 

Use a Notebook

I mean a real notebook.  There is a lot of software out there claiming to be able to organize your day but I have more trouble trying to figure out how they work than they are a benefit.  If you have a tool that works for you, keep it and skip to the next tip.  I have been using a notebook for years. I use a spiral, 8.5×10 one subject notebook, wide ruled.  Each day I start with two fresh pages and write the date on the right side.  I use the newspaper technique; the more important stuff on the right page, secondary stuff on the left page. On the right I jot down the tasks that are due for the day.  The left side stays blank and is used only to record future tasks, new ideas or brainstorming notes.  I stay consistent about the right page/left page because if I need to look back a few days or weeks, I know where to look. If a daily task does not get done, it gets carried forward to the next day. It keeps getting carried forward until it’s completed.   My current clients all use notebooks now and new clients get a notebook when they sign up. Chip Away

Prioritize

To keep everything in order I use a project plan on an Excel spreadsheet.  Once my client identifies their business goals, we prioritize each task as Hi, Medium, Low and Critical. We assign the task to ensure there is an owner, put a completion date on it and track whether the task is On Schedule, Behind Schedule, or Complete.  Any new ideas get labeled as a future task.  The system is flexible and we tackle each task by priority and we re-label when necessary.  The process now is to take the big plan format and shrink it to whatever is due in a week. It has taken the pressure off my clients and has let them become more productive. Give it a shot.  Take your three month plan and knock it down to the tasks that are due in the short term.  When you check off a set of tasks, replace them with a new set and take it one day or week at a time.  Chip Away.

Keep it Simple

We have been hearing this piece of advice forever but we don’t always do it.  We try to cram too much work in a day, too much information in a mailer and too much copy on a website.  Keeping it simple is not easy.  You have to constantly look at the tasks at hand and determine how to do more with less.  My client meetings now are scheduled for an hour or less and calls are limited to 15 minutes.  If new ideas come up, they are logged in a phase two bucket or on the left hand side of our notebooks.  We meet to determine what can be chipped away and what can get done today and the week ahead.

Chip Away

The ultimate goal of a checklist or project plan is to deliver your product. The exercise of writing everything down is to finish.  Write down your daily tasks, put the big picture in XL, prioritize, list your weekly tasks and chip away; a little a time.  It’s been working for me and my clients; it can work for you too. And don’t forget to celebrate the wins. It’s good to take pause and remember what it feels like to accomplish a task especially when you are stuck on the next one.  Keep chipping away and have more wins in the month than losses; it will help keep your project on track.

Good Luck!

Posted in Walsh/wexford | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Building Self-Confidence

When we let a task get too big it becomes overwhelming and our self- confidence drains toConfidence the point of inaction. I know how that feels. When I worked in Securities Financing my team worked closely with another group that provided trade information. They performed a complex procedure that was fast paced and high pressured.

I visited the group often and watched them perform; it was impressive and intimidating. When leaving the desk I would tell myself I could never do what they were doing and made the process bigger than it was. 

Then the day came. Management informed me the process I dreaded was now reporting to me. I went home that evening and didn’t sleep all night. The reality of managing the process was overwhelming; I felt my self-confidence leave my body.

The next day I was introduced as the new boss and tried to dive in. I monitored the process real-time as the group performed at break neck speed. I felt sick as my self- confidence depleted. How can I manage a trading process that I know so little about? Every day was brutal as I would receive calls from my new team looking for leadership. I was intimidated. In my head this process was hard and impossible to do. This went on for two weeks.

After a two week stretch of stress, intimidation and a complete shredding of my self-confidence, I had to decide whether the process owned me or I owned the process. I decided that my fear was irrational and getting in my way. For the next month I worked on the desk and sat with everyone on the team. I told myself every day that I would get through this no matter how difficult it was. I reinforced that I had the ability and self-confidence to overcome this challenge. I learned the process through repetition and in the  end overcame my fear and owned the process.

When I can’t break through on a project or when I start to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of a task, I think back to those days and think about what I did to get me through. The first step was to eliminate my fear; the second was to rebuild my confidence.

Eliminating Fear

I initially let Fear get in my way of learning a new process. Did you know “what we fear most never happens…”? And “that we destroy our initiative by the fear of defeat…”? That’s what happened to me. I let the process get so big that I created an irrational fear that got in my way of success.

Now when I am confronted with a process or a product that I am not familiar with, instead of running the other way, I research it, ask questions and learn as much as I can. I have developed the habit of wanting to find out more. I found the combination of asking questions and doing research eliminates the fear for me.

If you are not sure about something, don’t let it get too big before it overwhelms you. Develop the habit of learning more about it, tell yourself you can do it and overcome; eliminate the fear.

Developing Self Confidence

In second lesson of Napoleon Hill’s Laws of Success, “Self Confidence”, he states that the development of self-confidence starts with the elimination of…fear. In the above paragraph I touched upon how to eliminate fear. Remember that fear can come in the form of doubt or the lack of self-confidence.

There is no doubt that if we felt a little more confident at times, our outcomes to projects, interviews, or sales would be different. The best tool you can use to boost your self-confidence is the practice of auto suggestion. That is the daily practice of telling yourself that a positive outcome will result if you tell yourself every day that it is possible. To increase your self-confidence, tell yourself every day that you are more confident and that you will become more self-confident. Tell yourself the steps you need to take that you know will boost your confidence. You already know the things that will boost your self-confidence so tell yourself every day that you will take those steps towards success.

When you are having trouble with your self-confidence make sure every day you think about your success and how you will achieve your goals. Do this until it becomes a habit.

Try it and let me know how it works for you.

Posted in Walsh/wexford | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

A Definite Chief Aim

Have you ever worked on a project where it just didn’t seem like you were going to finish? As the days passed by did that sinking feeling well up inside you as the deadline came and went?  We have all been there.  It’s enough to make sleep a distraction until you find yourself up at your computer at five in the morning. With what seemed like circumstances beyond our control, we let distractions get in our way while the project ran into overtime.

Managing a project and its fallout can be challenging.  Whatever your project is, there are always ways to improve the process and create more efficient ways to “break through”.  But how do we improve and break through?

For the last few months I have been staring at my copy of Napoleon Hill’s Laws of Success in 16 Lessons.  I finally picked it up and started taking notes.  It took me a little less than a month to complete the Lessons and another week to reread the introduction and first lesson; “A Definite Chief Aim”.  Full disclosure, I am a Napoleon Hill fan and an admirer of his other more famous work- Think & Grow Rich.

The Laws of Success are certainly not an easy read but definitely worth your time.  In upcoming posts, I will be reviewing the 16 Laws and hopefully relay the most important parts to save you some time. I view the Laws in terms of marketing and take Hill’s philosophy and apply it to the everyday challenges of small business owners.

 The 16 Lessons can be applied to any project you need to complete. The first chapter talks about achieving success by organizing your intentions, goals and thoughts into one unit. The advice is basic; we have all heard it before but I know when it gets busy and the deadline is bearing down; I seem to stray a bit. Sometimes going back to the basics is all we need to move forward.

Define your goal

 Your goal could be to start marketing your company or to start that idea you have had in your head for the last five years.  It could be to finish that report that is due tomorrow.  Decide what it is and state very clearly what your goal is.

Write it down

I can personally vouch for the power of writing down your goals.  With the advent of iPhones and iPads we electronically record a lot of information but I recommend actually using a notebook and pen.  I learned many years ago to write down my goals and keep writing them down until they were accomplished.  Here’s a tip; do two things.  After you have written down your goals, write down how you are going to accomplish them and put a completion date on it.

Create a group

Now that you have identified your goal and written down a way to reach that goal; create a group of like minded people to help carry out your plan.

My small group consists of an attorney, an accountant, a graphic artist, web designers, a printer, a promotional items company, and a few freelancers.  These are the alliances  I have developed to deliver my marketing product.  I will replace any member of the group who does not share in my success as much as I care about theirs.

Believe It

You are making progress.  You have a definite aim, (goal), a plan to achieve it, a completion date and a group of people to help.  You are the leader of the group, (even if the group is two people or just you). You have to believe that the plan will succeed.  And I mean believe.  Believe that you will succeed. Believe that you can achieve your goal.  Hill states it pretty clearly, “Whatever you want you may get if you want it with sufficient intensity, and keep on wanting it, providing the object wanted is one within reason, and you actually believe you will get it.”

Be Persistent

Tell yourself every day that you will achieve your goal.  Remind yourself of what you want, to follow your plan, and to believe that you will follow through until the end.

Review

For any project big or small, having a “definite aim” or goal is critical.  The best way to achieve your goal is to write down what you desire, create a plan, form a group, and “Believe that your goal can be accomplished. ”

Reminder

With anything that is worthwhile, it’s the hard work that’s going to get it done.  Please keep in mind that this guideline works pretty well if you are willing to put in the work.

 

Posted in Walsh/wexford | Comments Off

Do you really need a Vision Statement?

The answer is an unequivocal yes.  In the rush to market, some small business owners tend to overlook the need of a Mission Statement. That usually means that writing a Vision Statement is not even on the radar.  It’s unfortunate but easily corrected. 

When assembling a marketing or business plan, a Vision Statement is just as important as a Mission Statement.  A Vision Statement is a tool that helps you look at your company’s future. It also adds value to your Mission Statement.  Let’s look at it like this- if your Mission Statement is a guide marker along the road to achieving your business goals, than your Vision Statement is your destination.    

There’s a lot of planning on how to get on the road to success, how to travel that road to success but we don’t always identify where we’re going.  The Vision Statement helps with that; it clarifies your destination.

How to write a Vision Statement.

Writing a Vision Statement requires a little different approach than writing a Mission Statement.  The first thing is to write a Mission Statement.  Take a look here.  The work you invested in your Mission Statement answered these questions – why you are doing what you are doing and how are going to help your client overcome their challenges.

Before you start brainstorming, think of your Vision Statement this way – what does it all look after you have been there? What does your niche look like, how do your clients feel after you have solved their problems?  That’s your future, that’s your Vision Statement.

Borrowing the same advice we gave about a Mission Statement, try to refine your vision and stay away from the corporate speak.  From the heart is always the best approach.

Now take your Vision Statement and let your employees know where your company is headed.  Inspire them to work toward that goal. And work every facet of your vision into your marketing.

 

Here’s our Vision Statement

Posted in Walsh/wexford | Comments Off