Websites these days are an immensely important asset to a restaurant. The internet is the first place that most customers will turn to in their search for their dining destination, and you need to know the best ways to divert that traffic from the internet back into the actual restaurant.

Online bookings are vital, and when searching most people will look for the quickest, easiest path to reserving their seat. Make sure that you have a method of booking that your customers can choose when they are strapped for time, or when your restaurant is busy or closed. It's just as important to know where to turn when looking for an online booking widget, as they are not all the same.

Choosing which online booking service is a surprisingly important choice. On the surface they may all seem to serve a similar purpose, however not all booking applications are for the restaurant and many only benefit the customer or directory. Watch out for third party advertising, directories, lock in contracts, and bully tactics - big red flags! Some online booking directories will actually compete with a restaurant's website on Google, and not only that they will charge you 3 times more when the customer books from that directory. With huge marketing teams and massive budgets they are likely to rank above you when searching for your own restaurant. And you will lose out a lot of the time.

If the booking widget on your website goes down, what happens? We've seen some shocking times where a customer has made it to the restaurant's own website and the widget has stopped working. It then referred the customer onto other nearby options... which they booked. It's very important to make sure that your widget is oriented to help YOU, and not the customer or directory. 

Drive people to your website as much as possible, it might not seem that important now, but that website is an incredible platform and communication channel. If people are continually booking from the directory, they are gaining traffic that you should be. The more you build it, the more you have to build on, and the more customers you reach. Just make sure that once the customer finds your restaurant's website, you are in control.