There’s an excellent article in the 6/23/2020 edition of SmashingMagazine.com by Suzanne Scacca that examines the ways COVID-19 is forcing the restaurant sector to radically rethink the way they approach websites.
Restaurants are notorious for having some of the worst websites. To a large degree, it’s the byproduct of having services like Yelp and OpenTable become the source for revenue generating traffic. As a result, a lousy web design with outdated info wasn’t as big of a problem as it would be for an online retailer.
Then came COVID-19.
Almost overnight, restaurants had to begin looking for ways to diversify and enhance revenue streams and services in ways that Yelp and OpenTable weren’t able to provide. Scacca’s article provides an overview of three crucial items traditional in-person businesses needed to survive in an increasingly digital world:
- Modernize their websites. Rethink design to focus more on critical conversion goals of revenue generation, lead gen, and social engagement.
- Websites should empower a business to diversity their income. For the arts and culture sector, this is exactly the pain point many orgs are experiencing. For example, ideas may emerge but fail to get implemented due to limitations in existing ecommerce/CRM/ticketing platforms.
- Improve visibility on third-party platforms. The obvious points of contact are traditional social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But in the spirit of going to where the customers are, the arts and culture sector will need to rethink engaging with platforms like yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google My Business.
Scacca’s post is written with designers and developers in mind and her final thoughts reflect this audience. But that shouldn’t stop arts managers from internalizing the message:
We’re at a point now where restaurants can no longer be reluctant or stingy about improving their digital presence. And, as a web designer, this should get you excited.
There’s a lot you can do to help businesses in this space beyond designing basic websites. Because so much of their digital transformation involves making sales online, you’ll get to design experiences that are intuitive, modern, and mouth-watering while also creating new monetized pathways for them.