The age-old question for social media remains the same: How do I convert online consumers into paying customers? Numerous restaurants are still struggling with the issue of driving online consumers into their restaurant. In my opinion, restaurant owners can ultimately benefit from using social networks such as Urbanspoon.

Here are three ways restaurants can utilize Urbanspoon to increase sales and walk-in customers.

Claim and unlock your location

Above everything, we highly recommend that restaurants “claim” their business listing for free and fill in any basic information regarding the company. Unlocking this page allows your business to communicate with people who review your restaurant. If potential consumers are searching for your business on Urbanspoon, you want to make sure your most important information, such as your address and phone number(s), are correct and up to date.

Sign up for Rezbook

Urbanspoon’s online reservations system features integrated and simple table management and a customer database that runs entirely on the Apple iPad. It also provides advanced table management and marketing functionality at your fingertips. Some of the benefits:

  • Real time: Promote table availability and send messages to guests
  • Advanced customer-relationship tool: Identify VIPs, track food allergies and record table preferences
  • Free off-peak promotion: Drive business through perks
  • Unlimited access from any iPad or Web browser
  •  Wait list: Manage your wait list and page guests with a text message when their table is ready

Rezbook can help restaurants further monetize the social media platform and plays a vital role in bridging the online-to-offline gap with real-time social media conversion if done accurately. A “reservation” box will be placed on your listing on Urbanspoon, making it simple for consumers searching for your business to instantly reserve a table.

Building your diner database

Rezbook helps build your restaurant’s e-mail list so you can market to loyal guests, which is a great way to drive walk-in traffic or reservations during a slow season. Develop a targeted special promotion, and broadcast it to your captured database of existing customers.

Your customers are more socially savvy than you might think. They are using multiple social platforms to find restaurants where they prefer to spend their hard-earned cash. Your job is not only to provide the best food and customer service but also to make sure that they RSVP and walk into your restaurant (not into your competitor’s next door).

Do you use Urbanspoon or another social network to drive walk-in customers or reservations?

Andre Kay is the CEO and chief marketing officer for Sociallybuzz, which provides social media management, marketing, fan-page management and social media consultation. Sociallybuzz is designed to help companies, brands and businesses with social media development and marketing while delivering the greatest number of options in how they define and reach their relevant audiences. Sociallybuzz is a social media partner of Urbanspoon’s Rezbook.

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4 Responses to “3 ways restaurants can use Urbanspoon to increase sales and walk-in customers”

  1. Ivan says:

    I work with Reservation Genie and we compete with Urban Spoon as an alternative to Open Table. I see a lot of reservation solutions out there, most are just software. There's a big difference between Urban Spoon and those "just software" companies. Urban Spoon has an active community that can be turned into referrals immediately by signing up with Rez Book as it gives you featured placement in their guide. That’s the immediate value they offer that other “just software” solutions do not.

    The issue is determining if it’s worth the monthly fee and if they have a promo offer to add your restaurant to their list without paying monthly fees. Last I heard they would give you an extended free trial, but that period may have expired. I'm not sure if the traffic you’ll receive is worth the fees in comparison to our model. At http://www.reservationgenie.com, we only charge $49 per month for our basic system and it offers most of the tools outlined above with off peak hour promotion, VIP management, etc. The difference is that our booking community is also free…anybody that goes back to Reservation Genie to book in the future does not incur a cover fee. Urban Spoon and Open Table charge $1 per person for these reservations the next time around. So if you funnel your users through the Reservation Genie booking interface, it won’t lead to higher invoices over time like it does with Open Table and Urban Spoon. You can learn more about Reservation Genie by visiting our Tour page. http://www.reservationgenie.com/tour

  2. Jack Serpa says:

    Andre does a nice job explaining benefits of Urban Spoon. These benefits can be unlocked on several other social media platforms and review sites. We think so highly of Urban Spoon and open Table, we recently integrated them into our social media management application, called Engage121. Oddly, 29 restaurant brands signed up with Engage121 in 29 days. We'd love to show you why.

    Jack Serpa
    EVP
    Engage121, Inc

  3. Conrad Saam says:

    Ivan – you raise a good point . . . is it worth it? Because Urbanspoon only charges for putting customers into a restaurant who wouldn't have otherwise been there, I'd argue, absolutely yes. As you refer to, an online reservation product is only as good as the network that it stands behind – and with over 30 million monthly visits from people looking for their next restaurant, Urbanspoon delivers. The most expensive thing in a restaurant is not a monthly fee for an online reservation product – its the empty seat. Filling that empty seat is the problem Urbanspoon solves for restaurants.

    -Conrad from Urbanspoon

  4. Dat says:

    I was in the restaurant management business for 10yrs as an employee and WOW!! wish Urban Spoon was around. I've seen that site a few times before but never new that it did so many things. That's brilliant to have a reservation system for restaurants who list with you- what value!! We had over 600-800 people per day at the restaurant I used to work at and never thought to collect email addresses at that time over 5yrs ago!!

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