6 FREE (or almost free) Internet Sites To Build Your Restaurant Business

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The yellow pages are dead, long live the yellow pages.  

Have you Googled your restaurant lately? Don’t think it matters? You live on drive by and carry out traffic?

Think again. use 

1.http:// www.dotmenu.com – This web service allows you to publish your menu online. This way when somebody is looking for your restaurant they can get a better idea of what you offer.  The service publishes your menu for free, but also has other services that may make sense including on-line ordering and cross promotions ideas.  Having your menu online is also important if you have a carry out business.  A well laid out menu may encourage your customers to order an extra appetizer or dessert that they would not have thought of otherwise.

2. http://www.YELP.com – If you don’t like what you see here, then your customers don’t like what they see at your place either.  You can’t satisfy every customer, but it would be nice if the trend is up in your ratings.  Take a real look at what people are saying and if it makes sense take action.  Then, when you think folks are happy.  Pass out YELP cards.  (Business cards with information on how to rate your restaurant on YELP.) Get them talking about you.  The community will notice! There are other sites to leave reviews at, but you only have so much time in the day.  If a local directory seems more important in your mind then promote it.  But limit yourself to one site at a time.  And remember, don’t bribe your customers.  Just give them your best service and food at a fair price.  Good reviews will follow.

3. http://maps.google.com/maps – No, Google does not automatically know who you are.  They probably do. But they may not.  Go to Google maps and enter your information.  There’s other places to do this as well, but Google will cover most of your bases.  If someone asks for cash to update your listing, I would skip it.

4. www.Twitter.com – Not many of your customers are probably using this service yet.  But if you have a younger audience let them know your Twitter name and ask them to follow you! You can send them occasional special offers or have special Twitter nights.

5. www.Facebook.com or www.myspace.com.  One or the other, unless you have plenty of time.  Again, use the space to promote special nights and offers. Getting the community together to raise money for your favorite charity? Inviting a local author in to speak and then feast? Wine tasting followed by dinner?  Communication becomes simple as you increase your presence here.

6. www.constantcontact.com – If you don’t want to deal with twitter and want to go the email route instead.  This portal provides both templates, content and good email management tools.  Costs a bit of money, but easier than trying to manage your own list of emails.

Done all that?  Now Google yourself and see what happens!

Fred Schlegel is a marketer and writer at www.frogblog.biz

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