Confidence in Catering - Promoting your business online

by Alistair Coats

With customers increasingly looking online to decide who to buy catering from, creating a reliable looking brand is more important than ever. But what’s the best way to build up a strong web presence and a range of positive reviews?

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In the 1990s, most restaurants wouldn’t have even considered going online. It was expensive, time-consuming, and not likely to improve revenues. A quarter of a century later, the barriers have pretty much collapsed, and the benefits are so great that a lot of caterers rely heavily on the web for new business.

This blog looks at ways to build a strong online presence and use web reviews to improve customer confidence, with statistics from a recent BrightLocal survey.

Be there when the customer is looking...

97% of consumers looked online for local businesses in 2017, with 12% looking for a local business online every day

Google is the first port of call for potential customers, so you’ve got to be there when they are looking. While this ideally means starting an Ads campaigns in all the major search engines and bidding on the local relevant keywords, simply having a website and social media presence will massively increase your discoverability.

A website can be built from a template in SquareSpace, Wix or Wordpress and made to look professional in less than an hour. Social media presence also builds customer confidence and perhaps most importantly shares your contact details with potential customers - attention spans in the digital age are not great, and nobody is going to spend long working out how to reach a caterer that doesn’t seem to want to be contacted.

The reviews system may be broken, but the customer doesn’t care…

79% of consumers have read a fake review in the last year, but a worrying 84% can't always spot them

Review sites are plagued with manipulation, from facebook groups of restaurant owners helping each other out with five star reviews, to back-stabbing competitors giving their rivals potentially ruinous one-star attacks. But, as mentioned earlier, the customer trusts reviews anyway.

This means that it’s better to try to build positive reviews than attempt to not take part at all. Yelp & Facebook are thought to be among the most trusted review sites, followed by Google &

According to the Local Consumer Review Survey, 68% of consumers left a review for a local business when asked, so it may be easier than you think to collect several genuine, impartial reviews. Consumers read any average of 7 reviews before trusting a business, but the more the better, as this number is increasing year-on-year.

A negative review is not the end of the world…

Responding to reviews is more important than ever, with 30% naming this as key when judging local businesses

It’s almost inevitable that you will receive the occasional bad review, but this doesn’t mean the end. 30% of people named a company’s response to reviews as a key factor in their judgement of the business. Replying to unreasonable reviews can undo the damage of customers who may not have a fair argument, and they are a good way to give the business a bit of character. While sarcastic responses are not recommended, some caterers can actually earn a lot of good-will by sticking up for themselves.

That’s a quick run through the biggest concerns most caterers have about building an online presence and controlling their brand. Our advice is always that the benefits of going online far outweigh the costs. The digital movement is picking up pace, and caterers that don’t take part will struggle to stay competitive.

This desire to go digital is one of the reasons many companies give for joining Spoonfed - we represent a simple way to sell online and own the space, rather than be jostling for position alongside several competitors. The system is also built to ensure caterers minimize errors and improve customer satisfaction, encouraging positive reviews. If you’d like to know how Spoonfed could benefit your business, click on the the icon at the bottom left and chat with us...

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