Amin Makhani is a data-driven marketing leader. His first marketing hire was for Yext (NYSE:YEXT) and the company grew revenues from $5MM to$120MM. Amin also led acquisition strategy and execution for SMB to Enterprise. He is a full-funnel marketer: Awareness -> Click -> Lead-> Opportunity -> Transaction -> Renewal -> Referral.
Currently Amin Makhani is the VP of Growth at BentoBox. BentoBox helps restaurants grow their business online through a connected suite of tools. Its platform offers thousands of restaurants worldwide an integrated web presence to connect with their guests and drive revenue online.
Restaurant Website Features and Online Presence
Takeaways from this interview:
- High quality design
- Revenue generating features, make more money from your website than you’re spending on it
- Make clear what you offer
- Use photos that really explain what you’re doing and highlight those photos
- Put information in the right places where users look again
- Mobile friendly
- Get your website certified accessible (ADA, Americans with Disability Acts)
- Use a CMS designed specifically for restaurants, so there’s no excess features
- Have control over your webpages and profiles on listing sites
In this video Amin shares with us what makes his company Bentobox stand out and also what he things is important for your restaurant’s online presence.
AMIN MAKHANI: I’m Amin Makhani. I work at BentoBox. I’m the VP of Growth, and I’ve been in B2B marketing for about 10 years. BentoBox makes websites for restaurants. It’s a design focus to make sure the website looks great and is an extension of the brand, and also a revenue generating focus to make sure that the restaurant has an opportunity to make revenue from the website, selling gift cards and online catering orders.
B2BNXT: How do you add value to your clients?
AMIN MAKHANI: The design is superior to what you’re going to get from a do yourself or your friend making the site, or even a lot of restaurant design companies, just because we work with 4,000 restaurants, we’ve designed a lot of websites. We’ve designed websites for every cuisine, and in every country, and in every region.
So when we talk to restaurant owners, we know we can tell what they want, and we can give them that exact site. So, I think one is design and then two is those same revenue generating features I mentioned allow them to make more money from their website than they’re spending on it, which I think is really important.
B2BNXT: What differentiates you from the competition?
AMIN MAKHANI: There’s a couple that are kind of in our space, but not at the scale we’re doing. You know, maybe they have 50 or 100 clients, but the design quality isn’t as high.
Our CMS is designed specifically for restaurants, so if you were to use a Squarespace, or Wix, or WordPress, you’re going to have to figure out how to make this site work for what you need, where our CMS is designed specifically for restaurants, so there’s no excess features and everything is intuitive, easy to use, exactly where you think these features should live.
B2BNXT: What are some features of BentoBox?
AMIN MAKHANI: There is an onboarding process and design process that happens prelaunch. And they go back and forth with an onboarding manager, with their restaurant brand guidelines and how they think of their restaurant, maybe some examples, sites that they’ve liked before. And then the onboarding manager works with our designers to make them a site that they’re going to love. And then once that site is up and live, the restaurant owner has access to update menu items, or prices, or a bio, or add new photos as they get them.
B2BNXT: What results are your clients seeing from working with you?
AMIN MAKHANI: First result is that they’re getting a website they love, but then we’re seeing, a New York City restaurant recently signed up with us, and they’re getting three times the private event inquiries that they used to get. And a lot of that is just making sure that when people come to your site, they know that you offer private event inquiries. And then if you’re tagging things correctly, that’s going to start showing up in Google, and then it’s going to get picked up by other aggregators. So if you’re not making sure that it’s really clear on your website what you offer, then it’s going to be harder for customers to find that information.
Our sales specialists are helping restaurants think about how they can use their website to generate revenue, rather than just be a cost center for them. Whatever you’re offering that is a high margin business for you, make sure that your website promotes it.
B2BNXT: Can you share some of our clients with us?
AMIN MAKHANI: We work with everything from Eleven Madison Park, which was the number one restaurant in the world just two years ago, all the way to mom and pop restaurants in middle America. So a big range. Union Square Hospitality, we’ve made a lot of great sites for them. Daily Provisions and Gramercy Tavern are two examples that I really like.
B2BNXT: What are the ingredients of a good website?
AMIN MAKHANI: The use of photos, to really make sure that you take the photos that really explain what you’re doing and highlight those photos on the website. Making sure all the information is in the right places where users look again, and then mobile friendly, of course. You’re seeing 40, 50% of restaurant websites are still not mobile friendly. Probably because they had them made a long time ago. You know, you had a website made six, seven years ago, it’s probably not a equipped to handle what mobile browsers do today.
B2BNXT: How important are reviews on the website?
AMIN MAKHANI: You want to make sure that you’re on top of your views. You want to make sure that you have control over your listing sites. You want to make sure you’ve claimed your Google site, you’ve claimed your Yelp profile, you’ve claimed your Facebook profile, your Foursquare. That’s imperative for restaurants, make sure they’re on top of how people are talking about them online. We offer a product called LocalSync, and it syncs all of your information and pulls it in from Facebook, and Google, and Foursquare.
B2BNXT: What are some upcoming trends in your space?
AMIN MAKHANI: I think one of the biggest trends right now in restaurant websites is ADA, Americans with Disability Acts. And what we’re seeing is that in a few court rulings across Florida, California, and New York, the courts have decided that the Americans with Disability Act extends not just to the physical restaurant, but also to the restaurant’s website. So the website has to be accessible for people with disabilities, and that means colorblind, or deaf or visually impaired. And making a website that is certified accessible is really important for someone because they’re at risk of lawsuits today. When you sign with BentoBox, you can get a letter of certification that says that your website has been certified accessible.