Staring at a blank page with the cursor blinking at you can be intimidating.
I understand. I write for a living.
And for some reason, it gets even harder when you try to write about yourself. That’s probably why there are so many bad About Us pages out there. They’re soulless and don’t say much. If you were to swap out the name of the company, they could easily apply to just about any business.
Why do you need an About page?
Well, “need” is a strong word. If you don’t have one, it certainly won’t tank your restaurant. But there are some benefits to an “About Us” page.
First, it’s an opportunity to humanize your restaurant and tell your story. Think of it this way: if the Menu page is the “what” you do, and the Contact page is the “where” you do it, the About Us page is the “who” and “why.” It’s a chance to create a human connection with your online audience. Why not take advantage of it?
Second, it’s extra content to add to your website. Search engines like content. It makes them happy. So if you can write a few hundred extra words in an About Us page, it may give your SEO a little boost.
What should you include?
I will almost never tell you that you must include or exclude anything from your website. But I do suggest that you include two primary components in your About Us page.
First, there’s the personal or company story. This is the part about you.
Then, there’s the benefit. This is the part about the customer.
Let’s start with the story.
Sometimes we forget that businesses are run by people. And people connect with other people by sharing stories—where they’ve been, what they’ve learned, how they’ve grown.
The About Us page is a chance to tell your story. For some restaurants, they’ll want to focus on the executive chef and their background. For others, they may prefer to share the company history. Whatever the story is, it needs to be engaging and interesting if the potential customer is going to read it.
“My Italian grandmother taught me how to make pasta from scratch, so here I am,” is not a story.
“Grandma Giovanna was born in Sicily in 1927. She spent an idyllic childhood eating grapes off the vines from the family vineyard and learning to cook traditional Sicilian food alongside her mother. But when she was 13, a German Panzer division occupied her village, and her life changed forever…” That’s the beginning of an interesting story.
“After the occupation, Grandma Giovanna was sent to live with relatives in America, but she continued to cook her traditional Sicilian dishes to remind her of home. Years later, she shared her family recipes with her granddaughter, Marisa, and now Chef Marisa is bringing them to you…”
Clearly, not every restaurant’s roots are placed in something so dramatic as a daring escape from Sicily during WWII. Sometimes, a few friends just thought it would be cool to open a restaurant. But I’d argue that you can always find an interesting angle. For a good example, check out this About Us page that I wrote for a client, the Stonewall Motor Lodge.
This is where you shift focus away from the restaurant and back to the guest. It’s time for you to share what you provide your customers that no one else does.
What are you all about? What are your company values, and how do they differentiate you from other restaurants?
The About Us page for one of my favorite restaurants in Austin, Emmer & Rye, does a nice job with this. They highlight their focus on heirloom grains, whole animal butchery, and in-house fermentation. They also briefly explain what to expect when you dine with them—small plates to share, as well as the dim sum carts that circulate the restaurant.
Keywords and Search Traffic
Work some keywords into your restaurant’s About page. Do a little keyword research to see what terms you could try to rank for. (If you’re not familiar with SEO keywords, download this guide for a quick explanation and some free resources to get you started.)
For example, maybe you have a local Mexican restaurant. The term “best margaritas in Austin” gets 1,300 searches per month, and has very low competition. So if you can work “best margaritas in Austin” and related terms into your website, you may be able to get some of that traffic to your site. The About Us page is a perfect place to include that phrase.
Ubersuggest is one of my favorite tools for this kind of research. It’s free and it doesn’t overcomplicate things like some of the other keyword tools out there.
What should it sound like?
You’re not Shakespeare, and that’s okay. Neither am I. You’re writing for normal, everyday people. That means it should be simple and easy to understand. And don’t scoff at simple. You know who consistently wrote at a 5th-grade reading level? Hemingway. Simple makes for great writing.
Your restaurant’s About Us page should sound like you. If you run a fun, laid back place, keep that tone consistent in your writing. That means contractions, short sentences, maybe a joke or two.
But if your restaurant is ultra-conservative with starched aprons and a dress code, you’ll want to sound more professional. It’s okay to talk about the quality of your offerings and your dedication to excellence. Just avoid the buzzwords!
Before you post it, read it out loud. Does it flow naturally? Are there any places where you used a specific phrase twice? If anything sounds off, revisit it. Ask someone else to read it, too. Make sure they know they have full authority to pick it apart if it isn’t working.
Your restaurant’s About Us page is a great opportunity to finish telling the story that your menu and pictures have begun. Spend some time thinking it through.
Or, hire a professional copywriter to help you. Wink wink.