”Send me a link.” Show of hands – how many of you haven't gotten this reply when you tell someone about something? No one? That's what I thought. In 2016 there is just no getting around it: if you're not linkable, you don't exist. Latvian establishments have everything to learn about this. Take, for example, the owner of an establishment in Riga that I visited. When asked if he has a website, he gave me a sheepish look, like I had just been beamed down from a UFO, and said ”what for?”. I know I've complained about this in previous posts, but I keep finding reasons to reiterate it. It doesn't have to be pretty, but you do need a decent online presence. The widespread lack of one is particularly baffling in Riga, where the life of restaurants is often solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. I'm not saying that having a website will magically propel your business to astonishing success, but I'm absolutely convinced that it helps.
Also, if you do have a website, make sure that it's actually functional. There is just no excuse for broken links, out-of-date information, email addresses which don't exist, etc. Furthermore, if you claim to be reachable by email, Facebook messaging and the like, please show people the basic courtesy of replying to their requests. Ignoring people who write to you creates a disproportionate amount of badwill. Perhaps you object that communicating with customers online takes time and energy away from your business, but the fact of the matter is, this is your business. Provided that you actually want customers, that is.
Nowadays, it's neither expensive or difficult to make a website, and I really hope that Latvian food and drink establishments will start taking their online presence more seriously. It really is an investment in money and time that will benefit everyone.