In this digital age, it is common for consumers to research restaurants’ websites while deciding on a place to eat. This is why websites for restaurants are so vital. That being said, the restaurant industry are known for poor-quality and outdated websites. A quality website can make the difference between a new customer and a missed opportunity. No matter how great your food, service and ambiance are, a badly constructed website can reflect poorly on your business.
Most people assume the quality of a restaurant’s website is reflective of the quality of the restaurant itself, so you definitely want to be sure to keep your restaurant website design in good shape. Consider your website the face of your restaurant’s brand. It is what forms potential customers’ first impression and sets the stage for their expectations. You have already mastered your menu, customer service and location, now it is time to make your website compliment that.
Here are 13 features all successful restaurant websites must have.
- Contact Information
When you are designing a website for your business, you have to consider why people may be visiting your website in the first place. When it comes to websites for restaurants, one of the most common reasons someone may visit your site is to check your location, hours or phone number to ask a question or make a reservation. In addition to a contact page, your restaurant’s address, phone number and hours should be visible on all pages. This makes it simple for website visitors to become real visitors to your restaurant. You can even link your address to Google Maps so directions are just a click away no matter where your visitors are located. Likewise, a clickable phone number that can be auto-dialed for mobile visitors is also a great idea.
Aside from figuring out the location or phone number, one of the most common reasons for someone to visit your restaurant’s website is to check out the menu. A responsive online menu is crucial. Do not just upload a photo of your actual menu because:
-It can be difficult for mobile users to scroll through.
-It is more difficult for search engines to read.
This also goes for PDF menus. It is best to avoid any unnecessary steps to get your website visitors to the information they are looking for. Forcing people to download a PDF of your menu rather than listing your menu details directly on the site. Many people will click off your website the second they witness the download button. PDF menus are an especially huge nuisance for mobile users as the menu takes up data, which does not come cheap depending on your phone plan. As an alternative, you could link a PDF version of your menu that opens a new tab for users. It loads quickly and is easy to view.
- Great Images of your Food
The power of great pictures is real. Although people cannot taste images, having these pictures of your food on your website is vital to give consumers a glimpse of what you have to offer. However, low-quality or unappetizing images can have the opposite effect. One thing to remember when taking photos of your food is that people like seeing portion sizes. Be honest with the portions shown in your photos, otherwise, patrons may be upset if they receive a smaller plate than they expected based on what they saw on your website. Make sure you take good quality and sharp images. Investing in high-quality photos from a professional photographer is a worthwhile investment. A single good photo can gain you countless customers.
- Online Ordering
More and more restaurants and fast food joints have turned to online ordering options for delivery and takeout. The ease of online ordering is incredibly tempting to consumers, particularly over placing orders by phone. Many people feel more comfortable providing credit card information on a secure website than reading the card number over the phone, plus there are fewer chances of orders being messed up by mishearing someone. Even if you do not have delivery services or offer takeout, offering mobile options for placing reservations or placing catering orders can be extremely beneficial to your business.
- Images of your Restaurant’s Interior
As well as photos of the food, websites for restaurants should also include images of the restaurant itself. These images help set the scene for future customers so they know what to expect when they step foot in your restaurant. Ideally, your website should feature pictures of the interior and exterior of your restaurant. If the exterior needs some work, images of the interior should do the trick.
- A website theme that matches your restaurant’s style
As a restaurant owner, you understand the importance of atmosphere. Think of your website as an extension of your physical space. Does your website create a virtual version of the same atmosphere your restaurant provides? Consistency is the key.
If you run an upscale restaurant that caters to wealthier clientele go for a minimalistic design for your website with plenty of white space. If your restaurant is based around families, add a few whimsical features. Since your website is typically the first thing people see before they go to your restaurant, you want their first impression to be consistent with what they will see when they get there.
You can even match the colour scheme of your website to the decor of our restaurant. Use your website to evoke the type of experience you hope your restaurant creates for its visitors. You definitely want to attract the right kinds of customers and create proper expectations. A cheaply designed website with lots of conversational text may draw the attention of fast food whilst a sleek, modern design could attract more high-brow customer.
- A Unique ‘About’ Section
Websites for restaurants can benefit from the use of an ‘about’ section. Look at the about section for your website as an opportunity to tell your story. If you use locally sourced ingredients or your great-grandmother’s recipes, let your customers know. The about section is also a great opportunity to play up your restaurant’s key advantages. If you are unsure which strengths you should play up look no further than your online reviews. The pictures of your food should do the talking, but you can also use the about section to inform readers about your food. The combination of eye-catching images and skillfully written text can really help engage visitors and help them see the full picture of what you have to offer. The about section highlights what makes you different.
- When Possible, Incorporate Videos
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video is worth 1,000,000. Here are some video ideas you could include on your website:
-Reviews from customers: Most restaurant goers may not like having a camera in their face whilst they are eating, but many will be more than willing to say a few kind words on camera in exchange for a free or discounted meal.
-Food being prepared: Giving future customers a glimpse into the food prep process can speak volumes about the cleanliness of your kitchen and the freshness of your ingredients.
-A video explaining the restaurant’s founding and mission statement: This can be a great opportunity to put some life into the words on your about section.
- Event Calendar
This is not vital for all restaurant websites, but if you have somewhat frequent events or rotating specials, it can be helpful to include a calendar on your website. Remember to update the calendar regularly. There is nothing more frustrating than clicking on a calendar only to find it has not been updated for years. If you are looking for some fun events to host at your restaurant to get customers coming in, consider regularly occurring trivia or bingo nights. Websites for restaurants are a prime hub to host information about upcoming events that can be advertised through social media.
- Links to your Social Media Profiles and Review Sites
Websites for restaurants are great for cross-promoting your social media and review site profiles. You can place links in the footer of your website, or on a unique page you specifically dedicate to outside links. Ensure your social media sites are consistent with the branding of your website and that you stay active on review sites, responding to reviews when needed. Also, your social media networks should link back to your website. All links should also open up new windows or tabs to make sure people do not exit completely from your website.
This is a web design feature that is not recognizable to consumers, however, it is essential for all successful restaurant websites. You cannot keep track of how effective your website is without some sort of analytics. There are a variety of analytic tools that you can track everything from where websites visitors are located to which pages get the most views.
If you are unsure of where to start, here are a few useful metrics you should be tracking:
-Bounce rate: this refers to the rate at which people exit your site without converting into a customer. The more time people spend on your site, the better, so you will want your bounce rate to be as low as possible.
-Keywords: If you plan on doing any search engine optimization or Google advertising, you will definitely want to know which keywords people are looking to find on your website. This can also help you refine the words you use to market your business.
-Devices: You can also track what kinds of devices people are accessing your website from. Given the on the go nature of the average restaurant website visitor, it is likely the majority of your visitors are on mobile devices. Analytics can determine whether or not you are accurately tapping into the mobile market, as well as which operating systems your visitors are commonly using.
- Catering and Event Reservation Information
If you offer any catering options or allow your restaurant to be rented out for parties, weddings or corporate events, ensure to include this information on a separate page of your website. These can be big opportunities for you and your business, so you want to make the information easy to discover. Otherwise, website visitors may be tempted to look elsewhere.
- Responsive Layout
52% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices. It is absolutely imperative for all restaurant websites to be able to adjust to any screen size or device type. Most people search for restaurant website on the go whilst deciding where to eat. If your website is not easy to navigate on a mobile device, you are missing out. Most fast food chains even offer mobile payment options, making mobile websites for restaurants and even apps all the more vital.
A quality website can make the difference between a new customer and a missed opportunity. No matter how great your food, service and ambiance are, a poorly constructed website can reflect badly on your business. These 13 features will pave the way to your online success so begin by implementing them. Then, sit back and watch the customers roll in.