Try to see your future website through your visitors eyes. Your primary objective (in order to promote your place and meals you serve) is making food menu easily accessible, clear and readable. People want and need to know the restaurant’s location and it’s operating hours. Let them get a feel for your interior and dining experience by posting high-quality (preferably professional) photographs. Make sure to create your website with responsive feature built-in, as many of your visitors will access and browse your website pages using their mobile devices – smartphones and tablets.
We’d like to share essential pieces of advice for restaurant owners who plan to build a new restaurant website or re-design an old one.
Create web-based food menus
The food menu is a central part of any restaurant business, so obviously it plays a crucial role in any restaurant website. Visitors should have a very fast access to your menu, able to find with ease meals they might want to taste and get an idea about prices.
Just don’t simply post links to download your menu in PDF format. No doubt, it’s rather frustrating for visitors and absolutely not user-friendly. Users don’t need your menu file on their computer, not to mention that PDF menus make your website slower and will not help to reach top positions in search engines.
We advise to integrate food menu with the design. WordPress-based websites can include the food menus as custom posts, so basically they are designed in such a way that makes them easy to update when necessary. This way, you enable your visitors to see accurate up-to-date information.
Take a look at the example on one of our fast-food restaurant WordPress theme
Contact info, location & hours are website’s must have
Your restaurant website must display contact information, location, and operating hours – it’s imperative. You may lose a customer, if, because of the lack of information, he decides not to dine at your restaurant. People need to know where your place is located and what hours are best to eat there.
Contact info — telephone number, fax, and email — should be clearly visible on every page of the website. Top position, named website header, will be a good idea, as it will definitely catch an eye, especially when browsed on mobile devices. A plain-text phone number should be used so that on phones, it can be clicked to initiate a call.
An embedded Google Map is the best solution for displaying your location. It’s a very user-friendly option, as potential customers will be able to navigate via a maps app and get directions to your restaurant.
Go responsive to ensure pleasant user experience
Responsive web design (read – a website adjusting to any screen resolution for comfy browsing) has become an essential part in the web design field over the last few years. Restaurants belong to the industry where mobile-optimized website is necessarily vital to attract more customers.
Restaurant-goers use various social networks, mobile apps (like TripAdvisor, Yelp or FourSquare) and Google maps to search for nearby restaurants. If they get to your restaurant’s website and enjoy a pleasant, easy-to-use, optimized mobile website, this will result into booking of a table at your place.
While your competitors reject modern responsive technologies, don’t waste your time – build a responsive optimized website!
Share your photos — everyone wants to see them
Your guests really want to know what category your place belongs to: is it fancy and upscale or casual and family-oriented? This could really help attract right audience, who can later on transform into your loyal and returning customers. So it’s essential that you integrate a photo gallery on the website. It doesn’t need to include hundreds of photos, but make sure to showcase good shots that nicely portray the interior decor, outdoor seating (if any), show the scenic view, etc. We’d recommend having a photo slider on Homepage, as well as more detailed gallery page.
Integrate social media
People dine out to socialize and are happy to recommend their favorite places and meals to friends. A restaurant website should add social media features (“Like” buttons, social share widgets, social media news feeds) to help spread a good word about your place, thus promoting it. Linking some cool icons to your social media accounts is a good start. We’d recommend: adding Facebook Like Box, integrating best reviews and testimonials sections to your website, including social sharing buttons (Tweet, Facebook like, etc.) to individual pieces of content like blog posts or menu items.
Go even further…
Online table bookings
You can setup your own online reservations system to power your website to accept real time bookings and promote your restaurant online. Instant online restaurant reservations save customers’ time and don’t require any special efforts from both sides. Bear in mind, someone will need to be managing your booking form back-end to accept all of the form submissions and reservations.
Having an online ordering system could easily boost your sales, moreover if you offer takeout and delivery orders. Add more value by allowing customers to order food through the website.
If you regularly host events, do not hesitate to include a list of upcoming (and past) events with photos and other info. This is one of the greatest ways to keep the content on your website fresh, interactive and engaging.
Creating an effective content for your website always has the user at the top of mind, so get creative to increase traffic and engage visitors: post stories and legends from your restaurant’s history, video tours of the place, or stream live video of your restaurant events.