6 Tips for Building Your Restaurant Website
Your restaurant’s website is one of your most important marketing tools. Many of your customers will check you out online before they decide to visit, so your website needs to provide them with a stellar experience. On the other hand, if your website is poorly designed, it could turn them off from actually visiting your restaurant.
When people visit your restaurant website they have very specific needs in mind. Address these and you’ll have one happy customer.
Luckily, it’s never been easier to build a great website for your restaurant. However, your restaurant website needs to have certain elements in place if you want it to show up in Google and actually be useful for your customers. Let’s take a look at what those are!
1. Display Your Menu Prominently
Your menu is one of the core features of your site. When potential customers visit your website they want to know what kind of food you’re serving and what your prices look like.
You should make this information as easy to find as possible.
A lot of restaurant websites make the mistake of displaying their menus as downloadable PDFs, or make their visitor’s search for the menu. This is a big mistake. Feature it front and center as a regular page on your website! This way Google can easily scan your menu and display it in the search results.
Also, make sure you choose a font that makes your menu easy to read, even on small screens.
2. Feature Your Hours of Operation and Contact Information
Once a customer looks at your menu and has found it appetizing, then they’ll start looking around to see where you are and if you’re open.
Make this information easy to find on your site. A lot of restaurants hide this information on a contact page, or aren’t consistent with updating their hours.
By displaying this information prominently and keeping it updated regularly, you’ll have visitors putting down their phones, leaving their homes, and enjoying a delicious meal at your restaurant in no time.
3. Offer Online Reservations Through Your Website
If you decide to include an online reservation system, then you better make sure it works. If a potential customer goes through the process of making a reservation and the app crashes, or the reservation doesn’t go through, this will create a poor experience once they arrive at your restaurant before they even sit down.
With so many restaurants to choose from, a single negative experience is often enough to stop someone from coming back again.
The same can be said for your online ordering system. If you’re using a third-party ordering system, or have it natively installed on your site, then it needs to work. Make sure you spend time testing both systems for any errors before you make them available to the public.
4. Show Off Your Food with Beautiful Imagery
You want the feel of your website to mimic the ambiance of your restaurant. Now, this doesn’t mean it’s time to populate your site with cheesy photos of families smiling.
If possible, try to get actual photos of your restaurant and the food you serve. It can even be helpful to hire a professional photographer to take these photos for you. You want your food to look incredibly appetizing and just snapping a quick picture on your iPhone often won’t have the same effect.
Since your visitor is already hungry, you want to invoke these senses even more with incredibly appetizing photos. Your goal should be to have your customers salivating and getting ready to place an order or come by your restaurant.
5. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile Friendly
People search for restaurants when they’re already out and about. Chances are a large proportion of your visitors are going to access your site via their mobile phones. If your site doesn’t load properly on a smartphone you’re going to miss out on a ton of potential customers.
Plus, if your site isn’t mobile friendly this will have a negative impact on your search engines rankings in Google. This means that when someone searches for restaurants in your area you’ll be nowhere to be found.
On your mobile website make sure your location, hours, and menu are very easy to find. When someone is on the go these crucial pieces of information will help them decide quickly whether to not to visit your restaurant.
6. Stay True to Your Brand
It’s possible your restaurant website will be the first experience that a customer has with your brand. For this reason your website needs to make an impression and be in alignment with your restaurant.
If your brand is quirkier and caters toward a more vibrant crowd, then make sure you highlight this in your website copy and imagery. While, if your restaurant is very upscale, then you’ll want to speak to this.
Your colors, layout, font choice, logo, and images all work together to convey what your restaurant is all about. You’ll want your visitor to have the same experience on your website that they do the moment they step foot into your restaurant.
Using a Website Builder to Create Your Restaurant Website
Now that you know what elements to include in your restaurant website, it’s time to start building! There are a variety of options you’ll have at your disposal, from full-fledged content platforms to online web builders.
It can be a little overwhelming trying to decide the best option for your needs, which is why we recommend using a website builder.
HostGator’s website builder is incredibly easy to use and has a number of beautifully designed templates perfect for any restaurant of cafe. All you have to do is plug in your unique restaurant details and you’re all set. Use a restaurant theme or customize one of the other pre-built layouts to your brand.
Best of all, all of the templates are mobile optimized, SEO-friendly, and easily integrate with your social media channels. Bring on those Instagram pics!
Your restaurant website is the virtual face of your restaurant. By focusing on the elements above you’ll have a restaurant website that’s enticing and makes your customers fall in love. Just make sure your online experience is just as good as in person and you’ll be all set.