10 Tips for a Successful Restaurant Website

In today’s world, simply having a website for your restaurant is not enough. There are many pieces that must be carefully put in place to create a successful restaurant website. Mainly, you want to make sure your website contains the information your customer is looking for in an organized, visually appealing and easy to access layout. How do you do this, you ask? Here are 10 tips to create a successful restaurant website:

1. Responsive Design

These days, people are constantly “on-the-go” and therefore rely on their portable devices (like phones and tablets) to provide them the information they need to survive, including eating. If your restaurant website design is not responsive to portable devices, you are losing out on valuable customers!

2. Make crucial information visible and accessible

There are a few specific things users looking for when visiting your website, restaurant hours, location and phone number are the top three contenders. These items should be highly visible and on every page, including the homepage.

3. Easy to navigate and read

It is key to start with organizing the content of your site in a logical way, this means the content on the page as well as the pages that make up the site. Utilize the homepage of your site by using bold, larger fonts for key information or items you want the reader to notice. Word play can create intriguing headlines and keep the user reading and graphics can be used to lead their eyes where you want them to go.

4. Minimal text

Most likely people are visiting your site to look for something to eat! Not to learn the history of your restaurant or the names of your staff members. Information like this is good to include but don’t go overboard, keep it pertinent to the user’s goal which is deciding on a restaurant and a meal. Avoid large blocks of text and replace them with smaller chunks of easy to digest information.

5. Photography

Give your customers some eye candy. People like pictures, but when it comes to food they only like a certain type of picture, a good one. If you do not have professional photos of your menu items, then hire a photographer. Don’t currently have a budget for a photographer, save up – it will be worth it in the end. Truth is, people like fresh healthy looking ingredients. When it comes to food, a bad picture can do much more harm than no picture at all.

But, its not all about the food. Restaurant websites should include photos of the restaurant itself, not just the food items. Using photos of the interior and exterior of your restaurant can convey the atmosphere of your place to your customers. A tip for restaurant photography: have the restaurant at least 3/4 full of happy, excited customers, but make sure to obtain written permission before using any of the photos!

6. Provide a text Menu, not a PDF

While its not a bad idea to have a printable pdf menu handy on your website, ideally you should have a interactive live text menu. Writing out your menu in text on your website gives you invaluable search engine juice because you are including keywords of your menu items. Plus, your customer will appreciate not having to go through the trouble to download a file to their computer to see what types of meals your restaurant offers.
As far as price goes, include it! If customers don’t see a price, they will typically assume your menu items are too expensive for their taste and move on.

7. Honorable Mentions

If your restaurant menu, or certain dishes on your menu, cater to vegetarian or vegan dieters – say so! Same goes for menu items that are gluten-free, kosher or diabetic. If you have a kids meal, include it in your online menu, your customers that are parents will appreciate it.

8. Keep up to date discounts, specials and events listed

Discounts, specials and events, not only intrigue new customers but can make them repeat customers. If your restaurant offers discounts, specials or holds events then make sure to call this out on the homepage or have an easily accessible navigation tab. But most importantly update, update, update! You don’t want to disappoint your customers, or worse make them think you do not pay attention to the details, by having outdated information on your website.

9. Social Media

Having your social media links easily visible and accessible encourages your visitors to explore and engage in your online community. Customers like to read reviews from others who have visited your restaurant or see personal photos restaurant visitors have shot and shared. Having these social media links available may inspire them to join your restaurant’s online community, getting your restaurant’s name “out there”.

10. Quick Loading Website

Everyone knows time is money, if your site takes too long to load it can deter potential customers. If your site is slow to load, chances are you need to edit some of your information or graphics, in the case of restaurant websites often “less is more”.

Follow these 10 tips and your restaurant website should be on the path to success. Need help implementing these tips or have questions about creating a successful restaurant website? Contact Exakt Marketing today!