Now-a-days you absolutely cannot exist without a restaurant website. (Okay, sure, there’s a few exceptions- those mom and pop places that have been around forever and have a word of mouth legacy. Chances are, if you’re on the internet reading this post- that’s not you.)
Having a clear, informative restaurant website is essential in order for people to find out where you are, what you serve, your hours, etc. At the very least, you have to have the core information about your business.
With easy-to-use, do-it-yourself website platforms, like Squarespace, anyone can make a website at a very affordable cost with just a few hours effort.
People are going to look for you online, you want to make sure you can easily be found and you are controlling what is being said about your restaurant as much as possible.
Here are 10 tips for making the perfect restaurant website:
- Start with your target audience in mind. Who are you trying to reach? In addition to the regulars you already have locked in, who are you trying to attract for new business? Make sure the language and layout appeal to that group.
- Keep it simple. You don’t need to go overboard with the information. Less is always more. Typically people looking for a restaurant website are looking for what types of food you serve, your hours, what people have to say about their experience at your restaurant, your location and/or how they book a reservation.
- Contact information. Have your contact information front and center. If you do use Squarespace and have Open Table, you can embed an Open Table reservation widget right into your website. If you don’t use Open Table make sure your contact information is clearly stated. This is a great place to indicate whether or not you take reservations as well. If you don’t, say so. It’ll save you a lot of unnecessary phone calls.
- Directions. Or at least a map. Having a map of where your restaurant is located is very helpful, especially if you’re in a larger city. This helps patrons who may be driving or navigating a cab or an Uber driver or walking busy city streets easily find your restaurant. Getting lost on the way to a restaurant can be frustrating and start a guest’s experience with a bad attitude before they’ve even entered your establishment!
- Information about the food. Posting your different menus (lunch, dinner, cocktails, wine) is ideal. However we understand a lot of restaurants are constantly changing their menus and this can quickly become a nightmare. At the very least, post information about what types of food you serve, why your menu is constantly changing and not available online, where you source your ingredients from, etc.
- Photos. A picture is worth a 1000 words! Use photos to highlight your dishes, cocktails, wine, service, your space and the like. Photography of food is a difficult subject to shoot. It’d be worthwhile for you to invest in a professional photographer.
- Your story. What makes you different than other restaurants? You know more than us how competitive the restaurant business is. Your website is a great place to let people know why your restaurant is unique. Typically food, hours, location, price and reviews are going to be key sellers, but it can’t hurt to put some more intimate information that might seal the deal for a patron when deciding to chose your establishment.
- Highlight positive reviews. Word of mouth is still the best marketing tool! With social media and Yelp out there, people are going to be talking about their experience and your restaurant- whether you like it or not. While you can’t control what they say on these platforms, you can control what you highlight on your website.
- Mobile friendly. A majority of consumers are looking at new restaurants to try on their cell phones. Be it on their commute or when visiting a new city wandering around looking for a place to eat or just in general- we are all on our cell phones more! Make sure your website is easy to read and navigate on mobile devices.
- Authenticity. You can have the best restaurant website in the world, but if it does not actually represent your restaurant, you have lied to your customer and set yourself up for failure. Your website is an extension of your restaurant, make sure it accurately reflects your establishment and you will leave you customer satisfied.
Your restaurant website may be the first place a customer learns about your establishment. It’s the first place to make a good impression. Once you have them locked into a reservation, make sure you are carrying on that experience in your establishment.