With 77% of Americans visiting a restaurant’s website before choosing to eat there, having an online presence has quickly gone from a “nice to have” to a lifeline allowing you to reach your target audience. Even more-so, nearly a third of your potential customers are discouraged to visit if the website is difficult to navigate or appears dated.
Creating a website for your restaurant isn’t all that different from the work you put into your actual dining room, facilities, and plating itself. First reactions can make a world of difference for your customers. Here’s a breakdown of how to create a great first impression using your website to fuel potential hungry customers and get them in the door (or, have them get your food delivered to *their* door).
Keep It Simple, But Sweet
It might be tempting to include lots of flashy visuals, auto-play videos,; and a calendar of events on your home page, but this will do more harm than good. Not only will this drastically increase the loading time for your website, it also increases the likelihood of some elements being “broken” across different devices.
Instead of tricking out your webpage, focus most of the visual attention towards relevant information for your customers. This includes, but isn’t limited to:
Appealing photos of your food and atmosphere
An easy to read, up-to-date menu
A Google map of where your restaurant is located
Highlight what makes your restaurant unique
As a general rule of thumb, it’s important to have these four pages on your restaurant website:
A clean homepage. Imagery should highlight some of your popular dishes and/or atmosphere of the restaurant. Restaurant hours and locations should also be made abundantly clear.
A menu with featured photos. You don’t have to photograph every single plate you offer, but consider adding photos when possible since including an appetizing photo increases sales of that item by 30%. Tip: use photos for those dishes that are low-cost to produce, but yield excellent returns.
A captivating about page. Use this page to highlight what makes your restaurant unique. Whether you’re a first-generation immigrant who is sharing the tastes of your home country or you run a local watering hole, use this to share your story.
A straight-forward contact page. Have this be the central hub for your customers to use when contacting you. It’s also beneficial to include links to your active social media channels on your contact page.
If you’re committed to increasing your online presence, it might be worth considering adding a blog section to your site. This can be used to update your customers about seasonal produce you’re using, a new wing sauce you’re offering, a behind-the-scenes look of your kitchen, or updates on new food offerings.
Unlike Hot Sauce, Online Ordering Isn’t Optional
With COVID-19 wreaking havoc across nearly every industry, especially food service, offering online ordering is a convenient way to get more orders in. There’s a variety of options to choose from for this, each with their own set of pros and cons. Here’s a quick rundown of some popular options that work seamlessly to integrate into your site:
Toast. This is known as the holy grail of POS providers for restaurants. Not only does Toast offer an easy-to-use online ordering system, but they also have the option of using a high-tech POS hub for your restaurant. It should be mentioned that Toast does offer their online ordering as a standalone service.
Menufy. This is an excellent option for restaurants that already have an existing POS terminal. It’s a simple extension that is added to your website in the form of a button. It’s affordable and easy to incorporate.
Layout & Design aka The Plating
A common mistake that many restaurant owners make is trying to add too much “character” to the layout of their website. Navigation titles should be free of elaborate fonts and fancy rollover animations. Colors should be easy on the eyes and complement your logo and brand.
In summary, whether you are a well-established restaurant or the new guys to the local eatery scene, skimping out on your website is something you don’t want to do. If you’d like to know more about how to revamp your restaurant website design, request a complimentary website audit with us.