13 Features that All Successful Restaurant Websites Should Have

Restaurant Websites

In today's business climate, the vast majority of diners research restaurants’ websites before choosing a place to eat. This is why the quality of your restaurant website is so important to your financial success.

A quality website can make the difference between a new customer and a missed opportunity. No matter how great your food, service, and ambiance may be, an outdated site reflects poorly on your business and costs you customers.

Many people assume the quality of a restaurant’s website is reflective of the quality of the restaurant itself. Your site needs to be modern, attractive and mobile-friendly. Read on to discover the 13 features that all successful restaurant websites must have:

1. Contact Information

Among the most common reasons for someone to visit your site is to check your location, hours, or phone number in order to ask a question or make a reservation. In addition to a contact page that provides this information, you need to have your restaurant’s address, phone number, and hours easily visible on all pages throughout the site. You can even link your address to Google maps so directions are just a click away no matter where your visitors are located! Likewise, a clickable phone number that can be auto-dialed for mobile users is a huge asset.

2. Link to a Menu

Posting a responsive online menu on your site is a must for a thriving restaurant owner. Don’t just upload a photo of your actual men, because:

  1. It can be difficult for mobile users to scroll through.
  2. It is more difficult for search engines to read. 

Instead, link a PDF version of your menu that opens a new tab for users. It loads quickly and is easy to view.

3. Great Images of Your Food

Never underestimate the power of great pictures, especially for a hungry customer! While people can’t taste images, having enticing images of your food on your website is important to give consumers a glimpse of what you have to offer. On the flip side, low-quality or unappetizing images have the opposite effect.

Investing in high-quality photos from a professional photographer to get the most from your site.

4. Provide Online Ordering or Online Reservations

It’s today's business climate, most restaurants offer online ordering options for delivery and takeout. The ease of online ordering is incredibly tempting to consumers, especially over placing orders by phone. If your restaurant does not offer takeout or delivery, you must offer mobile options for placing reservations or catering orders to make things more convenient for your customers.

5. Inviting Images of Your Restaurant

In addition to photos of your food, websites you also need to include images of the restaurant itself. These images help set the scene for future customers so they know what to expect when they visit your restaurant. Ideally, your website should feature pictures of both the interior and exterior of your restaurant. Play up the interior photos as much as possible because that is where customers will be dining.

6. Website Theme that Matches Your Style

The atmosphere is essential to any restaurant. The same is true of your restaurant's website. It should be an extension of your physical space, creating a virtual version of the same atmosphere you project on site. Consistency is the key to making a positive first impression.

7. Unique & Memorable “About Us” Section

Adding a personal flavor to your site is important, which is why restaurants really benefit from the use of an “About Us” section. Use this area to tell your story about what makes you unique in comparison to your competitors.

Do you feature locally sourced ingredients? Recipes created by your great-grandmother? Unique happy-hour offerings? Top-of-the-line chefs? Let your website visitors know!

If you’re not sure which strengths you should play up, check your online reviews on Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, and other sites to see what customers like best. Then, play up those attributes to highlight what makes your spot so different and special.

8. Add Videos Whenever Possible

Diners love to watch videos, particularly of unique menu items and happy customers that make your restaurant come alive in their minds. Here are some ideas for videos to include on your site:

  • Testimonials from customers. While even satisfied patrons may not want to appear on camera while eating, most would be more than happy to say a few kind words on camera in exchange for a free or discounted meal. Approach food bloggers/influencers to create meaningful video reviews for your site.
  • Food being prepared. Providing potential customers a glimpse into the food prep process speaks volumes about the cleanliness of your kitchen and the freshness of your ingredients. Diners will respond positively to that.
  • Restaurant history and mission statement. A video explaining the restaurant’s origin, mission statement, and unique atmosphere is a great way to introduce yourself to potential customers and expand your business.

9. Calendar of Events

For restaurants with frequent special events or rotating specials, adding a calendar of events to your website is a great value-added benefit for customers. Just remember to update the calendar regularly. Some popular events to draw in more customers include regularly occurring trivia, karaoke, or bingo nights.

10. Links to Social Media Profiles & Review Sites

To maximize the impact of your website, you must cross-promote your social media and review site profiles. Add links to the footer of your website, or on a unique page dedicated to outside links. Your social media platforms should also link back to your website. All links should open up new windows or tabs to ensure people don’t leave your website.

11. Convincing Analytics

To know how effective your website is, you need some sort of analytics. There are various analytics tools that track all the pertinent information you need from visitors. Key metrics to track include:

  • Bounce rate: This refers to the amount of time people spend on your site without converting into a customer. The more time people spend on your site, the better, so you’ll want your bounce rate to be as low as possible.
  • Keywords: To capitalize on search engine optimization (SEO) or Google advertising, you need to know which keywords people are searching to find your website. This can also help you refine the words you use to market your business, as well as enhance your choice of menu items.
  • Devices: Most of your visitors access your site on mobile devices. Analytics can help you determine whether or not you are accurately tapping into the mobile market, as well as which operating systems your visitors are commonly using.

12. Catering & Event Reservation Information

If you offer catering options or allow your restaurant to be rented out for parties, weddings, and corporate events, be sure to make this clear on a separate page of your website. These functions can be huge opportunities for you and your business, so you want to make the information as easy to find as possible.

13. Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Layout

In today's business climate, 52% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices and the percentage continues to climb each year. It is absolutely imperative for all restaurant websites to be able to adjust to any screen size or device type. If your website isn’t easy to navigate on a mobile device, you’re losing customers. Offering mobile payment options and delivery options is also a business booster.