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 No matter how great your food, service, and ambiance may be, an outdated site reflects poorly on your business and costs you customers.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:
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.
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:
Instead, link a PDF version of your menu that opens a new tab for users. It loads quickly and is easy to view.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.