Tips for Planning Your Restaurant Website

Planning Your Restaurant Website

Every successful restaurant is backed by an attractive, user-friendly website. As the internet has rapidly replaced the Yellow Pages for finding local business information, it is more important than ever to have an effective online presence for your restaurant.

An informative, attractive website will attract new customers and help you retain existing ones. Restaurant websites can be designed in any number of different ways, depending on the features you prefer. They can cost thousands of dollars for a custom site or nothing at all, thanks to the availability of free, open-source sites.

All of them require the same basic elements, however. When you are ready to create your website, here are some of the most important tips to consider & features to include: 

Set a Budget for Your Restaurant Website

Your budget, more than anything, will determine how large or small your website is. For those that are not particularly tech-savvy, there are several free templates available that can be customized for your restaurant website. If you desire a custom site with lots of bells and whistles, the cost goes up accordingly. Just make sure you set a budget you can live with and operate within those parameters

Essential Elements for Your Restaurant Website

Once your website is complete, you will need to add fresh content on a regular basis to help it rank as high as possible in searches by Google and other search engines. You will also need to provide several elements of basic content that are essential for every website. The list includes: 

  • About us: A good place to offer a brief history of your restaurant – what inspired you to open a restaurant, any pertinent history to the location, etc.
  • Contact information: This is where you feature the restaurant's phone number, email, manager/owners name, and directions.
  • Menu: The most important element of any restaurant website. Make sure the pages that feature your menu items are clean, easy to read and contain pictures of enticing food dishes. Avoid PDFs or scanned copies of your paper menu.
  • Photo gallery: A great place to give readers a flavor of your restaurant. Add pictures of your dining room, pub/bar area, happy customers (don’t forget to ask permission before posting their pictures online) and outdoor dining area. For best results, update your photos periodically to avoid looking stagnant.
  • Specials and upcoming events: An important feature for driving fresh traffic. Updating your lunch and dinner specials each day on your website is a great way to promote your restaurant and provide the fresh content that Google likes The same is true for promoting special events, like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.
  • Link to your social media sites: Facebook and Twitter offer free advertising opportunities for your restaurant and reach huge numbers of people. With more than 2 billion users daily, there is no more cost-effective marketing platform than Facebook.

Link to Other Businesses & Ask ​for Reciprocation

A great way to grow your business is to provide information about local hotels, movie theaters, chambers of commerce and other surrounding businesses. In turn, ask that they add a link to your restaurant. Do the same for area tourist attractions in the area such as parks, zoos, or stadiums. The links from other sources will help your site rank with search engines and the local connections will be viewed positively by customers.

Showcase Special Services that You Offer

Do you offer catering services? Have a banquet room? Schedule live bands on weekend nights? If so, dedicate a webpage to these services. Include photos of buffet tables and the room set-up for different events (weddings, meetings, holiday parties).