The cookbook for wickedly good restaurant websites
Building a website around food can be tricky. Think about it: It's all about the senses. How can you portray the ambiance, the aroma, and the taste of the food while also creating an easily navigable site?
Start with outstanding content
Professional and mouth-watering photography
Poorly lit and unprofessional photographs can make a person leave your site as fast as a falling soufflé. Beautiful, enticing, and professional photography is essential. Taking appetizing food photography is tough. Hire a professional.
Copywriting that creates high expectations
Create high expectations that you can fill with a fantastic dining experience. Professional copy that retains the brand voice of the restaurant is essential.
Usually, people start perusing restaurant websites when they're already hungry; thus, they have limited patience for a website that feels like a labyrinth, is a real struggle to navigate or doesn't have all the necessary information.
We all have stumbled upon a beautiful restaurant website when looking for a new place to dine at. But apart from the enticing content and food photography, what makes those websites stand out?
The answer is simple: creative, customer-centric design.
Every enticing restaurant website should be able to clearly communicate what the brand and dining experience is all about.
The primary purpose of your website is to give potential customers the information they need to make a decision about your restaurant. If a visitor doesn't find what they are looking for in 3 mouse clicks, they will leave your website and visit others that are more user-friendly.
To eat there, or not to eat there, that is the question.
When cooking your restaurant's website, the thing you have to remember is that even if mouth-watering visuals are one of the main ingredients, your website also has to be functional and provide a high-quality user experience. Here are 6 requirements for your site:
• Phone number
• Specials/happy hour
• Hours of operation
• Address and map
• Updated menu
Having a well thought out website design is going to prevent this type of situation from happening. Building out website wireframes before actually delving into design aesthetics is critical. Site plans and wireframes are the building blocks, they may be ugly, but they help plan how a user will navigate the site. It's like adding seasoning and garnish to a dish without knowing the main ingredients.
7 Ingredients and tips that will help create an effective website that grows revenue
Excellent user-friendly navigation
Whether it's a classic top navigation bar or a vertical side navigation bar - make sure that it's easy and pleasant for your customers to use.
If your site visitors find it difficult to navigate your site, they will often leave your website without looking at the tempting menu or carefully chosen photos. This, in turn, will result in high bounce rates and poor search engine visibility.
Intuitive design is what you need for this recipe to be successful.
Carefully chosen brand style elements
The fonts, colors, layout, and design of your website have an essential role in the vibe you display to your customers. The atmosphere you create on your website has to reflect the one in your restaurant. There needs to be a cohesive brand story that aligns with your restaurant.
This way, customers get a sneak peek of your dining experience before they even walk through your doors. Building anticipation and excitement is what gets people to say: Let's eat there!
A well designed appetizing menu
There's nothing more frustrating than finding a restaurant that you really want to try, but they don't have a menu with prices online.
Simple, clean design is the best type of design you can have for your menu. It should be easy to read, and it should include the fonts and graphics that define your branding. You can also add some mouth-watering photos of your main dishes - after all, people eat with their eyes first.
Essential tip: If you have a seasonal menu or your menu changes frequently, make sure to post it on your social media accounts. This not only saves you time but also provides you with the perfect opportunity to interact with your customers on social media.
What about the call to action?
You should have your phone number and contact info. visible on every page. You should also have a contact page complete with your hours, physical address, email address, and phone number. If you already have one, make sure to keep it updated.
Also, take advantage of your Yelp and Google My Business accounts. Besides displaying your contact info and hours, they also show reviews. When it comes to deciding where to eat, people trust other people's recommendations more than anything. They also help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and being found online.
Garnish everything with responsive design
How many times have you used your mobile phone to find a restaurant?
Almost all the time. So do your customers. In fact, mobile traffic represented 52% of all global web traffic in 2018, and this number is continuously growing.
This is precisely why your website needs to be developed and optimized for mobile. This includes menus, navigation, and any other design elements on your website that might be affected by a smaller screen.
Not to mention, Google takes mobile-friendliness and the speed of mobile loading into consideration when ranking your site in search results, so make sure your website loads quickly on all devices. This has a significant effect on SEO.
What are people saying?
Once a person's interest is peaked, usually, their next step is to look for restaurant reviews and social proof. Your Google reviews should be integrated into your website. This helps prevent potential customers from hopping onto yelp or google and possibly getting swept up by the competitors. What are people saying about your restaurant?
Another way of also adding social proof is by making sure your social media is integrated into your website.
People are impatient
A slow-loading website will have people losing interest quickly. They may leave, and possibly never return. Pages and images need to be optimized for fast loading. Besides slow loading pages affecting the user experience, it also affects SEO. Google's algorithms are affected by page load time. A slow-loading page can also mean search engines crawl fewer pages, which could affect your indexing.
Bonus: The waiting spouse
For those who are booking in advance, have more time on their hands or are waiting for their primping spouse.
A fresh engaging story
Behind every restaurant, there's a story, and people need to hear it.
Your story is an essential part of what makes your restaurant stand out from your competition and shows your potential customers what makes you unique. Tell your audience how everything started, what challenges you met along your journey, what ingredients are your staples, and introduce your dedicated team.
Remember: people love a great story!
Add a delicious video or two
You can grab the attention of potential customers and show the behind-the-scenes of your restaurant with some engaging videos. They can provide your customers with additional entertainment and hold their attention for much longer than a photo can.
Thus, if you have a signature dish that you want to promote, make a short video showing one of your chefs preparing it. Maybe have a charming open terrace - you can create a short video that portrays the cozy atmosphere which your customers can enjoy there.
The recipe for success
The golden rule for this recipe is this: a high-quality restaurant should always have a high-quality website design.
Think of your website as the place where your customers' food experience starts. It takes just a few minutes for a customer to see if what you offer in terms of food, dining atmosphere, and the venue is what they are looking for.
Sloppy website design will leave a bad taste in your customer's mouth.
Nonetheless, we know that developing a website for your restaurant is not a piece of cake. It can be time-consuming, and if you lack experience, it can be incredibly challenging to get it right.
That's why we're here to help you bring your ideas and restaurant concept to life.
Websites can have a significant impact on your business, not only with revenue, but they can also affect the perceived quality and credibility of your business. That's why we take this seriously.
Whether you need simple or complex flavors, we build websites to not only your taste but the needs of your company and customers.
Get in touch and let us know what projects you have cooking. 🌶️