After food, staff training and décor, creating or updating a website might be low down on your list of priorities when you run a restaurant. But in an increasingly digital world, a clean website is just as important as clean bathrooms.
A good website helps restaurants build a brand and attract new customers. It can also make back-room operations like booking more efficient.
We Are Creation Digital has made beautiful and easy-to-navigate websites for friendly independents and big chain restaurants. And our clients are very happy with our work.
In this blog post, we’ll cover some of the essential ingredients of great restaurant websites.
Address and contact information
Website user experience (UX) design predicts why a customer is visiting your site and gives them what they want right away.
Some customers will come to browse a menu, some might be checking your opening times. And a significant proportion will be looking for a postcode to put in Google Maps or a phone number to make a booking.
Website browsers should find this information almost instantly. We like to include it on the homepage, so they don’t have to do too much digging.
How great do McDonald’s burgers look in their advertisements? Good photos can make anything look appealing.
Think of your website photos as a window into your restaurant. You want to show the restaurant, the food and the staff. And you want to do it all with good lighting.
The worst thing you can do is use stock photos with somebody else’s food, somebody else’s restaurant and somebody else’s staff. Believe us, people will always know.
High-quality photos may seem expensive at first, but it is a great investment in your business.
Special events listing
A record number of restaurants went bust this year. As well as high business rates, some businesses blamed the collapse on a growing number of trendy ‘pop-up’ eateries with Instagram-friendly dishes.
Traditional middle of the road restaurants finds it hard to compete with temporary fad restaurants, that don’t particularly serve good food but can remodel themselves every six or nine months. But putting on a special event could be a breath of fresh air for your restaurant.
Whether it’s a cocktail masterclass, a wine tasting or a special eating event, make sure you publicise it on the special events section of your website.
Mobile web traffic overtook desktop web traffic for the first time in 2016. More people are using smartphones to visit websites and the trend is only going one way.
Mobile browsing is particularly important when people are on the go. So a mobile website is great for picking up passing trade and those customers that are making plans on the fly.
A good mobile website works just as well on mobile as it does on desktop. Content is easy to read, buttons are easy to press, and forms are easy to fill in.
More and more people like to browse a menu before visiting the restaurant. Some millennials won’t visit a restaurant before they have looked at a menu and decided what they might like to eat.
Some of it is probably down to fussiness, but a lot is due to dietary requirements. If a person only eats gluten-free or vegan then they will want to make sure that there’s something on the menu for them. Some people may even scour reviews to find out what’s popular before they arrive.
Whatever the reason, having an online menu is important. And it should be easy to locate for website visitors.
Along with dogs, food and drink make some of the best social media posts. People love taking photos of their food and sharing it on platforms like Instagram.
A strong social media presence can help you build a community around your restaurant. It can get people talking about you and it’s a fantastic way of boosting your brand.
If your restaurant isn’t making the most of social channels by linking to them from the website, then you are missing out. But if you do have these links, just make sure you are keeping the social media platforms updated.
Still using a calendar to manage restaurant bookings? You can boost back-room efficiency by digitising your booking system and making it possible for customers to make bookings online.
Off the shelf booking systems like Open Table exist. But working with a company like We Are Creation Digital, we can help you create a bespoke system that works exactly as you want it to.