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How to Craft an Effective Restaurant Website

Craft the perfect restaurant website with these key features, and draw inspiration from examples of effective restaurant websites.

A website is essential for effective restaurant marketing. Not only will it give your eatery an online presence, but it will provide a platform for customer feedback, online ordering, and social media engagement.

Creating the best restaurant website isn't as simple as buying a web hosting package and posting a few images and location information. You need to pay attention to web design and user experience (UX). More importantly, you must add the features necessary to get the most out of your investment.

The best restaurant website is mobile-friendly, has excellent content, puts all vital information at the user's fingertips, and performs all the other functions necessary to market your business and make it more user-friendly.

Provide an excellent user experience

Before you add restaurant website features, the first step is to ensure a good user experience. Your site should be easy to navigate, quick to load, and free of annoying traits like popups or login requirements. Put all promotions or other temporary information on the pages themselves instead of on popups, and only have login requirements for people who are ordering online. Everyone else should be able to access the entire site without logging in.

Any page on your site should not take more than 5 seconds to load. This means you have to balance quality images and videos with file size. Larger files, such as those holding HD videos, will slow loading times.

Finally, navigation buttons and menus should be clearly marked, so users know exactly where each internal link leads.

Location, hours, and menu information

An eye-catching design is useless if it doesn't bring customers through your door. The location should be clearly described on the homepage, with a link to a more in-depth map and driving directions from major highways or streets.

You should also clearly post the hours on the homepage, and you need to include any details about promotional periods, such as when you offer lunch specials or happy hours.

Menus are also important. You should have food listings that include the same details found on your physical menus. You can even include more data, such as nutrition percentages, calorie counts, and allergy warnings.

Takeout and delivery are vital for many restaurants. These options add a different income source that can really help during times of uncertainty when people might prefer to eat at home instead of going out. Your site should clearly state takeout and delivery offerings and offer a system that allows users to order and pay directly on the website.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is essential for businesses. These platforms give you a chance to interact directly with your customers without having to purchase advertising space. You can get feedback, announce promotions, and amplify your message by getting users to share info with their followers and friends.

Your website can help drive this engagement by providing access to all your social media accounts. You can also offer links to restaurant review sites where customers can leave thoughts about your food and service.

How to make a good restaurant website

You should have all the necessary website restaurant features. This might require hiring a developer to create a system to retain customer information and an online ordering system. You can also consider third-party plug-ins that provide these features.

Once you have these elements in place and have a website design that you like, you need to test all the features before publishing them online. A test will allow you to ensure customers have a seamless, bug-free user experience when they visit.

Mobile-friendly design

Mobile-friendly websites are crucial. According to Google, 89% of restaurant research before dining is on mobile devices. You need to ensure that your website works correctly on mobile browsers. You should do this even if you have a separate mobile app. The mobile site should scale correctly, and all images and features should show up on both iOS and Android devices.

Overall online presence

Your website is the backbone of your online presence. However, it isn't the only place where people can find information about you. In addition to restaurant social media, you can rely on local business listings as an additional marketing tool.

97 percent of people search for local businesses online, so many potential customers may find you via Google Maps or local business listing sites. It's essential to claim these listings and to make sure they are updated with the latest hours and information.

You should also integrate services like OpenTable, which allows customers to make reservations, leave reviews, and get information on restaurants in real-time.

Quality content

Website content matters for two reasons. First, it offers insight into the quality of your restaurant. Surveys show that 70 percent of potential diners admit to being discouraged from dining at a restaurant because of its website. To avoid this fate, you should ensure that your site has high-quality photos and well-written text. If it's necessary, it could be worth hiring a professional to create eye-catching content.

The other thing to consider is the effect the media will have on your site's usability. At the very least, you should test the site to verify that the images and videos do not slow load times. You can also choose to work with a professional developer to properly format content to avoid lag when loading.

Online purchase options

You can set up a delivery service system that customers can access on your site and use for ordering and payment. If you do this correctly, either by embedding a third-party ordering application on your site or hiring a developer to build one from scratch, you can streamline the payment and ordering process. By automating this process, you will enjoy the income from delivery and takeout orders without creating extra work for yourself or your staff.

Online purchase options can also include any restaurant-related merchandise and digital and physical gift cards.

Email signup options

Newsletter marketing is a great way to let current customers know about menu changes and promotions. You can place a sign-up box on your website and offer incentives, such as discounts or special offers, to people who are willing to give you their email addresses. (Keep in mind that the signup box should be on your site page, not in a popup window).

Once you start collecting addresses, you can use email marketing software like Mailchimp to automate and streamline your newsletter campaigns.

Examples of good restaurant websites

Here are examples of restaurant websites that have excellent designs and useful features.

1. Atelier Crenn

Atelier Crenn relies on eye-catching videos embedded on the site and a very simple menu for easy navigation to the menu, health and safety information, and the restaurant's origin story. The reservation button appears on every page on the site, and social media links are in the footer on every page, as well.

2. Red Ash Grill

The Red Ash Grill Italian restaurant has large background images that load quickly and a simple, easy-to-understand menu at the top of each page. The site also uses banners, instead of intrusive pop ups, to make announcements.

3. The Consulate

The Consulate is a New York City restaurant that balances UX-focused design and attractive video visuals. The navigation menu is at the top of every page, and it contains links to each page on the site, including reservation and social media links. The video streams in a loop on the homepage, creating an eye-catching atmosphere that draws visitors in.

4. n/naka

n/nake is a Japanese restaurant that uses slideshows instead of videos to present visuals on its homepage. It has prominently-displayed links to its menu and reservation pages, and a discreet form for email entry.

Everything you need to make the best restaurant website

If you include all the website restaurant features we mentioned here, you will have an online presence that will help your food business grow and succeed.

While it isn't complicated to build and manage restaurant websites, you need to be sure that you cover all the details and take full advantage of the online tools available to owners.

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