Tips for Restaurant Website Design
Smart restaurant owners recognize the value of a website that accurately reflects the atmosphere and food they offer. Whether you own a small pizza shop or a deli, a fine-dining restaurant, or diner, it’s important to maintain an up-to-date website if you want to gain customers and keep your current ones satisfied.
Society has come to rely on the Internet for many things. Phone books and maps have been replaced with search engines, and potential customers want to be able to find your address, hours, and other restaurant information within seconds.
A basic website with this information is absolutely necessary. But your goal has never been to provide the very minimum, has it? Of course not. You aim to exceed customers’ expectations and offer them an experience that will keep them coming back, and this should translate to your website design.
As you begin the process of designing or re-designing your website, consider the following restaurant website design tips.
Give a good first impression
There’s a good chance that many of your customers will look at your site before ever setting foot in your restaurant, so it’s important that they like what they see. It is your first chance to make an impression, and should be designed in such a way that accurately reflects the atmosphere, style, and service you offer.
Your online image is now a large part of customers’ overall experience with your services. Your website doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it should at least provide a good user experience and make visitors want to become customers.
Include the necessities
Every restaurant website should include the necessary components that customers expect. At minimum, your restaurant website should include your address, phone number, menu, and some photos of your food and dining area.
Beyond this, your website can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like. There are plenty of options to consider when it comes to content, but be sure to first provide the information that most visitors are looking for.
Focus on your strong points
Your website is a chance to highlight what it is that makes your restaurant special. Maybe you offer the city’s finest eggplant parmigiana or a chic atmosphere for fine diners. Whether it’s $5 appetizers or a prestigious wine list that makes you unique, highlight your originality on your website.
If you’re struggling to articulate what makes your restaurant unique, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my customers’ favorite dishes?
- What do I offer that my competitors don’t?
- How do customers feel when they leave?
- How do employees describe the food?
- What does the atmosphere represent?
Include a creative “About Us” page
If your restaurant has an interesting history, including it on your site is a great idea. Knowing the story behind a chef or establishment can make the dining experience all the more fun, and can make customers even more inclined to patronize your business.
Explain your original vision for the establishment, how things might have changed along the way, and the mission and expectations you hold today. You should aim to tell your story, and do it in an interesting way.
Consider color theory
Spend some time thinking about website color. The obvious choices are the colors in your logo or restaurant interior, but matching your color scheme to your physical restaurant isn’t an absolute necessity.
If you operate a high-end establishment, a black background can be a great choice. It gives a feeling or sophistication. On the other hand, a white background lends an air of freshness, and can make beautiful food photos really pop.
Of course, almost any color scheme can work depending on your site. It is completely up to you, but be sure to spend some time thinking about it before creating your design.
Additional best practices
Besides the tips outlined above, here are a few extra restaurant website design tips to consider.
Don’t use stock photos
If possible, use authentic images on your website. Customers will feel cheated if the food on the website doesn’t look like the food you serve, or if you use a phony chef stock photo on your website.
List other important information
If you don’t accept Discover or are BYOB, be sure to highlight these facts on your website.
Provide more than a PDF menu
Yes, you can offer a PDF menu for customers to print. But don’t only provide a PDF. They can be difficult to read on small screens, and not always compatible with all browsers. Instead, create a text version that is accessible no matter how visitors are browsing.
Add social buttons
Allow people to easily follow you on social media by adding social buttons to your website. This way, your website will serve as a connector between your potential customers and your other marketing efforts.
Aim to reduce clicks
Your site visitors shouldn’t have to click 4 or 5 times to get the information they need. They’re likely viewing your site to see basic information like your address or phone number. Make these items easily viewable or accessible from the homepage.
As you consider these restaurant website design tips, remember that your restaurant website should do two things: meet potential customers’ needs and accurately reflect what you offer.
Keep those two factors at the forefront of your website design efforts and you’ll likely succeed. Also, remember that maintaining simplicity will keep people on your website longer—and likely leave a positive first impression that will last.
If you need help designing a website that will attract new customers to your website, feel free to contact us! Our talented team is more than happy to help you create an up-to-date site that reflects your restaurant’s unique atmosphere.