In the era of information, considering whether or not your restaurant should have a website is no longer an option: you just need to have it! A website makes it easier for customers or potential customers to find information about your restaurant. It also allows other people interested in your business to learn more about it, such as journalists, investors, event planners, neighbors, and more.
You might say, “But I have everything on social media”. Well, that helps too, but nothing looks more reputable or pops up in search engines better than a website, and no other source is easier to navigate when looking for specific information -if it’s well designed, of course-, and that’s the subject of this blogpost.
As experts in web design, MSM Designz is responsible of the web layout of many recognized restaurants in Westchester and NYC, such as Sofrito (White Plains and New York), Sazon, Lugano Wine Bar & Salumeria, Pizzeria Molto, and more. We work hand-in-hand with our clients to make sure their websites showcase anything that needs to be presented to their stakeholders.
Based on our experience, we know that these are the 10 things your restaurant’s website can’t miss:
1. An eye-catching front page
A good restaurant is not all about the food, but also about the atmosphere and the service. Therefore, your website should be the same. It must have a homepage that looks attractive to potential consumers and praises the food in first place, but also speaks about the vibe and makes people feel welcomed, all in a first visual impression! Sounds like a lot to say without words, right? That’s why you need to work with experienced designers that can put things together working with the current design trends, color selection, and functionality of the web across different platforms (desktop, tablet, and mobile).
Keep in mind that first impressions take less than a second!
2. A Clear Navigation Menu
According to this article published by Hubspot, 76% of consumers say the most important factor in a website’s design is to make it easy for them to find what they want. Think of your own experience when you visit another website. What are the things you’re usually looking for? How do you feel when you can’t easily find it? It’s frustrating, right? That shouldn’t happen when your clients visit your restaurant’s website. Information should be easy to find and well organized, otherwise they’ll leave the website feeling discouraged and frustrated.
Make sure to write down all the different pieces of information you want to include in your website, then work with your designer in categorizing those pieces the best way possible. Always think like a customer who knows nothing about your site, and even make trials with friends or family members. As the owner you might think it’s clear where everything should be, but that may not be the case for someone else. Look at it with a different mindset before you launch.
3. Visible Contact Details
A customer will likely be searching for this on a restaurant’s website, and they should be able to find it right away. Basic information, like the phone number, address, and email address should be on the front page, either at the header or the footer. You should also include a separate tab in the menu to amplify contact details such as a map with directions on how to get there, more phone numbers, with extensions of specific departments, and a ‘Contact us’ form. Make sure the submissions of this form are going to an active email address that is checked regularly, and set up a response acknowledging the reception of the inquiry. Again, think of your own experience when you are looking for contact details on another business’s website.
4. Your Menu
The menu is the heart of a restaurant’s business. Presenting your menu on your website is a good way to show customers what they can find there and to encourage them to come in and try everything.
5. High Quality Photos
You can have a great website design, but it won’t look great if you don’t have professional pictures. Hire a real photographer (MSM offers this service as well) and allow him or her to take mouthwatering food photos and the best shots of the decorations in your restaurant. These visual assets will seal the deal when trying to make people go from visiting the web to actually visiting your place.
6. Social Media Handles
This should be visible as well. Your social media handles should be on the front page, in a way that makes your networks easy to follow with just a click. This is important for customers to engage with you on social media, share information, and express their opinions on your website. Social media leads to a more casual conversation with customers that can be very beneficial. You can read more about it in our blog.
7. Reservation Facilities
If your restaurant accept reservations, make it easy. Add a form for customers to submit their reservation request, or provide the phone number and direct email to the correct person that handles this. Make sure to set up a reply that confirms the reservation was made successfully, and follow up with the customer either by phone or email.
You can also list your restaurant in one of these Apps that makes it easy for customers to reserve.
8. Weekly Activities
Happy hour, brunch, live music? Whatever is going on in your restaurant should be featured in the website’s ‘Events’ tab. Create eye-catching flyers and make it inviting for your customers to come in and have a good time.
9. Other Services
Do you deliver? Do you cater? Do you accept group reservations for a special event? All these questions are frequently asked through the social media networks of the restaurants we manage at MSM Designz. Keeping your ears open to what customers frequently ask also gives you a good input of the kind of information your website needs to present. Again, keep these simple and easy so your visitors can find the answers they’re looking for.
10. Updated Information
Don’t just design your website and forget about it. Whatever changes in your restaurant’s operations should be updated on your website as well. It’s disappointing for customers to navigate a website that hasn’t been updated in years, therefore it is important to keep the information fresh and accurate month after month.
Of course, there are many other things you can present to your audience, such as the chef’s bio to demonstrate expertise, a well-written history of the restaurant so people can know its background, event pictures to give an idea of how fun the atmosphere can be, etc. It’s all about creativity and good use of the information that you handle every day.