Not long ago a very interesting thread on the forum Reddit came up.
It was discussing restaurant websites and the title was “To the people who design websites for restaurants”.
The thread was filled with comments discussing what frustrated people the most about restaurant websites and what could be improved. This article is a summary of what people felt made a good restaurant website.
Key requirements of a restaurant website
People are coming to your website to see the following:
Promotions and deals
That's it!. Everything else is secondary, this includes about us pages, meet the team and news. All these pages are great but without those 5 key elements clearly displayed, you are bound to frustrate a lot of potential customers.
One thing to consider is in this day and age, consumers may also be looking for a way to order online or reserve a table. We highly recommend that you highlight these aspects as it leads to more sales.
Easy to access menus
At minimum, you should have an easy to download PDF menu on your website. Try to keep your entire menu in a single PDF and ensure it has been optimised so the download is small.
If you have a good developer or web template, you can also have your menu directly on your website. Be careful though as getting this right can be tricky. You need to make sure your menu is mobile friendly as easily accessible.
Always show your prices
Prices on the menu, if you are not doing this, chances are you are annoying several people. Without prices on the menu, you open yourself to customers feeling uncertain about what to expect when they dine with you.
This is only going to be detrimental to your business. It’s unlikely that anyone is going to be more convinced to come with prices not on your menu. At the end of the day, people are going to see your prices in your store so you achieve nothing by doing this.
Avoid pages requiring updates
Avoid news pages, portfolio pages and generally pages that require regular updates unless you plan to update them regularly. You cannot sell people with these pages if there is outdated content, it simply looks bad. Once again, a huge amount of restaurant websites have these useless pages and it only hurts.
Pictures of your food
Everyone wants to see what they are going to eat. Without knowing exactly what you are ordering, it feels like taking a stab in the dark unless you are very familiar with the dish. Delicious pictures of your food will sell themselves.
Remember to take professional looking photos, most modern phones do this well but avoid flash faded and washed out images. It’s not hard to get someone to take a photo of a dish every time it’s prepared.
Avoid intrusive animations and background music
Avoid anything gimmicky, that includes background noises, intrusive animations and simply anything that gets in the way of information accessibility. Google has already taken the step to blocking out any music that auto plays on a website as it simply annoys people. These things can only make critical information that much harder to access. This is above all one of the biggest complaints from all the comments on the thread about restaurant websites.
Make sure you actually have a site
Avoid using Facebook as your website. Yes, you can upload pictures of your menu, but it’s not easy to find. Especially if you post often which you should be, this will leave customers struggling to find important information. Social media is there for you to update your customers on what’s happening and generate more interest.
With your own website, you can convey your brand better and rank easier on Google for local searches. It's definitely a must, given there are so many cheap website building tools available.
Your website must be mobile friendly
You’ve probably heard it a million times, more and more users are using the web on their small devices. If your website does not display well on a mobile device, you will lose some customers. Your mobile friendliness does also affect your Google rankings.
Online ordering and reservations
As we enter a more technological age, customers are also looking for new ways to interact with your business, these include ordering online and reserving a table online. Integrating such systems can lead to greater sales and better business management.
Don't forget the purpose of a restaurant website
From a customer perspective, the purpose of the restaurant website is to provide important information about the venue and provide traditional restaurant functionality online such as bookings, orders etc.
If the customer has not heard of your previously, they are likely to want to see your menu and location above all. If it’s someone who’s already familiar with your business, it’s likely they want extra information such as opening times, contact details, specials and the ability to order online or book a table.
Make sure that your website revolves around this purpose and it will help you grow your business
To conclude on this topic, it’s quite simple, do what your customers want! The people have spoken on this topic and above all, they want convenience and accessibility. They come to your restaurant website to access your most important information, namely your contact details, location, menu and any other functionality such as online ordering, deliveries and bookings. If you focus on making this information as accessible as possible, then your customers will be satisfied.