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By Katie McCann
Your website is your restaurant’s virtual home. Your online welcome mat. How your website looks says a lot about the experience diners can expect at your restaurant.
If your restaurant serves incredible food, has beautiful decor, and provides exceptional service, but your website looks like it was put together without much thought, it might put off potential customers.
Thoughtful design and easy-to-find information are the keys to an amazing website that will get customers off the web and into your seats. In this comprehensive guide to restaurant website design, you’ll learn:
Get online or get left behind!
Did you know that 59% of diners check out a restaurant’s online presence before deciding where to eat?
The purpose of your restaurant’s website is to give potential customers the information they need to make a decision about your restaurant. This includes practical information, like location and wifi availability, and details on the dining experience, like the menu and photos of the restaurant’s interior.
A restaurant’s website is an extension of the customer experience. If your site doesn’t reflect the level of care you put into the dining experience, you could scare away customers.
A step-by-step guide for website planning and creation.
When planning your website, make sure all the information your customers could be looking for about your restaurant is included and easily accessible. Here’s a checklist of some key items to include:
Once you’ve gotten the basics down, consider including a few of these extras to take your website from good to amazing.
Does your website already have all these basics?
If yes, well done! Consider adding a few extras from the second list.
If no, then it’s time to make some changes.
And if you’re unsure where to start, use this free tool from BentoBox, which analyzes your restaurant’s website and tells you what’s you’re missing.
Before making any major changes, you need to know how to do it in a way that maximizes the impact of your restaurant’s website.
The best websites are designed strategically, so moving through them feels intuitive, natural. This is the easiest way to move people from their smartphone screens into your seats.
User experience (UX) design considers how the end user (i.e. your potential customer) will interact with a website.
Incorporate these UX tips as you build or redesign your restaurant’s website:
Now that you understand design principles for your website, it’s time to put them to use.
Now that you know the recipe for an amazing website and understand UX, it’s time to craft your own. But where do you begin?
You could outsource the design to a freelancer or agency, or do it yourself.
Here are the pros and cons for both options:
Outsourcing Web Design
Once you’ve decided who will design your restaurant’s website, read our best practices for building a website, on your own or with the help of an agency.
If you don’t want to design your own website, you can hire a web design agency specializing in restaurant websites or find a freelance web designer. A simple Google or LinkedIn search for “best restaurant website designer” or “restaurant web design agency” can help you find the right designer. You can also ask friends in the restaurant industry for recommendations on web designers.
Here are a few things you should know to make your collaboration with an agency or designer a success:
With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to a smooth website design process with a freelancer or agency.
Website building platforms like Squarespace, WordPress, and Wix have democratized web design with beautiful templates and intuitive page builders. You don’t have to know how to code to build an effective restaurant website.
Here’s what to consider when designing your own website:
Taking on the task of designing a website is no small feat.
We’ve pulled three great restaurant websites – and what makes each of them so good – to offer some inspiration.
Check out these examples of well-crafted restaurant websites before you begin your website design or redesign.
This Chicago tiki bar brings tropical vibes to its website, while giving customers the information they need in an accessible way. Here’s why we like it:
Here’s why this Philadelphia-based cocktail bar and eatery has a terrific website:
This Boston-based healthy fast casual joint exemplifies great design on their website. Here’s what we like:
Your restaurant website can often be the first impression your diners get of your restaurant. It needs to showcase useful information in an easily accessible way, help customers picture themselves at the restaurant, and inspire them to come in for a meal.
If you follow our best practices, your restaurant’s website will get your phone ringing and your seats filled!
Katie is a former Content Marketing Specialist at TouchBistro where she writes about food and restaurant experiences. She doesn’t shy away from the finer things in life, but no matter how much success she continues to acquire, she stays true to her roots and still considers imitation crab as gourmet. If she isn’t writing, you can find her on a patio with friends and a pitcher of white wine sangria.
By Jackie Prange
By Dana Krook
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