How to create a great website for a restaurant / Cafe
As a foodie web designer I always check out restaurants websites.
Over the years I have noticed that many of the well-known fine dining restaurants don’t have a great website, in fact many have a dated website that does not reflect what they offer at all.
And why? They probably don’t need to increase sales since they already have great reputation that in fact is driven by their food.
In the movie Burnt the Maiter D talks about the whole experience and how answering the phone for a booking is part of it – to add to this I say that the first point of contact, the website also has an important part to play.
Most dining experiences will start with the website as it is accessed to get contact details, directions or used to make a booking and if this experience is not in line with the dining experience then the full experience will not be achieved.
So here are my top tips on how to create a great website for a restaurant.
1. Be Personal
Welcome your gusts in the same way you welcome them when you open the door – greet them and ask how you can help – clearly direct them to where they need to navigate: make a booking, a phone call read the menu or find the place on Google maps.
2. The Wow Factor
Food is very exciting to look at and great food photos of your signature dishes or photos of the ambiance will get website visitors already in the right mood.
Invest in some professional photos – of food but also of people dining at your restaurant and of the chef in the kitchen.
3. The (food) Menu
Make it easy for visitors to find and read your menu. Don’t forget that many visitors to your site will read it on a mobile devise so use large fonts and responsive design.
Avoid using pictures of your actual menu as this will be heavy to download and hard to read. Invest in replicating the menu as live text on your site or a simple PDF version to download.
4. Say Goodbye
I heard someone say that how you say goodbye is often more important than how you say hello...
This is very true for restaurant website - as it is in fact the first experience with your restaurant, you should expect visitors to end up at your restaurant and therefore say ‘goodbye’ once they leave our site in a personal way ‘we look forward to having you…’ at the end of the booking process or as a pop up window on site exit.
5. The booking system
An online booking system is not for everyone. You must leave the option of calling your directly or emailing.
Only use an online booking system if it works for YOU your STAFF & your CLIENTS – and if it integrates with your phone bookings well.
Consider your clientele – do they like to book online or call? Take this into account before investing in a system.
If you do not have an online booking system, make it easy to call (click to call from a mobile) and make these details visible on every page.
6. Be Social
Most people will want to get to know you and the story behind your restaurant / café. Help them by adding all your social links to the website and invite to join your community. This will guarantee repeat business and happier customers.
In conclusion, even for an established well know restaurant or cafe, a good website is important. Think about your website as the first step of the dining experience and make sure it is consistence with what you offer and with your reputation!