What Should Your Restaurant Website Include?

Beata Grace Beatty

Beata Grace Beatty

Beata is a Florida-based freelance writer. When she’s not researching and pitching story ideas, she’s reading, walking on the beach, fiddling with home projects, and keeping up with her two daughters.

When choosing where to eat out or grab a cocktail, customers are going online more than ever. Having a clear, mobile-friendly website that features photographs and information about the food, your space, and your brand is essential. Unlike online review websites, your restaurant’s site is one of the few marketing tools that you completely control. 

Highlighting information (such as location, hours, the menu, and pricing), featuring mouth-watering photos and positive reviews, and offering easy online ordering and reservations will draw customers and increase revenue. All of this needs to be done while keeping the look and feel of your website consistent with other marketing materials and the overall brand.

Man using smartphone to look up a restaurant website to look at the menu

Location, hours, and contact information

One of the essential components of your website should be clear logistical information and an easy way for customers to contact you. Eighty percent of those potential diners who check online say they are more likely to go to a business with a great online presence. Make it easy for your customers to find your business and contact you.

Menu  

Feature a well-organized and engaging menu that’s front and center. Your menu is an extension of your brand and identity. Customers want to know what you serve, and 100 percent of your customers will look at your menu. Traditionally, restaurant owners have posted menu links to download, but today, diners shouldn’t have to waste time downloading a file. Integrate the menu into the design of your website; try not to use PDFs.

A guaranteed seat at the table

One 2019 industry report highlights that the most important restaurant technology feature for guests is online reservations, with 51 percent of customers believing that making online bookings is “extremely important.” That’s higher than restaurant owners believe reservations to be. Only 41 percent of restaurant owners ranked bookings as extremely important. 

It can be frustrating to customers (and an added stress for staff) to arrive at your establishment only to wait an hour or more for a table. Avoid these moments by incorporating one of many reservations systems into your website.

Photos, news, and reviews

The majority of customers are seeking out information online, so don’t be afraid to show off a bit. Tempting photos and first-rate reviews are excellent ways to promote your food and brand. Did you win a “best-of your city” award? Are you partnering with a local charity? Do you regularly have live music? Your website is the one place you can curate your image and control what people see. Give patrons a glimpse of the food and the atmosphere.

Get social

About 88 percent of restaurant guests agree on one thing –– they are influenced by their family and friends. They share experiences face-to-face and on social media. Strengthen your online presence by linking to Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Consumers are compelled to seek information from their peers and share their experiences. Research shows that nearly 3 out of 4 customers have used Facebook to make restaurant decisions based on comments and images that have been shared by other users.

Be mobile-friendly

Today, it’s a given that your site should be mobile-friendly. In the past decade, more than half of website traffic is found to come through mobile devices. About 9 in 10 smartphone users look up restaurant information on their device. Customers should easily be able to click-to-call, browse photos, and check out your menu.

Go the extra step

Other components of a great restaurant website include coupons and loyalty programs, online ordering, a calendar, and even a blog. However, if you choose to incorporate these perks, keep them up-to-date. Let customers know if there is ample parking or valet. How about wifi? Don’t leave anything up to chance.

While the quality of your food is often the number one factor that draws new customers to your restaurant and keeps them coming back for more, a great website is a crucial marketing tool that should provide the information your customers want.

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