Restaurant website design tips

What a restaurant website should contain

Visitors can forgive you for an old or less polished design, but not for missing essential information. There is a set of things that one expects to find on your website.

The essentials of your restaurant website

Since you are building your website to promote your business, make sure people can reach out to you. So have:

  • Contact details: Phone numbers, email address and opening hours. Keep all of these in plain sight, for example in one of the top corners or bottom page.
  • Location: You need at least a picture of a map with your location. The proper way though is to have a dynamic map snippet, so that customers can pinpoint your location faster.
  • Dine-in Gallery: If you also put pictures with the location in your website, make sure they are vivid pictured with the restaurant team or with clients ordering and/or dining-in. Pictures with the empty space after closure may be good if you want to rent-out the space but not so good for promoting your restaurant dine-in experience.
  • Social buttons: Let your customers now that you are present on the social networks. Not only that this is another marketing channel you should not ignore, but it’s also a recommended SEO practice.

Next, your business:

  • Menu extras: Your food is your main attraction, so make sure the best dishes of your menu are easy to find on the website with nice highlight pictures and good promo deals around. This also means staying away from pdf files. Use your best dish photos to tease visitor and make them visit your online ordering food menu.
  • Special offers: If you have some special offers or seasonal promotions, then make them stand out on your website. Customers love deals and discounts.
  • Online ordering: If you are offering ordering (pickup, delivery or simply ordering ahead), make this available online as well. Read more about it in advantages of online food ordering.
  • Table Reservations Online: If you have tables to book then allow people to also book a table online, this will give them more reasons to visit your website more often and will also help you solve table booking requests accurate and faster.
  • Delivery areas: In case you are doing delivery, make sure your clients would notice the areas in which you operate and the according delivery fees.

Restaurant website design tips

So at this point you know what you want to accomplish with your restaurant website and you know your audience. Next step is to incorporate these requirements into a layout. But how do we get to a beautiful design? Here are some simple tips.

Good quality pictures

They say that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and it could not be more appropriate when it comes to a restaurant website design. People love delicious food photos and this is THE way to make a first great impression and persuade people to either visit your place or order online. High quality photos of food can really convey that feeling of “I can almost taste it”.

Ideally you should hire a professional photographer for a brief session, as the investment will definitely pay off. You would get a nice photo gallery with your dishes and your location. Otherwise, no worries. You can leave it for later and rely on stock images (like IStockPhoto) for faster and fairly good quality results.

Keep it clean and clear

Try not to overcrowd the space. Too many hot areas can become frustrating for someone who has entered your website with a clear purpose. Keep your website essential elements easy to spot.

A good exercise is to think of some basic user scenarios (like: client visiting your website to order) and then to test your website like you were the client. Count the number of actions required to reach the objective (the clicks and scrolls). The higher the number, the lower your conversion will be. To give you an example, think of an online ordering button hidden on a Contact page, reachable from a small footer at the end of a long page. If you were the customer, wouldn’t you expect a visible order button on the homepage?

Beautiful and friendly online menu

Just like the website, the online menu needs to be clean and well organized. Check out this example of a good online menu and read our tips to optimize your online restaurant menu.

Optimize for mobile devices

The usage of the mobile devices has exploded and the trend keeps going up. In May 2015, Google reported that the daily mobile searches has surpassed the number of searches coming from desktop (Google announcement). If your visitors will not be able to use your website from the mobile device, they will give up and try something else. Moreover, since April Google is penalizing in search results the websites without mobile compatibility (Google announcement).

Don’t trade your site speed for design

While we did highlight the importance of a nice, visual design, be careful not to kill your website speed.

Since you will be using a lot of images, make sure you optimize their sizes so that they don’t take over the entire bandwidth. Also, do limit the use of Flash and other animation or 3d effects. Not only that it can seriously slow down your website, but you will also get into incompatibility issues on mobile devices.