With the average consumer relying more and more on online reviews, menus, and marketing for their dining decisions, crafting a beautiful and well-thought-out restaurant website is more important than ever.
While the food should speak for itself, a strong website is vital for giving your delicious dishes an audience — think about it as a club promoter or those cute puppies people put in dating profiles to get more matches. In other words, websites drive traffic.
But only if they are well-designed.
This guide will take you through the top features of restaurant website design that every restaurant needs to get the attention they deserve, including:
- The basics
- Mobile-responsive interface
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Online reservations, pick up, and delivery
- Google Business Profile and Google Maps integration
- Stunning, high-quality visuals
Let’s start with…
In culinary school, long before you learn how to cook delicate scallops or finely seasoned soup, you must first learn about mise en place — or “everything in its place” — which is all about laying everything important on the table before cooking. Similarly, a well-designed website needs to have a section where vital information is laid out clearly for the customer.
This information includes:
- Your contact information like your address (linked to Google Maps), phone number, and email address or “contact us” page
- Your hours of operation
- Your restaurant menu with pricing, nutritional information, and pictures of the food
Before you publish your Contact page, don’t forget the two most important yet overlooked cornerstones of effective restaurant website design: accuracy and constant updates. Most restaurants online today not only have their hours and contact information posted on their website, but they’re also on third-party sites like Google and Yelp.
To keep your customers happy and continually drive traffic, you must keep all of these avenues accurate and updated.
Nothing is worse than bringing the whole family over to a new restaurant only to find out that their hours were posted incorrectly on Google. No one likes to stare at a “Closed” sign with their stomachs at peak rumble. Not to mention, such a slight can lead to bad reviews from people that never even got to taste your food.
Now is the age of the 7-second video, viral dances, and bizarre internet trends, all propagated by the smartphone. For that reason, having a website that features a mobile-responsive interface can make a huge difference in customer engagement. Because people will most likely find your restaurant’s website through their phone.
With a much smaller screen and the same amount of features to include, achieving an attractive look on mobile can be challenging. However, when you use an A.I.-driven website builder, your website will automatically be optimized for mobile, no matter how many times you tweak and edit your web design.
Here’s why you’ll want to have a mobile-responsive website:
- Website visitors have been shown to spend more time checking out websites on mobile than on other devices.
- Mobile compatibility increases a website’s search engine optimization (SEO), which means it will appear further up on Google searches.
- Mobile-responsive sites show faster load times, higher conversion rates, and lower bounce rates.
- A study from SinglePlatform determined that 81% of people typically search for restaurants on their mobile devices.
- 75% of those people say that their dining choices are often based on those search results.
- 62% of potential customers will think twice about dining at restaurants with poor mobile readability — especially if they can’t read the menu.
With hungry diners checking out more than one restaurant on mobile before making their pick, you must make sure that your website shines brighter than the rest. That’s why restaurant websites and mobile responsiveness go hand-in-hand.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
According to Google’s analytics, restaurant searches have grown by double digits in the past two years, making search engine results pages (SERPs) extremely valuable real estate for any business. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the hot-shot real estate agent that can bring new customers to your listing — all you need are some SEO tips to appear in search results.
The best website builders come with built-in SEO capabilities to help drive free traffic from search engines to your site and monitor visitor activity. This allows you to continually optimize your site by doing the following:
- Add alt tags — the text that describes your pictures — to images to improve visibility on results pages and readability.
- Write metadata — the descriptions and titles on your web pages — to manage the information consumers see in search engine results.
- Change your web design all you want — with built-in design protections, your site will always be mobile-responsive (and therefore, high on results pages).
SEO is the key to boosting online presence for any small business. Because of today’s digital age, that also makes it vital for success offline.
While SEO integration is a plus, it’s even better if you can monitor your website performance directly from your account using a comprehensive dashboard, available right on the website interface.
Online reservations, pickup, and delivery
With about 60% of consumers in the U.S. ordering takeout or delivery every week, it’s safe to say that having an option for online orders is a must. Not only will having a pickup and delivery feature on your restaurant site cater to growing demand, but it might also make you more money, with 20% of consumers stating that they spend more on food orders than when dining in.
Options for online reservations have shown to be more desirable to consumers because it is faster, more convenient, and avoids any misunderstandings that would otherwise occur during an in-person phone call to the restaurant.
A successful website with these features will include:
- One-click reservation
- A click-to-call option on mobile
- A button that links the address directly to Google Maps
- Easy-to-find menus with accessible pickup and delivery options
For best results, you’ll want a website builder that integrates your website with platforms like UberEats, Doordash, and GrubHub for quick access and seamless customer experience. For bookings, embed your restaurant’s OpenTable URL to your “one-click reservation” button, so customers don’t even have to leave your site to complete the process.
Google Business Profile and Google Maps integration
Foodie or not, everyone has searched for “food near me” on Google at least once. While it doesn’t necessarily decrease the five hours it takes for you and your friends to decide on lunch, this search habit is something that all savvy restaurant owners can — and should — take advantage of. In fact, studies show that a whopping 50% of “near me” searches result in a visit to that establishment.
The numbers say it all: you have to capitalize on the “food near me” phenomenon.
To do so, you need to set up a website that can be found quickly and easily on Google Maps. Integrate Google Business Profile into your site, allowing you to create your own location tag right on Google Maps. If you don’t already have a Google Business Profile listing, you’ll want to create one to be seen on Google.
Stunning, high-quality visuals
While taste is the ultimate test of a food’s quality, image is everything. A website with poor design or low-quality photos can easily dissuade customers from experiencing the fantastic flavor journey your restaurant undoubtedly offers. That’s why you’ll want a website that features easy layouts for showcasing your restaurant’s ambiance and highlighting your tasty menu items.
Strong visual design for restaurant websites can:
- Increase brand recognition
- Improve customer loyalty and trust
- Enhance restaurant credibility
- Attract customer attention as they search
Craft the perfect restaurant website today
With restaurant websites, aesthetics and user-friendliness can make or break a customer’s decision to dine in. While that may seem like a lot of pressure, with an intelligent website builder, implementing these restaurant website design ideas is not only easy but instant.