It still shocks me how many restaurants lack a website. I understand that restaurants operate on slim margins, but investing in a decent website can improve business. Restaurant websites provide an opportunity for customers to learn about your business, your menu and your food philosophy. Great food pictures can attract new customers. A menu can help bring new customers to your website who are looking to try a new place. I can’t tell you how many times I have come across new restaurants, only to choose different options when I cant find a restaurant’s menu online. A website would eliminate that issue.
Restaurant websites all need to have some basic components:
- An easy-to-read menu. Many restaurants don’t have websites and those that do often have ones that are hard-to-read. I have seen many instances where restaurant websites have a poorly scanned PDF of the printed menu that cannot be scaled on a smartphone and is therefore nearly illegible. Restaurant menus should be integrated into the website itself. There are many themes available that are designed for restaurants where you can put all of your menu items. A printable PDF menu is fine, but should be considered as an addition to a website-integrated menu.
- Location and contact information. Your address and phone number should be easy to find, preferably right on your home page. Addresses should be linked to Google Maps so customers on mobile devices can click and easily find your location. Making your business easy to locate is integral in bringing in new business. You also want to make your hours easily visible.
- Photos of your food. Photos of your food can make or break your business. It is worth investing in a professional photographer to make your food look good. Otherwise, you risk turning your delicious dishes into something less than appetizing. If done well, food images can really set your business apart. They will give customers an idea of what to expect when they walk in your door.
- SEO (Search Engine Marketing). You want potential new customers to find your restuarant website. It makes sense to incorporate SEO into your website design so you can get found. If you specialize in a certain type of cuisine or have a great signature dish, you need to make sure customers can search for and find that information.
- Social Media Links. Make sure customers can connect with you easily on social media. Put your icons on your website.
- Responsive Design. Google recently changed its algorythm to benefit sites with responsive designs. In addition to that, many people looking for restaurants are searching on their mobile devices. Make sure your website is able to be viewed properly on all devices.