In a digital age when diners are just as likely to photograph and share images of their meals as they are to sit and enjoy it, restaurateurs across the world need to level up their marketing strategies. Delicious cuisine and unbeatable hospitality are still important, but now so is a restaurant’s online presence. The world is changing and so are your diners. The experience they have while visiting your website better match the experience they encounter when they visit your place of business, or you will never get them through your doors. Wow them before they even make a reservation. Here are six tips for creating a beautiful restaurant website that diners will love.
Make your menu searchable.
We feel confident speaking on behalf of ALL diners when we express that looking at your menu in a PDF format is frustrating as heck and a major turn-off. Now, you can have a PDF menu available for those who want to download and keep it. That makes sense. But, a PDF menu should not be your only available option for viewing your offerings. There are so many reasons why that is, but here are a few:
It’s not searchable. Restaurant clients nowadays have nutritional concerns and discerning palates. They need to be able to quickly see if you serve gluten-free items or feature any trendy menu items (think hot chicken, truffle fries, and quinoa). A PDF menu doesn’t allow for effortless search.
It’s not user-friendly. Your happy hour diners are only interested in that portion of the menu. Your brunch bunch only wants to see those related items. By publishing your online menu as a PDF, you are forcing niche markets to look at the entire menu, and that’s just annoying.
It’s not optimized for mobile. Count on it. More than half of your online visitors will be coming to you via mobile. Have you ever tried looking at a PDF menu on your smartphone? It’s an awful experience and barely possible.
If irritating your potential customers isn’t enough to convince you to stop relying on a PDF for your menu, then consider this. Creating an online restaurant menu that is searchable will BOOST your search engine rankings. Plus, giving each menu category (i.e., appetizers, entrees, happy hour, brunch, wine and cocktails, etc.) its own web page creates more content for your website, which improves your search engine optimization. Make it easy for people to find you and your delicious menu offerings. Ditch the PDF and give each menu category its own searchable web page by building a dynamic online menu.
Optimize your site for mobile.
Not only should your menu be optimized for mobile, so should your entire restaurant website. It should look and operate the exact same way on all devices. Don’t make smartphone and tablet users zoom in to see all pertinent content and images. Whether looking at your beautiful restaurant website via a laptop or an iPhone, the user experience should be satisfying and captivating.
Feature thorough contact information.
Between Yelp and Facebook, restaurant owners and managers have become highly aware of the average diner’s urge to share feedback. Welcome it. Create a contact form. List out every single restaurant location address. Do you have a corporate address, too? List it. Don’t forget to also list each phone number used for delivery, pick-up, and reservations. And, of course, display all your social media profiles. The easier you make it for customers to engage with you, the more they’ll appreciate you and return to your restaurant again and again. Positive customer feedback is like free advertising.
Include a map!
Again, make it easy for diners to find you. An integrated Google Map on your restaurant website makes it simple to display driving directions to your location with a click or a tap.
Show off testimonials.
Now that you’ve made your contact information so easy to acquire and customers can engage with you, get their permission to use their positive feedback as testimonials on your website. If someone on your website is on the fence about visiting your restaurant, an enthusiastic testimonial may be just what they need to convince them to do so.
Hire a professional photographer.
If you really want a beautiful restaurant website, hire a photographer who specializes in interior and food photography to provide your website images. Lighting and color balance are key. You want images on your website that represents the ambiance and energy of your location while also making your food look mouthwatering. It’s not an easy feat to accomplish. So, leave it to an experienced professional. It will be well worth the investment. Once you have all your necessary images, you can even feature an impressive image gallery that will attract new diners while keeping your current ones coming back for more.
Does your restaurant website need an update and one or more of the above recommendations incorporated into your design? If adding a map, testimonials, and a searchable menu seem like overwhelming tasks, contact us to see how we can help.