Nowadays, it’s normal for people to look at restaurant websites while choosing a place to eat. That's why they are so important! That being said, the restaurant industry is known for having poor quality and outdated websites.
A quality website can make the difference between a new customer and a missed opportunity. No matter how well the food, service and atmosphere are taken care of: a poorly constructed website can reflect negatively on your business, because many people believe that the quality of a restaurant's website reflects the quality of the restaurant itself.
Consider your website exactly as your restaurant’s face: it’s what gives the first impression to potential customers and sets the basis for their expectations. If you've improved your menu and the service of your restaurant, now is the time to make your website perfect! Let's learn useful advice together.
1. Start with an Eye-catching Template
If you have a restaurant, you know that you don't have to be a web designer to make your website as appetizing as your dishes. You can use a software like WebSite X5, browse through a selection of restaurant and bar Templates created by designers, and find the perfect match with the atmosphere of your restaurant. Every design is completely customizable, you can use it as it is or as a starting point to achieve the results you've imagined. From small touches to total makeover, these Templates are perfect for your restaurant.
2. Attention to Photos!
Taking good food photos is harder than you might think. In fact, there are photographers who specialize in this, who think not only of what’s on the plate but also of it’s mise en place, or in other words, they put everything in its place to create a mouth-watering result.
If you have the budget, you can hire a professional. If not, use the photos sparingly and let the ingredients and descriptions tell the story of each dish.
If you also have rooms for your guests, you can use a photo gallery: add pictures of the room, furniture details, photos with customers (don't forget to ask permission before publishing online) and, if you have it, the dehor or outside area.
3. Optimize Content for Search Engines
In addition to displaying your dishes, a restaurant website must find new potential customers and attract traffic. To achieve this result, you need to create SEO oriented content, that is, optimized for search engines. Here’s an example: your restaurant is located in New York.
A SEO target is to reach top positions amongst search results (i.e. text strings typed by users) such as "where to eat in New York", "New York restaurants", "best restaurant in New York" and so on.
But how can you find out which keywords are best to use in your site's content? Simple, at a basic level you can use free tools like Answerthepublic or Google Keyword Planner.
Add content-related photos to all website pages (for example the rooms, the menu, typical dishes and so on). This strategy helps customers take a look behind the scenes and receive attention from your restaurant. Capture a chef while laying the dough, a pastry chef frosting a cake or a bartender in a fancy cocktail exhibition. This will show the quality and care that your staff puts into their work. And it shows what’s most important: the people that make up your team and build your restaurant success.
4. Publish Customer Reviews
Reviews are mostly appreciated by potential customers when looking for a restaurant. Your guest’s point of view in fact, allows site visitors to get a better idea of your restaurant. So, remember to always provide a space for reviews on your site. You can also collaborate with food bloggers or influencers to create useful video reviews that may not be free, but they could be a very useful investment to gain new customers in the future!
Remember to add an answer to comments! Either a simple thank you, or a message to iron out issues between your restaurant and your guests. Visitors keep an eye on the restaurant’s answer, especially if there is a discussion going on!
5. Allow Online Booking
If your goal is to increase traffic to your site and attract more visitors, you should allow your potential customers to book online. Your guests won’t have to talk to anyone, it’ll speed up things for them and it will also benefit you: online booking means reduced workload through an automatic service. It also offers more opportunities to fill your restaurant as more people could book online at the same time, but on the other hand you can talk to only one client at a time.
How to add the possibility to book online? Simple: in the WebSite X5 Templates this feature has already been added to the easy-to-use contact form!
Another tip: always keep your restaurant website up to date.
There is nothing worse, for your potential customers, than to browse your site and find it old, outdated and maybe with the wrong opening hours! Therefore, it’s good practice to keep contents fresh and appealing on a regular basis. You’re open on Christmas day? Let them know! You've decided to close for New Year's Eve this year? Promptly update your site. You work less in summer, or you’ve created a special menu? Upload news and inform your audience immediately.
In the end, your restaurant website is just like a business card, an online showcase: it must make a great first impression being the first thing that customers will see before actually entering your restaurant.
Now that you know how to create a beautiful website that will impress your guests as much as your food, all you have to do is go online.