Your website is the first glimpse of what a customer sees and the impression they get from your restaurant. They're looking for a place to dine, and before they do, they're more than likely looking you up online. 77% of diners visit a restaurant's website before dining in or ordering out. The last thing you want to do is miss the target and fail to offer the bits of information the viewer is looking for to make their decision to dine with you or elsewhere.
There are a few must-haves for your restaurant's website that you might be missing. A guest's first impression happens online, and it's up to restaurant operators to ensure that those first impressions are positive.
This may be obvious to some, but the first thing you should be focusing on is the overall look of your website. Your website should tell your story and effectively convey your restaurant's brand. Is it getting your message across? Does it match the vibe and setting of your restaurant? If not, you probably want to revamp the site's overall look. If you're not confident in your design skills or ability to put together a website, investigate outsourcing to have your website looking top-notch. It's worth hiring someone to perfect your site; customers want to see a well-put-together display that will hold their attention.
Your guests will also appreciate high-quality photos with great lighting. Your photos should reflect the food and dining experience. 45% of diners specifically look for food photography when visiting a restaurant's website. Hiring a professional photographer is an excellent investment. These professionals will know how to capture all your restaurant's best angles and will be able to obtain the perfect lighting. Give the viewers the best first impression possible!
The essential information that customers typically seek should be front and center. Visitors usually seek out crucial information like restaurant hours, location, and contact information. Make this information prominent and easy for a customer to find as it can be frustrating for them to have to hunt. If your customer must dig for essential information, they may choose to dine elsewhere. If your physical location is difficult to find, consider providing directions on your website or include a printable Google map.
Make sure your website is simple and easy to navigate, manage, and update. The layout should be organized, and buttons to order online or book reservations should be visible. Visitors will want to book a table or order delivery/pickup easily. Promote your reservations and online order in the top navigation of your website. Include quick action buttons that allow visitors to place an order or call the restaurant. Your website should also feature contact forms for catering or private event inquiries. This will increase the number of conversations and connections with guests and streamline the communication process.
A restaurant website should be mobile-friendly and compatible with all devices. 70% of website visitors come from a mobile device. Keep your systems up to date and functioning to ensure easy navigation for all potential customers. You'll also want to ensure your menus are up to date and easy to navigate. There's no excuse for out-of-date information on any website, so make sure you use a website platform that allows easy updates to your menu on time. Also, consider a text-based menu that is easy to view on all devices. This will make it simple for operators to update menu offerings quickly. Image-based menus may not be compatible universally and are unreadable to search engines. A text-based menu will increase the likelihood of your website popping up when visitors search for particular items.
It's also imperative that your website is ADA accessible as websites are considered a public realm under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ensure that your site is digitally accessible to everyone online and aligns with the ADA guidelines to avoid legal complications.
Your website visitors will appreciate the option to accomplish various tasks through your website, which can be a crucial revenue generator for your business. Many restaurants use their platform as a digital storefront to sell gift cards, restaurant merchandise, tickets to events, and more. Give your customer the option of obtaining these things online. Having this option can turn potential customers into repeat, loyal ones. Consider partnering up with a provider that offers all of these features to amplify the ease. Another option to consider is including a database opt-in form. Allow customers to sign up for email promotions, birthday rewards, and other important restaurant information. This is a huge opportunity to increase value and build your business.