What to know about building a restaurant website
Running a restaurant is no easy task. In addition to having enough capital to keep you afloat during early days, you also have to manage your inventory with laser precision and keep your eye on market trends. And in today’s competitive landscape, there’s no doubt about it: your restaurant needs to build a website. Without a website, you’ll be forced to rely on foot traffic and word-of-mouth referrals. With so many new independent restaurants opening each year, you cannot afford to lose customers simply because you don’t have the proper discovery methods in place. Here’s what you need to know about building a restaurant website:
Create a Great First Impression
Your restaurant website design is critical. First and foremost, you need to be designing with first-time customers and repeat customers in mind. First-time visitors are more likely to judge your website based on appearances and reviews. Sometimes, a great design can be the deciding factor for customers having difficulty choosing between multiple places. Fortunately, there are plenty of restaurant website themes that help eliminate some of the guesswork and save you money. These pre-designed customizable themes are already built with the restaurant owner in mind.
Take High-Res Food Photos
If you really want to make your restaurant website stand out, high-res food photos are the way to go. Vibrant, close-up food photos will go a long way. After all, there’s a reason why cuisine is so popular on photo platforms like Instagram; people love to see a good dish. When you combine your food photos with great design, you have a higher chance of capturing your audience. However, be sure to use high-quality images sparingly. Too many large images could slow down your website, resulting in higher bounce rates.
Pay Attention to Your Navigation
Your website navigation is key to a great user experience. Think about it: whenever someone visits a website, they want the most important information readily available in a concise manner. If you’re just starting on your website, use sitemap creation tools to help you plan out your pages and hierarchy. Remember, it’s important to keep it simple. A few key pages/areas that need to be clear and easily accessible include the menu, business details, online ordering (if applicable), photos, and an “About Us.”
Local Search is Important
To benefit from local SEO, you’ll need a website. Any query that contains the name of a geographic place—such as “coffee shops in Brooklyn”—is considered a local search. Searches containing the phrase “near me” also constitute as a local search. So why is local search so important? If you take a look at some of the most recent statistics, you’ll quickly see why. According to BrightLocal, 97% of consumers search for local businesses in 2017, and one out of three smartphone were conducted right before arriving at a store.
The “Google My Business” tool is a free service offered to business owners that allows them to claim a listing and manage their online presence. When a potential customer searches for businesses like yours, it will appear in a collapsed view on Google Maps, complete with details about your business, including photos, contact details, reviews, and more.
Highlight Your Story
Today, transparency and company culture are a major part of consumer buying decisions. For this reason, it’s important to humanize your brand, and one way to achieve this is by communicating your story and vision. Why did you start your restaurant in the first place? Where is your food sourced? What’s your company mission? Who are your chefs and core team members? These are all things that help a customer understand who you are and what you stand for. You can take a look at other restaurants around the world to see examples of how other businesses are framing their stories.
Be sure to incorporate social media links onto your website pages, which serve as an extension to your site that helps you continue to convey your culture. For example, you might show more photos of your chefs behind-the-scenes on your Instagram account, or feature customer photos that you’ve been tagged in. Each of these things help build a narrative around your company and what you have to offer.