It is practically impossible for a company to do without a website, whatever its sector of activity. This is because a website is great at keeping existing customers informed and it is equally a great tool when it comes to finding new customers.
However, each sector has its own requirements. That is why a restaurant’s website should be different from that of a business in another industry such as real estate.
So, in this blog article, I’ll show you exactly how to create a website for your restaurant and the benefits that go with it.
Importance of a website for a restaurant?
Before going to a restaurant, today’s gourmets inquire online to find out which dishes they can order, what type of cuisine is being offered, what is the price range of the restaurant, and if the ambiance corresponds to the desired atmosphere.
Therefore, a proper restaurant website should make it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for.
It is not uncommon to look for a nice place for dinner or a fast food over the internet. So, if the website is designed following the principles of SEO, it will attract new customers.
Naturally, the main business of a restaurant is in the kitchen, but a good restaurant website can make your business even better.
A reservation system is a particularly popular feature, which allows same-day table reservations. Establishments that equally offer home deliveries can also put an interactive menu online allowing customers to order directly from it.
Coronavirus: A restaurant’s website is more important than ever
The restaurant industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. If other sectors can easily resort to teleworking, this is not an option for restaurant owners.
In this context, restaurants can use their website to stay reachable to their customers. For those who offer takeaways, this option must be highlighted on the site’s home page.
An interactive ordering system encourages customers to enjoy your cuisine despite confinement, whether it’s takeaways or delivery.
Even without an ordering system, a website can be useful in times of lock-down. Use a blog (possibly combined with social media) to communicate about your current situation and keep in touch with your regular customers.
As a digital partner, we at Webgiig want to be by your side during this difficult time. Find out how we can help you on our dedicated page.
Creating a website for a restaurant
There are different ways of building a website.
For a long time now, it is no longer necessary to know HTML or CSS in order to create a website, although, of course, it can be an asset, it is however possible to use different tools or hire a specialist.
Content Management System (CMS)
A content management system (CMS) is software that is designed to easily create and publish content to a website.
Basically, it is all about creating and using templates and plugins.
Creating a website with WordPress, for example, requires relatively little effort. This makes it possible to create a restaurant website quickly.
Often these systems are available for free. However, it is necessary to think about planning a budget for web spaces and any paid extensions.
Website building tools
Website Builder Tools are easy-to-use online software programs that make creating restaurant websites very simple.
There are usually different modules available for this purpose, which can be compiled individually and then adapted into an online interface.
They are relatively simple to use, however, they come at the expense of customization.
The use of authoring tools forces you to limit yourself to the requirements of the software.
Website design services
Some hosting providers offer a design service in addition to the technical base. Together with the customer, specialists create an individual website within this framework using various design templates.
In this case, no knowledge or technical know-how in design is necessary. The design department of the web agency will take care of all aspects of the creation, of course, you will have your say throughout the process, but you have more time to concentrate on your core business.
Agencies and freelancers
Professional web design agencies and freelance designers are other available options for creating your website.
Specialists can implement anything that is technically possible while the Designers will further ensure the quality of your restaurant’s web presence.
What is the best solution for your website?
Choosing the design method for your website should be based on three factors: level of customization, expertise, and budget.
If you want a highly personalized website, but lack the know-how, you will have to give away some bucks for the services of specialists.
If on the contrary, a simple, but elegant page suits you, it is possible to create one quite easily and for a relatively low cost with the help of some web design tools.
|Content management system||Very versatile||The cost of hosting and the domain are extra||Medium to high||Low|
|Website building tools||No know-how necessary||Limited adaptability||Low to medium||Low|
|Website design service||Often available with a hosting package||Subsequent changes are limited||very low||Medium|
|Agencies and freelancers||Support from specialists||Recommended for large projects only||very low||high|
What are the must-have elements for a restaurant website?
It mainly depends on the goals of the website.
One-page sites are usually practical web design solutions, but might not be clear enough for a restaurant.
It is recommended to include the following sections:
- Home page
- Ordering system
- Legal Notice
The homepage is the first thing the visitor sees. It is therefore essential to make a good impression. One or two images of one of your signature dishes or of the dining room will enable you to give an idea of your restaurant quickly.
You can equally indicate your opening hours directly on this page.
Running reservations on the website has a lot of advantages. That is why the process has to be as simple as possible.
An easy-to-use reservation system on your website has several positive effects: people who are already on your website can book a table there quickly and easily.
For you, this system has the advantage of relieving you from a large part of the organizational work. Plus, it means fewer phone calls for you and your employees to manage.
If your restaurant offers a delivery or takeaway service, then you need to consider an ordering system.
Thus, your customers will not need to call you and will be able to easily consult your offer online. For this, there are also external providers whose systems can integrate with your websites. Often payment support is also included in this software.
There are always new things to share with customers. Whether it’s the return of a seasonal dish or a new wine.
A blog is perfectly suited for this type of communication, in particular, it offers customers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the restaurant industry.
This will permit you to strengthen or create links with your customers. The combined use of a blog and social networks is also a relevant solution.
Although the menu remains the keystone of any restaurant, the owners and employees are the souls of the place.
Introduce yourself and your team in a section to highlight the human side of your establishment.
In this section, it is also possible to offer a nice photo of the team or photos of the kitchens or behind-the-scenes of the restaurant.
Many people check restaurant websites for directions.
It is therefore necessary to provide a section for this purpose.
Information on public transport routes is also highly valued by many visitors. The integration of Google Maps offers the visitor a visual navigation aid.
It is essential that customers can contact you easily.
In a separate section, list all the ways you can be reached. Indicate both your telephone number and your email address.
Finally, a contact form makes communication even easier. Visitors to your restaurant’s website simply type their request into the text field and click “Send”.
Almost all sites need legal notices in order to comply with legal requirements.
This is where the liability information is located.
The name and address of the owner are usually found here as well as the legal name and legal form of the company.
There are online generators of legal notices on the Internet. So it will be a good idea to do some Google searches.
A step-by-step guide to building a restaurant website
Regardless of the preferred option, there are certain steps that are essential to creating an online presence, from choosing the domain to distributing your new website.
Step 1: Find the right domain
The domain is the address of the company on the Internet. It’s usually the first thing a visitor will see on your website. This is why choosing the right domain is essential.
From a search engine optimization perspective, it’s also worth including the name of your restaurant’s location in the URL. This can be done with a dash or directly with a top-level domain like “.paris”.
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Step 2: Choosing a suitable design
The design of your website should reflect the style of your establishment. If your restaurant is distinguished by its minimalist and clean style, your online presence must also be minimalist.
If, on the other hand, you have a rustic-style restaurant, that should also be shown on the website.
Nevertheless, web design should not be compared to interior design, as different rules apply: for user-centered design, one should put visitor experience at the top of the priority list. Users should be able to find the information they are looking for as easily and intuitively as possible.
For this type of design, it is important that the website be viewed as easily on mobile devices as they are on desktops and laptops.
Step 3: Your Restaurant Website Content
Good design allows your content to take center stage. Text and images are the heart of an online presence and the reason visitors come to your site.
So, take your time during this step.
I’ll suggest you create and update your content to meet the following characteristics:
- Informational: Typically, visitors to your website are looking for specific information. It is therefore necessary to make them visible and not to hide the information in too dense paragraphs. In general, brevity pays off!
- Up-to-date: If the opening hour changes or the drink menu is modified, you must immediately modify the information online. Failure to do so risks creating misunderstandings.
- Professional: make sure that your texts do not contain mistakes and that the images are placed in the right places. Spelling errors project an unprofessional image and may tarnish the image of companies.
- Useful: also consider integrating useful functions such as an interactive map or a reservation form. This can give guests a positive feeling even before the actual visit!
Step 4: Market Your Website
In the best-case scenario, a restaurant’s website helps win new customers. To make your website known, you need to design it with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind.
Several factors may influence whether your website will easily be found on Google and other search engines:
- Keywords: include important keywords in the texts of the site. We can for example think of the type of cuisine (“Italian”, “traditional cuisine”, “gourmet”) and the place where your restaurant is located (“Strasbourg”, “The old port”, “seaside”).
- Performance: Make sure your website loads quickly and displays well on mobile devices (smartphone and tablet).
- Local SEO: Google offers you the possibility to create a profile for your restaurant directly in the search engine. This way, the service knows exactly where the restaurant is and can let potential customers know.
- Social Media: Create social media profiles and link your accounts to your restaurant website. You will be able to gain more visitors and get in touch with your customers.
- Rating on websites: You can also embed ratings your restaurant has received on other platforms on your website. Google may also include these dots or stars in search results.
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