10 Things Every Restaurant Website Needs

Posted on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 No Comments


10 Things Every Restaurant Website Needs

Every restaurant needs a website, and all of those websites need a basic set of content in order to perform well. Use this as a checklist for your restaurant website.

10 Things Your Restaurant Website Needs

1. Location, Hours, and Phone Number Displayed Prominently

This is the most important one. When a customer lands on your website, they most likely want to know where you are, what your phone number is, and what kind of food you have.

The top of every page on the website should include your address and phone number. On a more detailed contact page, or further down the homepage, you should embed a Google map with your exact location.

2. Full Printable Menu

Every restaurant website needs a full menu — the same menu that you’d get if you sat down at a table. Offer a printable PDF as well, which will allow people to print it for their home or office.

If possible, it’s also a great idea to show nutritional information. Many people, especially those on special diets, check restaurant websites so that they can plan what to eat in advance.

3. Photos of Food

Did you know there’s such a thing as Food Porn?

How many times have you seen a friend take a picture of their meal and post it on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter?

Even if that seems silly, people are fascinated by good-looking food. It’s only natural, since food is one of the top things that keeps us alive every day.

Does your chef make an effort to present meals in an appealing way? Take photos of them – nice, high resolution photos – and put them on your website. It lets people see what they’ll be getting at your restaurant, and they will start visualizing themselves eating there.

4. Photos of the Restaurant

Post nice, large photos of the outside and inside of your restaurant. It will make it easier for people to find the restaurant, and it will show how clean and inviting your dining room is.

Take it a step further and post some photos of your kitchen! People will be thrilled to peek behind the scenes and comforted that you’re transparent enough to show where the food is prepared.

5. A Blog

An active blog helps your search engine rankings by giving Google more pages to crawl and more long-tail keywords to rank. It also tells Google that your website is alive and up to date. That “someone is home” and it’s not just an abandoned website.

If you’re going to participate in any content marketing, a blog is the best way to go about it.

And, of course, you can use your blog to posts news and updates about your business, like new promotions, community involvement, or awards that you’ve won.

6. Social Media Icons and Links

A brick-and-mortar business like a restaurant should have a presence on Facebook and Twitter. I also recommend Instagram for those food porn pics that you should be taking. On your website, display the icons for the social media outlets and link to your profiles.

Don’t forget about social media sharing links on your blog posts. An easy way to add those is to integrate AddThis, which works for any type of website.

7. “About Us” Page With Thoughtful Information

In my experience, the “About Us” or “Meet the Staff” pages always get the most views. People want to know who’s behind a website, especially when they’re not familiar with the company. Even if it’s subconsciously, everyone asks, “who are these people really?”

Include photos and bios of your owners and staff to make customers feel like they’re dealing with real people. Tell the story of how your business came to be. It makes you relatable.

8. Reservations, Party Rooms, Coupons, Promotions, and other Important Details

Time-sensitive coupons and promotions should be shown on the home page. If you really want customers to use the coupon, but it on the top half of the page and make it easy to print.

Details about your restaurant such as how to make a reservation or how to reserve a room for parties can go on a separate page, linked to from the top navigation. Just the fact that you show that information will prompt people to think about making a reservation, or remember you the next time they have a large group.

9. Modern, Professional Design

So many small business websites look out of date or as if they were created by a 5th grader. This gives the impression that you don’t care about your company’s image or that you haven’t bothered to update your website in a decade.

Imagine your customer, sitting at home, hungry, trying to figure out where to eat. She finds your website and after taking one look grimaces and clicks the Back button.

It doesn’t have to be that way! Keep your website updated and get a professional design that shows customers you’re in the same year as them.

10. Basic SEO

SEO has changed over the past few years, but it’s still important to do some basic keyword optimization on your website. Pick one or two keyword phrases that make sense for your website, and do a basic SEO audit for yourself. This infographic walks you through the process for WordPress, and it will be similar for any other content management system.

Restaurant Website Critiques

I randomly chose four Sacramento-area restaurant websites to critique, in order to show you some examples of how this could be put into practice.

Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen

Oh, Drewski’s! You have a great following on Twitter with recent updates, but it looks like your website hasn’t been updated since 2012 🙁

website critique

The Good

  • Phone number appears at the top of the homepage.
  • A KCRA A-List contest graphic shows that they are (or at least were) active in the community.
  • The menu is front and center.
  • Social media icons are at the top and the Facebook Like Box on the side provides some social proof.

The Not So Good

  • There’s an entire footer widget that was never used, showing very unprofessional filler text.
  • The default WordPress Meta widget is in the footer, which makes it look like nobody is paying attention to site details.
  • “© 2012” in the footer shows that either nobody has updated the website since then, or isn’t paying attention to detail. The problem with this is it makes potential customers wonder whether the business is still in operation.
  • The Twitter page states that the food truck is mobile. “Gourmet food truck rolling through the Greater Sacramento Area . . . coming soon to a street corner near you!!” Could we get a route map or some way to locate the truck?
  • The Catering page is just a contact form with no information about the catering service.
  • The Gallery page only says “coming soon”.

Campelli’s Pizza

restaurant website critique

The Good

  • Phone number, location, and hours are on the home page.
  • Social media logos and links are on the home page.
  • The design is modern and professional. Suggestion for improvement: too minimalist on the homepage. Don’t count on people to click through to additional pages.
  • Great “Our Story” page with photos and information about the company.
  • The Menu page is very good. Suggestions for improvement: include a printable PDF and photos of each pizza specifically.
  • Locations page is great. Has a map!
  • Great information on the Community page. It would be nice to include some of this on the homepage.

The Not So Good

Overall this is a great restaurant website with most important aspects already present. I included some suggestions for improvement above.

  • The title of each page is causing the browser to display “Campellis pizza” instead of “Campelli’s Pizza”. A minor detail, but you really must spell your name correctly 🙂
  • The Home button is linking to “localhost/campellis” which is a broken link.
  • My main beef with this website is the lack of content on the homepage. It’s important to not assume that people will browse the rest of the website.

By the way, I have actually been to this place, and the pizza was GREAT. I wish I still lived nearby.

Suzie Burger

restaurant website recommendations

The Good

  • Phone number, address, and social media icons are on the homepage. However, they’re on the very bottom. I recommend moving them up.
  • The website has a consistent design, which is good. The design itself is questionable though. As long as the restaurant wants to attract families with children, it’s all set.
  • There is a menu page with what looks like the full menu.
  • I like the Parties page with a couple promotions for groups.
  • The Photos page is a good start.
  • The Contact page is also a good start.

The Not So Good

  • Put the phone number and location at the top of every page.
  • If the business is interested in growing on social media, more prominent placement of the social media icons would be good.
  • I recommend including a printable PDF menu.
  • The Photos page could include official photos of the restaurant, both inside and out. It definitely should showcase some photos of the food.
  • It looks like no SEO has been done for the website.
  • There is no About Us page with information about the company, the owners, the staff, or the story of the business.

Ernesto’s Mexican Food

Ernestos-Mexican-Food-fullpage

This website is fantastic! It was obviously designed by a professional in the modern era.

The Good

  • Colorful, modern design with a slideshow, social media, online reservations, job applications, and a huge menu display.
  • Newsletter sign up on the homepage to capture new customers.
  • Great footer with all important contact information and recent blog posts.
  • Social media sharing buttons on every page.
  • Nice map with directions on Contact page.
  • Lots of good photos of the food.

Suggestions for Improvement

I have to be picky to find anything to improve on this website.

  • I’d recommend putting the menu all on one page, and again, include a printable PDF.
  • I would add the phone number at the top of each page, to the left of the social media icons.

All in all, wonderful job, Ernesto’s!

Do you need help with your restaurant website?

Request a Proposal to get started!




Posted in Web Design. Tagged with: , ,