With The Stone Grill in Blackpool open for business again, we are able to turn our attention back to our program of steady improvement. That includes everything from table settings to the menu, to the website.
It’s that last that we’re turning to today. As part of our research, we spent a few hours looking at restaurant websites from around the country. And boy were we surprised at the variation in quality!
A website is essential for any business and something we all need to get right. With that in mind, we asked a web designer friend of ours to offer some advice on restaurant websites.
Here is what he said:
Make sure it’s responsive
More than half of all web traffic is now mobile and that continues to grow. Every restaurant website out there needs to work on all devices with all screen sizes.
That’s called ‘responsive design’ and should be part of every single website online. Some websites will naturally be responsive but some have to be made so.
Using stock images
Stock images are fine for blog posts and internal pages but all the main pages in a restaurant website should use original images. Visitors want the real story about the restaurant and to see what it really looks like.
You can take the pictures yourself if you’re good enough, otherwise, hiring a photographer for an hour or two is cost-effective.
PDF menus are fine if you’re offering an optional download but they should never be used as your primary menu. They don’t get picked up by search engines, they don’t work well for users and not everyone trusts downloads from websites.
It’s much better to embed a menu into a page and offer the optional download. There are lots of ways to display a menu on a page and plugins for WordPress, Joomla and other platforms to do the job.
Not including online booking or ordering
People use the web for everything. They buy cars, book holidays, research new houses and find jobs. They also want to book a table or order food.
Adding this capability to a website is simple. WordPress plugins, Joomla extensions, custom widgets, apps and other technologies make it cheap and simple to add interactivity to your website.
No social presence
A restaurant website must also be social. Link to your social channels, include the opportunity for comments and open the door for a two-way conversation. Social media counts its users by the billions and we all want a piece of that.
Include social links, be present for conversations, use Insta for food images, Twitter for quick messages and Facebook for longer engagement.
Reviews and testimonials
When was the last time you bought something online without reading a review first? Reviews are a form of social proof and are incredibly important. Not including them on your restaurant website or featuring links to major review platforms is a big mistake.
Eating out is one of those areas of life where reviews count for a lot. Not featuring them anywhere on your website can make visitors suspicious.