How to create a restaurant website

Editorial Team

6 min read
woman-ordering-food-on-smartphone

Time and again, research underscores the crucial role that websites play in long-term restaurant success. In fact, 77% of consumers check out restaurant websites before deciding where to eat.

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Additionally, 30% of diners turn away from restaurant websites that look outdated and have menus that are difficult to read. There is no arguing the importance of an attractive, functional, and frequently updated website for restaurants.

Here’s how to create a restaurant website that entices customers to visit or order from your establishment, plus some tips on how you can keep improving your site throughout the year.

Choosing a platform

All websites have to be built, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be the one to build it.

You have several options when it comes to building a restaurant website and putting that technology into use.

  • Out-of-the-Box solutions: Services such as BentoBox help entrepreneurs construct an internet presence from scratch using templates and easy functionality that answers to the needs of various restaurant types. These templates are designed for optimizing your restaurant website, so you can boost sales as quickly as possible. No need to understand code or try to learn design in your spare time. Think of this as a turnkey solution.
  • Website builder platforms: These platforms usually have a combination of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) drag-and-drop editors and more complex offerings for owners/operators interested in learning about web development and site construction. There is some ease-of-use with these platforms, but you’ll likely have to find or even buy certain options piecemeal, and that can add up in terms of time and money.
  • Custombuilt sites: You can hire a professional developer to create a site built to your specifications. While this can result in a beautiful website, this approach might not be practical or economical for small businesses given the other, simpler solutions that already exist.

Designing the website

There are lots of restaurant website design tips available for those who want to “DIY” their website, but first, you need to tackle the basics.

  • Outline page layout and prepare content: Your restaurant website needs a homepage, an about us page, a contact page, and a menu page – at bare minimum. Other content such as company history and community pages are bonuses, but you don’t necessarily need them to launch your website.
  • Focus on simple navigation: Make it easy for customers to find what they need. Use a simple and highly visible navigation bar to list pages, and give pages names that make sense.
  • Highlight your menu and ordering options: You already know that people check restaurant websites before ordering, so it only makes sense to upload your menu and link to third-party ordering options from your site. This way, customers can simply click through and place their orders for delivery.
  • Use high-quality photography: Your website needs beautifully lit shots of your dishes to help entice guests to visit your restaurant or place an online order. Many of the latest smartphones come with amazing cameras that can help you capture images just like the pros. You don’t need to invest in expensive equipment or hire someone to photograph food well.
  • Ensure the location is included and correct: List all contact information – addresses, phone numbers, major cross streets, etc. – clearly on your site to help customers find your location easily.

Important restaurant website integrations

Your restaurant website is not an island. There are some key integrations that you can leverage to make your website more functional and to help support your other goals, including increasing traffic, boosting customer engagement, and increasing overall revenue.

Online ordering

Food delivery has been popular for years, but delivery and curbside pickup surged in popularity during the pandemic. When you build your restaurant website, an online ordering system should be high on your list of must-have integrations. While you can build your own ordering system, that technology may be complex to construct and difficult to manage. A better option may be to partner with a third party that already has a platform that integrates with your existing point-of-sale (POS) system.

Social media sharing

Those little Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram widgets on websites are useful because they allow people to instantly share your content with their friends on social media. Make sure your blogs, menu, and promotions are sharable so your fans can help spread the word. Can you say free advertising?

Restaurant point-of-sale system

Your restaurant POS system is a major part of day-to-day operations. The right software and platform can track key data points such as inventory information, customer analytics, sales data, and more. This info can be collected and sorted into various reports to help inform everything from how you staff your restaurant to whether you turn that one-off special into a standard menu item.

Feedback/form submissions

Guest feedback can be a scary proposition for restaurants. After all, there’s always someone looking to complain about the temperature of their food or that they waited too long to be seated.

The truth is that these bits of feedback are all opportunities to improve operations and better serve your guests. Including a feedback form and other contact methods on your website gives guests a way to let you know what you’re doing right, what you could do better, and what they’d like to see from your brand in the months and years to come.

Ongoing improvements

Restaurant websites are not “set it and forget it” marketing tools. Just because you created an incredible website doesn’t mean your work is done. It’s important to keep your website updated. This includes:

  • Updating variable information as it changes – such as operating hours.
  • Ensuring all contact information is current.
  • Producing new content to keep readers engaged and your site looking fresh and new.
  • Working on search engine optimization (SEO) to increase organic online visibility. This might entail hiring a consultant to complete a content audit, engaging freelance writers to populate your blog, and developing relationships with other site owners and influencers to build a network of backlinks to help your authority and Google ranking.

Get started with Clover and BentoBox

To be competitive and successful over the long term, all restaurants should consider developing websites to attract consumers who are looking for information and a way to make reservations or place orders.

Clover offers a wide range of business solutions that can help you bolster your online presence and ensure your restaurant runs more smoothly, even as you scale. That includes a restaurant website and commerce platform that provides all-encompassing marketing and commerce help for restaurants just like yours.

For more information, reach out to one of our Clover Business Consultants today.

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