When you own a restaurant or cafe or other hospitality business, having an effective restaurant website design is essential. In today’s digital age, you can’t do without one.
There are plenty of tips and tricks on the internet that talk about what a ‘good restaurant website’ should include, but often, they just focus on things like ‘have professional photos’ and ‘include your menu’. Pretty obvious things, but also: secondary. Because, first and foremost, you must decide the purpose of your website and the message you want to communicate.
Restaurant websites are not similar to other commercial sites. There are certain traits that you must follow properly to create a restaurant website. In this post, we will share with you strategic decisions that you must make before designing your website.
“Who” is your restaurant?
Before you start designing your website, you need to think about the personality of your restaurant. What is your style? How do you talk? How do you ‘dress’?
Think of your restaurant as a person. How do you behave with other people?
Describe your style, characteristics, and things you like. Make a list of the five words that best describe you.
Who does it serve?
Once you know who your restaurant is, you must decide who you serve. Some people may argue that you should do this the other way around.
It is much better to first clearly say who you are and then sketch a picture of the clients you want. People look for brands that match their interests. So you want people who match the brand you want to build, right?
You may have a vague idea of your ideal customer in your head, but planning your customer persona will go a long way in designing a profitable and effective website. It will help guide you through essential design principles. For example, how you name certain menu items or which items should be highlighted.
A buyer person can be summed up in a few sentences, but the more they expand on this topic, the better.
Essential messages for your restaurant website
So now you know who you are and who you want to serve. The next step you want to take is to write your essential messages. The most important are the texts for the home page and the “about” page of your restaurant.
I recommend that the texts of your restaurant website be short and concise, full of your essential messages. You can ask yourself some simple questions to help you:
What do you want people to remember about you when they leave?
How do you want people to describe you to their friends?
What does it offer now, what will it continue to offer in 5 years? (The best roasts, innovative cocktails, vegan food, the best wines …)
Make your restaurant website design well structured. Easy to navigate. Essential navigation elements such as “menu” or “contact” are missing on many restaurant websites.
Remember why people visit your restaurant website because they want to see your menu, find out your opening hours, find your contact details, or make a reservation. Those 4 things, therefore, should be easy to find.
The majority of visitors who return to a website are to view the food menu. Presenting it in front of them makes the job much simpler and more accessible to your visitors.
Don’t turn your website into a maze. Prioritize easy navigation.
Other online media
Your website needs to be kept up to date, but it’s not the best place to constantly bombard you with new photos. You can use other online platforms, such as social media, for those purposes. Or opt for an integrated social media feed, which updates automatically.
If you use WordPress, there are many plugins that you can install to display your Instagram or Facebook account. These plugins are usually beneficial as well in attracting more people to your social media accounts.
These are some of the important things to keep in mind within restaurant web design.