Online searches and digital demands have never been so high.
According to Google, over a billion restaurants are searched on the site every month. Most of them use terms like “food near me”, indicating that many eating experiences also start online. This means that having a digital presence for your business — even if it only offers offline services — is more critical than ever.
Every digital presence, even for restaurants, starts with a website. But, you need more than static information. Websites today also offer experiences and are the first touchpoint with potential customers. To create a great restaurant website, you should follow some design best practices. This handy restaurant website design checklist will help you go through all the necessary steps. To illustrate, we reference Billy Bricks HQ’s website as an example of what to do.
Check out this handy checklist for restaurant website design.
Step 1: Add a Store Locator
People use the internet to search for practically everything these days — including restaurant suggestions. This is the main reason why your food & beverage business should have a website — your customers can find you as an option while they perform their search.
But, for businesses like restaurants that need foot traffic, a website’s digital presence is not enough. This platform must help potential customers find the exact location of your restaurant, and having a store locator on your site is the easiest and simplest way to do that.
Storemapper is a powerful tool that can help you quickly offer a mapping solution on your restaurant’s website. It takes only a few minutes to install, and you need no coding abilities to do so. With Storemapper, you can also add these elements to your site:
- Store contact number
- Store address
- Search location using zip code
- Multiple locations (if you have more than one store)
- Inventory and category filtering
- Google Maps geolocation and data
- Maps customized according to your brand’s style.
With the help of Storemapper, your customers will find it super easy to reach you or visit your restaurant whenever they want — and you can try it out free for seven days!
Step 2: Optimize Your Website for Mobile Visits
From all the web searches run on Google about restaurants, 89% are made from mobile devices. This shows just how relevant the optimization of your website for mobile visits must be.
Creating a website with the mobile user journey in mind is called responsive design. This is a design approach that transforms your website desktop interface into the best format presentation for smaller screen sizes, like those on mobile phones or tablets.
But what exactly does this mean in practice? A visitor will access your website with their mobile device and see its content correctly fitted to the size of the screen they’re using. There will be no need for zooming in or out to see and scroll through the entire website content, making the experience much easier and more enjoyable.
Optimizing your website for mobile visits is also ideal for your user experience and SEO strategies since Google prioritizes responsive websites when showing search results.
Step 3: Use Easy-to-Understand Copy
You probably want to add a lot of information to your website, so visitors can get to know more about your services. But writing website copy can be tricky since you need to effectively communicate with different visitors in a straightforward way.
The secret to avoiding complicating your messages is to use easy and simple copy. Try to always communicate using few words and short sentences. Save more extensive texts for specific content pages (like blogs or FAQs). When it comes to website copy, less is more!
Also, aim to write in a way that most people can understand, avoiding complicated words, jargon, or acronyms. Remember, the simpler, the better (this also applies to design).
Step 4: Use High-Quality, Appealing Images
Images are always an essential part of a restaurant website design. They help potential customers see what you offer and what they’d be paying for, and they give your page a more professional visual.
The images you choose for your website are also crucial for another reason: we’re talking about food, and people literally salivate when they see something appetizing, so they’re likely to give it a try. To get this reaction, be sure to use high-quality and appealing images of your restaurant dishes throughout your website pages, including the:
- “Story” or “About Us” section
- Menu page
- Contact page
The more that visitors can find images of your restaurant and its dishes throughout their website journey, the more likely they are to become interested in what you offer and place an order or visit your restaurant.
Step 5: Guarantee a Fast Load Speed
Internet connections get faster each day, at about the same pace that visitors’ patience declines when waiting for a page to load. iThe rule of thumb is a page shouldn’t take more than three seconds to load its initial content. Any longer, and the chance a visitor will leave your page is high, which increases your bounce rate.
Step 6: Add Your Menu
You might have noticed that some restaurant website design variations don’t offer a menu on their web pages. But, it’s a good idea to do so because:
- A menu will help potential customers see what you have to offer.
- Some customers feel more comfortable knowing the price of food and drinks in advance of ordering them.
- A menu can help you drive more people to your restaurant since they know what they will find there.
- Content pages like this one help boost your SEO and ranking in search engines.
Be sure to add your menu as HTML text on your page, avoiding using PDF or other static files that can take a while to load. This way, you guarantee visitors will be able to check out this information.
Step 7: Add Other Services Pages
Many restaurants offer other food services as a solution for their customers. These often include delivery or take-out services, catering, food trucks, or culinary classes. No matter what kind of extra service you might offer your current or potential customers, be sure to include the related information when designing and writing copy for your website.
These extra services can be presented on their own dedicated page, so you can explain how they work, use some quality images to illustrate them, and even add a contact or order form so customers can inquire and ask questions about them.
Step 8: Add Contact Information
Imagine creating a fantastic website, working hard to make it findable in search engines, but not providing potential customers with the option to get in touch with you if they need it. This can leave them feeling frustrated and you might lose their attention and future business.
Although you expect your page visitors to find you on the internet and visit your restaurant location, some might want to get in touch with you before doing so. Maybe they need the restaurant’s hours information, answers to questions about your service, or simply a reservation for lunch or dinner. No matter the reason, you must have basic contact information on your website so people can reach you.
Your contact page should have:
- A phone number
- An email address
- An address for correspondence
- Optional chat or text messaging app options
You can add this information to your store locator page (like in Billy Brick’s example) or create a page just for it.
Step 9: Add Social Proof
Other vital information customers rely on to find out if a restaurant is trustworthy is through social proof. This means that people tend to look for others’ recommendations on something they are trying for the first time.
It’s for this reason that having social media channels for your restaurant (like Instagram and Facebook), a customer evaluation on Google, or reviewing apps (like Tripadvisor) is essential. These channels must appear on your website, not only for your customers to use as social proof but also for improving your SEO.
Step 10: Make Navigation Easy
Let’s face it: when researching what to eat, people want to quickly and easily find information about their options. So, restaurant websites must be easy to navigate.
If you make your visitors go through a lot of information, especially if they don’t know what they want, they will probably give up and leave your page, which is the last thing you want them to do!
So, make it simple for them. When creating the navigation of your website, try to focus on presenting just what’s needed. To do that, you can include:
- A search bar at the top of the page
- A simple navigation bar with a few, easy-to-understand categories
- Your logo
- A menu icon for other hidden options
- A clean and scannable homepage
By following these recommendations, you’ll be ready to offer relevant information to your visitors in a fast and efficient way — increasing your chances of making them stop by your restaurant.
Restaurant Website Design Checklist
Remember, the checklist to create a great design for restaurant websites is:
- Add a store locator (Storemapper is perfect for restaurants with one or more locations)
- Optimize your site for mobile traffic
- Use easily understandable, simple copy
- Use high-quality, appealing images
- Guarantee fast load speed
- Add menu information
- Add a page for other services (if you have them)
- Add contact information
- Add social proof
- Make navigation easy
Follow all of these steps to build an excellent website for your restaurant and give Storemapper a try today as your store locator solution!