Restaurant Websites: Get Your Food Online

Marketing 26 minute read 8th May 2024

Having a website is single-handedly one of the greatest things you can do for your business. In essence, it is about being digitally literate. You need your business out there on the web. It is a sort of billboard without a cap on how many views you get. Restaurant websites are worth their weight in gold.

If you put out a physical advertisement, a couple of hundred people might see it. Or a thousand or so if you’re lucky. But most importantly, these people are all tied to a physical location, narrowing your potential customer pool.

Similarly, while social media marketing is great for bringing in numbers, it lacks the formality of a website. A good restaurant website establishes trust and professionalism. It is reassuring that potential customers can go, whether to read a sample menu or check opening times.

Having an excellent website for your restaurant is a way to establish your business as successful. It’s a fantastic way to build brand awareness and trust. And we all know those two things are vital components if you want to establish customer loyalty.

In this guide, we’ll cover exactly why you should “get your food online” through a restaurant website. Sit tight for how to spot good websites, create one, and convert web visitors to real ones. By the end of this 10-minute guide, you’ll be all tooled up and ready to go. Restaurant success, here you come.

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What Is The Importance of Restaurant Websites

Websites for restaurants are essential as they form the basis of your online presence. A restaurant website is the first thing customers see when they Google your business. And since 62% of diners still Google a restaurant before visiting, having a website for restaurant businesses is vital. You need that first line of contact to really be in the industry game.

There are other benefits, too, like establishing yourself (ironically) as “established.” A restaurant without a website can look incomplete or small-scale. This may align with your goals; you might want a super local and under-the-radar business. However, as you’re here and learning about your online presence, we’ll guess that’s not what you want.

For the vast majority of restaurants, a good website isn’t just a marketing choice but a question of survival. And whatever business you run, that visibility repays the extra effort ten times over. You’ll notice the difference between having a restaurant and bar website and having a small deli restaurant website. It’s one of the best ways to market your restaurant business.

An excellent website for your restaurant is a marker of success to come. It makes you visible, professional, and ready for visitors. It also leaves you with wiggle room to collect reviews and run SEO marketing campaigns — always a win.

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5 Ways To Spot a Great Restaurant Website Design

Before we dive into creating your restaurant, what makes a great restaurant website design? We’ll give you some examples of great websites later, but for now, what are the telltale signs?

Sometimes, it can be challenging to distinguish between good and bad and just different creative directions. Fear not, though; these are the top five ways we’ve found it easiest to categorize websites as good or bad.

1. Branding Consistency

Branding consistency is huge. With a brand, you have a voice and a smooth association in the minds of potential customers. Gross. Nobody wants that.

A great website has really consistent branding. For instance, it has a set color scheme, set emotions and themes, and a predictable voice. It makes sense — almost like a character of its own. Your restaurant should have a personality that visitors become familiar with and grow to love. Branding is an effective way to increase customer loyalty and general awareness of your restaurant, so make sure your website resonates.

For instance, Hermione Granger from Harry Potter wouldn’t side with Voldermort and started speaking with an American accent. We grow to love characters for their believability and predictability. Your restaurant isn’t any different.

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2. Customer Reviews

Featuring customer reviews is a super smart way of running a restaurant website. You get to point out how many people love your restaurant already, establishing your business as a great experience. You can see why this method is so effective.

Everyone should research the power of customer feedback and reviews. Having a few testimonials or sliding reviews from Google is a great way to harness that power.

3. Clear Navigation

Without clear navigation, a website crumbles. A bad website is one that guests can’t navigate and honestly don’t even want to after a few seconds. Sleek and clear navigation speaks to the experience customers will have when they cross your threshold.

Make sure you have visible and functional menus to build trust and a professional appearance.

A good website has a primary navigation menu in its header (that is at the top of your home page).

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4. Up-To-Date Information

Without a shadow of a doubt, nothing is more damaging than a website with out-of-date information. Google hates it and will likely boot your website from search results. And customers hate it even more. It can damage your reputation, making you lazy, unprofessional, or untrustworthy.

Your website should always have up-to-date information. This is an important strategy for building trust with potential customers.

5. Images

Finally, images are essential. This is how you’ll showcase your guest experience. It is all about visually “wowing” your website visitors so that they want to become guests.

Include pictures of the gorgeous view from your best table and snapshots of your most visually appealing dish. Moreover, invest in high-quality pictures from a photographer if you don’t feel confident handling a proper camera. An amazing website has amazing photography.

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What Is a Restaurant Website Builder?

A website builder is a handy tool for creating a website. If you are starting your website creation journey, consider tackling this independently. If so, you’ll need reliable tools like a restaurant website builder. So, let’s get practical.

If you are just starting out, chances are you aren’t fluent in code. Don’t worry; not many people are. However, this means you’ll need an alternative way to create a website. Custom web designers might code a pricey website design from scratch, but a website builder eliminates the need for code.

These are three good examples of website builders to invest in:

  1. Wix
  2. WordPress
  3. Squarespace

Wix is great for easily building a website and doing it quickly. However, it can be tricky to adjust themes or swap them with a different builder at a later date.

WordPress is a little more confusing to start off with. You’ll need to get a handle on things like plug-ins and have more time to learn the ropes. However, it is really effective for long-term hosting.

Squarespace really comes into its own with e-commerce sites, as it has shipping integrations and easy themes. It might be the wrong fit for a restaurant, though, and doesn’t offer a free membership.

Out of all of these, WordPress is our most recommended option. It offers different membership options and clear restaurant website templates. Although it isn’t specifically for the restaurant and hospitality industry, it offers so much template variety that it works perfectly.

A website builder also handles all the layout conversions. Visitors get a great design, whether they view it on mobile devices or laptops.

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How To Create a Restaurant Website

There are two ways to create a restaurant website: hiring a professional or using a website-building tool. For the sake of this section, we assume you are looking at how to create a restaurant website yourself. This means you want to learn the basic ropes instead of hiring someone.

The good news is that anybody can achieve this with the right steps. Congratulations on being so brave and proactive; rest assured, this will be a rewarding process. It will also serve you well in the long term. You’ll be able to make easy adjustments and won’t need to pay someone else for website maintenance.

Are you ready? These are the three steps to create a restaurant website.

1. Pick a Website Builder Tool and Layout

Your first step is to pick your website builder. As we mentioned above, we suggest going with WordPress, but you can also choose builders like Wix.

This website builder tool will help you create a website for your restaurant without coding. You’ll be able to pick a theme and get advertising in a matter of days, if not hours. Exciting, right?

Most of these tools offer demos and a monthly subscription service. You can start with a relatively low investment. Once you pick one, you can establish a basic layout — like where you want navigation menus and color schemes.

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2. Source Images

Once you choose your website builder, you want to source images. You can either take these yourself or hire a photographer. If you invest in a photographer, just make sure you know first what layout and sizes you want the images in.

You want high-quality images that represent the best dishes on your food menu. These images are a snapshot of your dining experience, so take them seriously. Whether you run a Mexican restaurant or a New York rooftop bar, these images should resonate heavily with your brand.

Once these images are ready, insert them into your website and start planning a real design.

3. Create the Copy

The last stage is arguably the most important: the copy. What are you going to say to your website visitors? Should you add a food menu or an “About Us” page to really tell your story and build authenticity?

Always run your copy through a self-editing tool like Grammarly to ensure it is error-free. You should also optimize it for SEO, adding keywords that rank as easy from tools like SEMrush. And finally, make sure that your tone aligns with your branding.

A fine-dining restaurant wouldn’t say,” Hey guys, wassup. “Similarly, a British restaurant wouldn’t use American spelling. Make sure that your voice is consistent with branding. Then, when you’re ready, press the “launch” button. Voila! Your website is live.

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Top 3 Best Restaurant Websites

When designing your website, something that’s really valuable is an amazing restaurant website design example. The best thing is that you can find loads of these online. Just check out the best restaurant websites on the market!

This way, you can see what works for other successful businesses. This method is a bit like playing trial and error, but you let others take all the risk. You swooping in to swipe some inspiration at the high points.

Of course, you can’t copy other people. However, you can adapt certain strategies that seem to work effectively, like action buttons or bold coloring. These are the websites we’d suggest checking out.

1. The Alchemist, Copenhagen

The Alchemist takes its mythical branding seriously. When you click “pen,” you are taken to a swirling dark blue page full of runes. That engaging movement immediately establishes the restaurant as experience-focused. And the “tickets” rather than “bookings” “tab in the left corner emphasizes the experience focus even more.

You can incorporate some movement and interactive qualities into your restaurant website. Restaurant website designs don’t have to be static (although this is often cheaper). If your restaurant is experience-led, why not consider a more fluid website design?

If your restaurant has stunning views over San Francisco, add aerial footage of the city to greet visitors. Website designs can be a great way to emphasize your customer experiences before they even cross the threshold.

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2. Central, Lima

Lima has really hit the ceiling in terms of sudden culinary fame. At the top of this boom is a fine-dining restaurant, Central. This restaurant has a simple but practical website design.

The navigational menu is instantly accessible along the top header of the home page, which encourages action. As it attracts an international crowd, having the language-translating button at the top left corner is also handy.

When visiting a restaurant’s website and it appears in an unfamiliar language, searching for a possible “translate” button can be disheartening. If you regularly attract guests who don’t speak your language, investing in a clear translation button is good. It helps to rope in a wider crowd, which means more profit.

3. Gordon Ramsay Restaurants

Of course, you don’t just have to offer a website for a single restaurant, either. You may have a website that promotes a chain, like Gordon Ramsay Restaurants. This sleek website design is full of high-quality images and clear navigation to keep driving action encourageable and simple. Like Gordon Ramsay, this design is straightforward and to the point.

It shows that even with a chain and lots of information to convey, you can create a digestible website layout. That header navigation menu is a fantastic way to simplify things, especially with the “book a table” tab. The image-based menus are also a neat and visually inspiring way to direct people to where they need to go.

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Converting Website Visitors to Restaurant Visitors

Okay, this is a big one. Attracting a ton of traffic online is all good, but how does this convert to foot traffic? When attracting potential customers to your website, you need to know this will build actual business.

Luckily, you can do this through five simple strategies, which we run over now.

  1. Always provide contact details to bridge the gap between views and bookings.
  2. Include a clear CTA, like “Click here to book now” or “Reserve your table here.”
  3. Ensure your website is easy to navigate with action buttons and a navigation menu.
  4. Write a copy of your website that resonates with your brand’s voice.
  5. If possible, have an online booking system, as some people hate reserving over the phone.

These five things may seem simple, but they are a great way to encourage website-to-visitor conversions. You need to make the process easy for website visitors. And furthermore, you can entice them with things like:

  • High-quality images of menu items.
  • Bright colors and an exciting design.
  • Promotional offers and marketing ploys.

In summary, the best way to convert visitors to restaurant guests is to:

A) Make committing to a booking easy with a practical, action-driven website design. B) Make booking a table really appealing through a visually aesthetic and marketing-savvy website design.

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Beambox: Understanding WiFi for Restaurants

Once you have a solid restaurant website design and are up and running online, it’s time to consider WiFi. If websites are the mother of all restaurant marketing strategies, WiFi marketing is the cool aunt. It is one of the most effective, minimally invasive, and cheapest things to set up. And even cooler, you notice benefits fast.

Does that sound up your street? Well, the thing to know is that 74% of people want WiFi in restaurants. If you are not offering guest WiFi already, you could be sacrificing a large chunk of customer satisfaction. Low customer satisfaction is a killer for customer loyalty and could be losing you serious profit.

Setting up a guest WiFi system immediately lays the foundations for a WiFi marketing campaign. You can purchase captive portal software once you have secure and fast guest WiFi. This is typically sold on a monthly subscription basis at a cost between $20 and $100 a month.

Captive portals are a temporary blockade, stopping customers from immediately accessing your WiFi through a web page pop-up. You get to create a form on this web page requesting details of your choice. This could be emails, texts, reviews, or social media engagement; the ball is in your court. Once guests comply, they get full WiFi access, and you get valuable customer data.

At Beambox, we can help you with this data collection. This data quickly forms the backbone of other marketing campaigns; a great WiFi marketing strategy is effectively a funnel. We pioneer all-in-one WiFi marketing software with a brilliant captive portal system, securing data in an easy-to-access database.

Start your Beambox free trial now, and we can start monetizing your restaurant together. Restaurant websites and WiFi are two places where you’ll notice a hell of a difference.

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