The world takes food seriously. So seriously, in fact, that over 8 million photos of food have been posted on Instagram. So, how do you compete in an industry that’s not only crammed with options, but also demands a notable online presence as well?
Your restaurant website design is important. 84% of consumers are likely to look at more than one website before choosing where to dine. The impression your website makes is crucial to a customer’s dining choice, and can truly make or break your flow of customers.
Follow these tips, and before you know it, you’ll be making a better impression and ensuring customers choose your restaurant over a competitor’s. A better website means more sales!
1) Make it Mobile Friendly.
It’s 2016, people – if your website isn’t mobile friendly, you’re losing customers by the hour! More and more consumers are using a mobile device to search for a restaurant, in fact, at least 81% of people are (Constant Contact). Make sure your website is responsive and adapts to various devices.
Your consumers might be searching as they walk out of their office, they could be checking from the passenger seat, or maybe they’re standing 15 feet from your location. It doesn’t matter; you have a limited amount of time to make a great impression. If the mobile experience slows them down from getting their information, you just lost the game.
2) Lose the PDF Menus. Now.
It would shock you how passionately upset people can get when they have to download a PDF of a menu. This is because PDFs are not responsive, and require more time and effort than what’s necessary. Menus should have their own live page. Always. That page should be up to date, visible from all devices, and get information to the consumer quickly and efficiently. Although phones are progressively getting better about viewing PDFs, a consumer could lose interest the moment they find out they need to download it and zoom in to even see the content on the page.
Take a look at the menu of Jordan Supper Club. It’s clean, simple and no hassle. If you’re viewing this from a mobile device, we bet you’re pretty happy to see that there’s no PDF in sight.
If you have a PDF menu on your site right now, just know we’re all doing this:
3) Online Reservations.
Though this feature might not be an option for every restaurant, it’s important to consider when you’re optimizing your website. Online reservation systems can help restaurants manage table flow and boost business. We live in an on-the-go world, and many people won’t take the time to call a restaurant to make a reservation. It’s easier for a mom of four to take 15 seconds to book her family in at work and rest easy, knowing their dinner plans are cared for that night. She already has enough to worry about, she wants quick and easy. Online reservations also provide 24/7 service, which means your customers can make their lunch reservations in the middle of the night.
4) Make Your Navigation, well, Navigable.
As mentioned before, you have a limited amount of time before your customer loses interest and searches a competitor. If they’re on your website, they’re looking for specific information. Make that information as easy to find as possible. To do this, make sure your navigation design is prominent and relevant. Rank by importance: Menu, Specials, Location, About Us, etc. Make it easy to get from page to page, and absolutely make sure that the navigation is optimized for mobile devices!
5) Make it Picture Perfect.
You may think this is a given, but many restaurants don’t include high quality images on their website. We’re visual creatures. People want to imagine their experience, which means you need to include images of food and the atmosphere to give them an idea of what they’re walking into. Sometimes an image will win someone over right away, so make sure the impression you give is high quality and accurate.
6) Optimize for SEO. If They Can’t Find You, They Won’t Come.
SEO can be extremely overwhelming, but if you don’t optimize your content into your website design (both written and visual) for the good ‘ol Google, then your customers won’t even know you exist. This is essential to getting customers, so you need an SEO expert who can help improve your rankings and get your restaurant on the radar. Say you’re a seafood restaurant located in Minneapolis. Are you coming up on the first page of Google when you search for that term? If not, you’re losing potential customers to your competitors who did invest in an SEO specialist. A majority of people turn to Google to ask their questions, so make sure you’re prepared and investing in this incredibly important part of your digital presence.
7) Unique Designs Make Great Designs.
As you may have guessed, the design of your website plays a large part in your first impression. Try to stand out from your competitors with something unique and personal. We highly recommend properly investing in this area, and working with a creative agency. A team can address everything down to the smallest details, and optimize your website specifically for your needs. Your brand is unique, don’t undermine it with a generic templates that are used by thousands of other businesses. Working with a creative agency also allows you to have a website that’s built for the times. An outdated site tells your customers that you won’t even take care of your own brand appearance – so why would they think you’d take care of them? An agency will build you a modern, responsive site that will keep you competitive.
Think of your website as a waiter. You wouldn’t let your staff greet your guests wearing stained sweatpants or a ripped shirt, so why would you let your website be unsightly? This is the first, and potentially only, impression for you to make on potential customers. You want your site to be wearing a tuxedo, inviting your guests in for an incredible experience. Like a great waiter, your website design should be well dressed, [user] friendly and responsive.
The DreamBig team is full of foodies, so it made sense for us to pair with some amazing restaurants to make sure their online presence was as top tier as their food. Check out our work and see how some of these tips play out in action.