15 Pro Tips for Restaurant Websites

When searching the internet, the majority of restaurant websites have many commonalities. First, many restaurants have no website at all. They are not even on Google Places. Second, if they do have a website then it is poorly designed. It’s full of Flash and important information can’t be found easily. Part of running a good business is projecting and maintain a good image. It does not take much to have a clean, attractive website. The Oatmeal has a funny, and great point concerning restaurant websites. Unfortunately the restaurant business is known for having terrible websites. We  at DWD want to change that since we think it’s time for restaurants to become major internet players.  Here a 15 pro tips for restaurant websites.

1. Actually Have a Website

Want people to actually find your business? Then a website is imperative. The days of the phonebook are reaching its end. Hire a company to build an awesome website that will be found on the major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

2. Mobile Version

What can be seen on a computer screen is not the same as what can be seen on a mobile phone. Most customers are not sitting at their home computer looking for somewhere to eat. They are in their car or another location using a mobile phone.

3. Remember the Importance of #1 and #2

4. Menu (with Prices) is Easily Found on Site

There was a time when asking customers to download a PDF version of the menu was acceptable. Guess what? They will never visit the website again because they already have the menu. Do yourself and your customers a favor by having the menu on the website. Also, be sure to include prices on the menu. This should seem like a “duh”, but many restaurants leave prices off the menu. Leaving prices off is so not cool. 

5. Hours, Location, and Contact Information

Prominently display this information. It should be in the upper right hand corner and it should be on every page of your website. Not being able to find this basic and vital piece of information will frustrate customers. You want business, right?

6. No Music or Flash Introduction

Having a flash introduction is like keeping customers outside the restaurant. Here’s what you’re saying with the flash introduction, “Sorry, can’t come in for 1-2 minutes because this worthless, annoying intro is happening.” Nobody likes it. Seriously…nobody. The same goes for auto-play music. Having music automatically play is intrusive, annoying, and generally makes people mad. Skip the flash intro and auto-play music.

7. No Video

Again, people do not like a video to pop up when they first enter your site. Repeat: It’s intrusive, annoying, and makes people made. Having a video is great idea; however, the user needs to have control if he/she wants to view the video. And, it doesn’t need to be the first thing someone sees on your site. To reiterate, make it the customers choice to watch the video.

8. Say No to Adobe Flash

Here’s the bad about Adobe Flash. It is difficult to update, it can be expensive to update, it does not register with search engines so no one can find your site (zero SEO), and it is incompatible with the iPhone and iPad. 

9. Participate in Social Media

Facebook and Twitter are great ways to connect with your fans. It is important to have a personality and to give special deals and offers to those who Like or Follow you. Also, be sure to participate in foursquare by giving newbie deals, loyalty offers, and mayor incentives. Again, if you do not have time then hire these out to a company who specializes in social media.

10. Regularly Update Social Media

The best way to keep everyone excited about your business to to be active on social media.2-3 daily updates with a few hours in between each update.

11. Regularly Update the Website

Search engines like Google look for sites that are updated on a regular basis. If a website is never updated, search engines quit looking. There are easy ways to make sure your website is always fresh. Have a weekly blog and post new menu items, promotions, and events. Remember a website should evolve and never stay stagnant.

12. Use Google Maps

Maps help customers find you easily. Accessibility is key in keeping customers.

13. Online Reservation System

Does your restaurant take reservations? Make it easy for customers by having an online reservation system. Be sure it works and gives the customer confirmation that their reservation was received. Online reservation systems are awesome because it takes human error out of the equation. Plus, image your business being open 24 hours where customers can make reservations at their convenience. Sites like OpenTable makes reservation taking easy! 

14. Post Pictures of Your Food

Food pictures should make customers want devour the dish and lick the plate clean. Avoid what we here at DWD affectionately call “The Autopsy Shot”. This is where the picture is taken from the top looking down on the plate. Make sure the pictures are professionally done and look appetizing.

15. Testimonials, Praise, and Pictures of Happy Customers

Utilize your happy customers. Ask them to write about their experience at your restaurant or what is the best item on the menu. Post these on your site to show other potential customers why your restaurant is the right choice. In addition, post pictures of people having a good time. This will only reinforce why your restaurant is the best.

Distillery Web Design and Marketing is a feature website builder, online marketer, and advertising specialty consulting group working with businesses in the Lebanon, Camdenton, Osage Beach, Springfield, and St. Robert areas of Missouri. Facebook, websites, online promotions, print media, radio promotions, online newsletters, graphic design and direct mail campaigns are our specialty. We know how to get the Internet, social networking and new media to work for you!