The restaurant industry is notorious for being difficult to be in. Operating margins are razor thin, the industry is highly competitive with more players that one cares to count. The last thing you’d want is for an additional cost overhead that doesn’t pull its weight in terms of return on investment. Websites, however, are worth their weight in gold, able to not only answer customer queries but also attract new ones!
A good restaurant website does not need to follow the latest trends, but what it does need is to be an attractive, informative experience for your customers and potential customers. It is sometimes scary to see some sites employ fancy food animations for their website, but neglect to provide basic information like opening hours. So today, we’d like to share five things restaurant owners should have on their websites.
1. Show your contact information and location prominently
One of the most important things for your website to have is your contact information and location. Often times, people would want to call you to make a reservation or at least check where you are. Your contact number and address should be in text form so that it is easy to copy and paste – as many people do while making plans with their friends. Even better is if you embedded an interactive Google Maps element so that potential customers can find directions to your restaurant as well.
2. Make your website mobile friendly
I can’t even begin to fathom how many times I’ve been out looking for a restaurant only to pull out my phone to try and locate it, or at least find a number to have someone guide me to the place. It is already somewhat frustrating to be lost, so if your website helpfully guides customers to the front door, you can be sure they would be grateful!
They may also be just searching for what is nearby on their phones, making it the perfect opportunity for your website to convince them why your restaurant is the perfect choice.
3. Show your menu with prices, but not in a pdf
It might be much easier to just upload the same pdf you got printed for your on-location menus, but customers often check out what you have available before deciding if they want to go to your restaurant, especially if they have a dish that they are craving for.
4. Include social proof
In an age of Yelp and other review sites, having a good rating might mean the difference between someone making the endeavour to your restaurant and it being in the ‘maybe someday’ category. You’ve worked hard to create delicious dishes and give good service. It is now very easy to include your rating – Yelp has an embeddable reviews badge you can copy and paste, and many others have similar functionalities you can coop so customers are more likely to trust your site even more.
5. Include a reservation engine
Being able to make a reservation online without having to make a phone call is a nice touch you can include to make things even easier for your customer. While it may sound complex, there are WordPress plugins that do this easily. You could even re-purpose a contact form so that people fill in the required information and you could give them a callback or response to confirm.
Lastly, here’s a bonus in the ‘please do not do’ category. If your website is still using Flash, stop. It has severe security exploits, and most large browsers (Chrome, Safari, Edge, Opera) no longer run it by default – making it a poor experience for your customers.