A website tells your customers what you as a restaurant offer. It acts as a channel of communication, helping your customers discover what you are all about – your brand, products and story.
While creating your restaurant website, you must keep in mind these 9 points. They are what we’d like to call the essentials that any website restaurant should stick to. We have drawn up a list of restaurant website examples from top global restaurant chains, for you to draw ideas from.
Your restaurant website should tell a certain story to the customers and a good one at that. For example, KFC has one inspiring story to tell that involves the founder, the dream that he had and then how the brand came into being. Everyone likes a story.
When you set up your restaurant you can work on your story, you can focus on what separates you from the rest.
- As a restaurant, what do you stand for?
- How did you come into existence?
- Where do you see your brand in the next 10-20 years?
- How do you wish to contribute to society?
Choose a website domain and hosting
Next, for your restaurant website, you’ll have to shortlist a domain and server hosting. A domain is essentially a domain name (or a website name) and a string of IPs that belong to you once you purchase a domain. With this, you can build your website. While finalising a name, make sure that you give your website a unique name. Essentially, the restaurant name and the website name are the same.
Hosting is a service wherein all your files which are a part of your website get hosted on a server. It is like one big database of all your website files (images, content, code and so on). When you go for hosting, you will also have to decide on how much space you want on the server.
To keep things simple, to build your restaurant’s website – you must purchase a good domain and hosting. A good domain is one which is:
- Reasonably priced
- Backed by good customer service
- Fast to load
- Catering to other companies as well (good client base)
Good Website Design
What makes a great website design? Creative websites are ones that speak to the customer and encourage them to take action. A good website design for a restaurant is one that is:
- Pleasing to the eye
- Nice user interface
- Good use of your brand colors (not a random assortment of colours)
- Makes use of images
- Has Navigation features
Design will also vary from one restaurant to the other
Let’s explain this visually.
In the case of a Fast food restaurant, the website is definitely more flashy. The use of colours and images are more in your face. Look at this shot of the Burger King Website. In their homepage, they are actively promoting their campaigns
Note the following:
- The set of attractive CTAs on top written in bold letters
- Use of attractive images, big size burger images to create a greater need for the burger
- Note how they’ve integrated cricket and T20 (a major sporting event in India) to promote their offers
- Note the use of the prices and the value driven in the messaging above.
On the flip side, there is a stark difference in the messaging in a Fine dining restaurant.
The core selling proposition of a fine-dining restaurant is class and elegance. On the website, this comes across in many ways. We will pick up the example of Odette – a fine dining restaurant which has been nominated as one of the top 50 restaurants in Asia.
Here are some noteworthy points
- Use of simple colours
- More white and empty spaces giving a neat and clean finish (less is more)
- Use of elegant pictures of the dine-in experience
- Display of accolades such as Top 50 restaurants
Website Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
The number one reason why companies invest a truckload of money on SEO is its ability. You know that there are 3.8 million search queries every minute on Google.com
Imagine if you sell pasta at your restaurant and your website ranks at first position for pasta in Delhi, you can imagine how much traffic and how many orders come in through to you then?
That is the power of good SEO.
But SEO does not happen overnight. It is a laborious process involving many steps. We will try to highlight the few important factors that are super important for your SEO.
- Buyer persona mapping and keyword research
When you set out to do SEO, the goal as highlighted above is to get up on the search engines and subsequently get more traffic and orders. In order for that to happen, your goal will be 2 fold.
- To know the customer well
- To get as close to the customer as possible
A simple buyer persona analysis to know how an average customer looks like is important. What is his demographic? What interests him? What does he do? Make a few such personas and look at them closely. Tabulate this. Actually, put it up somewhere so that your whole team has access to it every day. Drive all your marketing content around this. This takes care of the first point.
Second point, how do you then get even closer? By giving him exactly what he wants. When customers come to your restaurant outlet, you must have noticed that they interact with you in many ways. Similarly online, customers articulate their wants and needs through search queries. These search queries can be dug up using any SEO tool. You can use Google Keyword Planner for this as well. How do you get started?
- Shortlist a few brand keywords that relate to your business.
- Use those keywords to get even more keyword ideas. An SEO tool would also give you more keywords and the search volumes for each of those keywords or search queries.
- Use this bigger keyword list to create content on your website.
- Technical Seo Site (Meta-tagging. Site load time)
Building relevant content that pertains to the segment you are targeting is a great first step.
But there is a certain element called Technical SEO which Google and their army of bots look at every day to see if your website is a sound one and deserves higher positions on search rankings.
- Site load time – Your page must load in under 2 seconds for Google to view it as a good website, also users like a website which is not too heavy and loads quickly. Check up your load time on tools.pingdom.com. If high, do check up on the reasons why it is high
- Meta-tags usage – Check all your website tags: title and description tags, header tags, image tags,
- URL – keyword alignment – Your keywords should be mapped out neatly on all your website pages be it your menu pages, customer review pages or your blog pages
- Sitemap – The structure of your website should be a clean one communicated both through an XML and HTML sitemap
Good content on your website
Content connects your restaurant website with your customers. As a restaurant owner, you must neatly portray all that you offer on your website landing pages. More might not be always better and you must be smart when it comes to your content strategy, on your website. Here are a few tips you should keep in mind while you draft your content:
- Define a few important, must have sections for your website
Every website should have a neat structure that helps visitors navigate through it with ease.
Here you can see a snapshot of Protein Bar’s website. At the top, you can see the website sections.
- Order Online and contact now CTAs
This helps a visitor navigate through your website easily.
- Create easy to consume content
Understanding why a customer is on the website is important. Bombarding him with too much information that will disrupt his website experience is a strict no. He might be concerned with a few specific bits of information only. It could be:
Keeping essential information accessible is key. The structure of your website should be built around the key bits of information.
- Use of miscellaneous content
Now you can feed in a lot more content besides the conventional sections of Menu, Rewards, Order now and Contact Us. Remember, as long as the content adds value to the customer, there is no problem in adding additional content. Subway, for instance, has added a Nutrition section in which they have added interesting reads for any website visitor.
Getting website visitors to become customers
When a website visitor views a page, he is a prospect. If he fills out your form field (could be a subscription CTA or an order placement or a login now), he becomes a known prospect or a lead. This lead then becomes a part of your Marketing CRM and you can run your promotions on all such leads, once they are segmented into neat buckets based on their buyer journeys on your website.
Obviously, this lead is tremendously valuable. Conversion is all about converting your website visitors into leads. How do we optimise your restaurant website for conversions?
- Define a few CTAs – Sign up, log in, Blog/Newsletter subscriptions, Order Now CTA, Get coupons or discounts.
- Location of CTA- you can either go in for a CTA on the website (types of CTAs defined in the previous point). You can experiment with the locations of each of the CTAs to see which one works for you.
Use of value-based marketing and promotions
If there is one thing all consumers relate to, it is value. They want a good bang for the buck and your website should shout value for money (depending on the type of restaurant of course). You could show value in 2 ways.
- Price – You could offer a discount to your customers over all your products or specific products. For example – take a look at that value-driven pop-up on the Burger Singh website.
- More for the same price
- Discount after a minimum purchase
Credibility enhancers on the website?
Customers want to feel comfortable when they sign up with you or order from you. They want good food, good customer service and a good brand. One that they can rely on. You would note that for big brands – say A Burger King or a Pizza Hut does not need to build credibility as they are already established. You would see that the big brands are high on:
- Public reviews
These are important signals that make buyers go on to their websites and order time and again.
There are a few things that are worth noticing on the website highlighted above
- 30 minutes or money back ensures excellent delivery service and builds credibility. In fact, a lot of Dominos advertisement commercials were built around their 30-minute service guarantee which became an instant hit at the time.
- GeoTrust secure site – Your site will be used to make online orders. People need the assurance that order, when made through the payment portal, will be safe and secure.
- A ready customer support helpline – Customer service helpline number allows the customers to call up in case they have any queries regarding their query. This also bridges the gap between the customer and the restaurant and again is a great CTA to have on your website.
- Multiple partnerships – Note that they have partnerships with leading brands that also act as a great signal to the credibility of a brand.
Website branding and promotions
You should ensure that you promote your website on multiple channels that will be social media, referral sites. That will help increase your brand awareness and get people on your website. Historically, many restaurants have benefitted from their ad campaigns. The campaigns were launched on social media, became viral and attracted a lot of eyeballs.
Here are a few successful restaurant ad campaigns.
Pizza Hut’s Freedom Campaign
Pizza Hut promoted a bold campaign called the Freedom campaign which saw good traction in 2015. It was built to ridicule the mandatory formalities associated with eating out and promote freedom of eating the way you want. Domino’s saw a fall in sales of 1.5% sales during this time period.
Gaggan Restaurant’s review
Gaggan restaurant launched a 25-course emoji menu campaign on social media. Its goal was to click with the masses, especially the Gen Y emoji-loving segment!
Check out our guide to Restaurant Ads: Restaurant advertisement examples: 500+ Ads analysed
Here are some well-made Restaurant Websites
The website is flashy yes – but is loaded with offers for the visitors. If you look at the top right section, there is an email club section, gift card (loyalty), catering services.
You have an index/navigation section – Locations, Menu, The Bar
Note the large image of the food in the scrolling banners section with a very prominent CTA of Click Here to Order
Source: Ruby Tuesday Website
They give a 10$ waiver in case of an email ID fill-up (used for CRM database)
The special day offers for Catering (Tuesday) and Kids eat free (Tuesday)
Note the social share button at the bottom.
Much like Ruby Tuesday, the website of Backyard Burgers is also an example of a visually appealing website.
- Use of big, attractive images throughout the website
- Free Burger giveaway
- Social Share buttons at the bottom
- Detailed Index/navigation Section
Note the bold, authoritative statement in the image below.
Clean is the word for the Risottia Melloti website. Built with a lot of white spaces, the creators have really kept it simple and neat on the design front. A lot of brilliant food pictures for the visitor to browse through, and perhaps drool over.
Source: Risotto Website
Other notable pointers on the website include
- A complete index section
- Social Sharing
- Newsletter to increase website engagement
- A Google Map at the bottom of the page
Building a restaurant website is a lot of work. A complete checklist would help you cover them in a step by step fashion. Summarising them below.
- A Story
- Domain and Hosting
- Website Design
- Good Content
- Conversion Optimisation
- Value based marketing
- Credibility Enhancers
- Website Branding and Promotions
We hope you found the read useful. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!