5 Elements Every Restaurant Website Should Have
Did you know that on average, 77% of diners will visit a restaurant’s website before dining in or ordering out? Long before they walk in your doors, your guest’s first impression happens online. Whether you’re building a website from scratch or choosing a templated option, at the end of the day, you need a website that works as hard as you do.
Here are five key elements of a successful restaurant website.
1. Your restaurant website should be well-branded.
You know what sets your restaurant apart from the others–this is your space to show that off. Your online logo, colors, and photos all tell a story that gives diners something to connect with and remember. Share some enticing food pictures, or the family history behind that one menu bestseller. Just make sure not to go too overboard with the decorations–your website has to balance form and function.
2. Your restaurant website should be easy to navigate.
When diners land on your site, if they can’t spot what they’re looking for in 3 seconds, they may give up and move onto their second option. A hungry customer doesn’t want to search for a delivery link–they want their pizza now!
Channel their focus by placing the most valuable actions or resources at the top of the website. For instance, your revenue-generating “Order Now” or “Reserve a Table” buttons should be spotted immediately, and your menu and contact info should be next within easy reach.
3. Your restaurant website has to be optimized for mobile.
Since 89% of diners do their dining research from their phones, it’s vital that your restaurant website has a layout that shifts seamlessly from desktop view to mobile. This is called “responsive design,” and it’s something consumers have come to expect automatically.
Test and test again to make sure that any important text (like your address) doesn’t get cut off when switching to a phone screen, or that the high-res photos you’ve taken don’t cause a mobile page to load at a snail’s pace.
4. Secure your restaurant website with SSL Certification.
What is a “SSL certificate” and why does it matter? If a website is SSL certified (and any commercial website should be), it’s been proven to be trustworthy, and set up so that any sensitive data processed through it, like credit card numbers, are kept private and safe.
You can tell if a website has SSL certification by looking at the beginning of the URL–the S in “https” means that it’s been SSL certified. If it stops at just “http,” it hasn’t been certified, and may be more prone to hacking.
Securing your restaurant website is just common sense if you’re planning on processing orders; but another important benefit is that SSL certificates actually encourage more web traffic. Many browsers will automatically block a visitor from going to an unsecured link, as a precaution–so make sure not to skip this step.
5. Your restaurant website should be engaging.
Finally, give happy customers a way to stay in touch! Include options to follow your social media pages, leave a review, or sign up for announcements. Keeping the door open for your diners to continue the conversation will help you build a solid marketing plan in the future–so start planning for it now.
If you’re planning on offering takeout or delivery at your restaurant, ChowNow can set you up for success with a website optimized for online ordering, secure order processing on web and mobile channels, and expert guidance on how to establish and grow your online presence.