When diners walk into your restaurant, you want them to feel comfortable, enjoy the ambience, and be confident that they are in a clean environment. The same goes for visitors to your restaurant’s website. Your website should represent your brand, attract new customers, and give returning customers what they need. Follow these guidelines for an attractive and easy-to-use website that results in regular visitors and an increase in customers.
1. Your website is a way to communicate with customers
Just like your staff interacts with customers while they are in your restaurant, your website and social media pages can interact with them outside the walls of your establishment. Answer a few important questions like what you desire your site to accomplish, how do you want to communicate with your customers, how will you control the information that is out there about your restaurant, and how you want your site to increase your success.
One of the most important steps in setting up your new website is installing an analytics code on your site. Google Analytics will show you who visits your site, what pages they view, how long they are there, and more, which can all be vital assets in optimizing your website.
2. Start with a responsive mobile design
Most potential and current customers use smartphones or other mobile devices. If they’re looking up restaurants on the go or trying to find a place to eat near them, you’ll want to be sure that your mobile site is inviting and simple for them to use. People will potentially reach your mobile site in different ways, so starting there and then working towards a desktop version is a smart decision
3. Focus on the user experience
If someone has a hard time navigating your website or figuring out the answers to their questions, they’ll be less likely to visit your restaurant. Make sure your phone number is visible on every page and consider what questions people are visiting your site to answer. Things like what type of food, menu items, location, hours, contact information, and online ordering (if available), should all be easily found on your site, along with any of your unique qualities or offerings.
3. Make sure your food looks good
You wouldn’t send something sub-par out of your kitchen, so don’t put sub-par food images on your website. Have your chef beautifully plate your dishes and hire a professional photographer to take the photos. Doing so is an excellent way to control the information about your restaurant that is online.
5. Gear your site towards your target audience
Take a look at who is coming into your restaurant, and adjust the tone of voice and language of your site content to that audience. Make kids’ menus easy to find if you cater to families, or offer specials and two-for-one deals if your restaurant is a popular date location.
6. Use social media
People may visit your website via social media pages, but make sure to have links to your social pages on your website, too. Interact with people on your social media sites, and encourage them to share photos and their experience to influence potential customers.
7. Update your homepage Keep the homepage of your website updated with weekly specials, upcoming events, or new menu items. This will keep people coming back to visit you. Also, include an email newsletter sign up on your homepage, too.
8. Test your site
Before your site goes live, have a group of users test it for potential glitches and user experience issues. Or, after you launch the site have a pop-up survey that offers people a coupon for completing it.
9. Check your analytics
Take the goals you set for your website and measure them against your analytics. Use the analytics to understand where people are looking and continually improve your site and user experience.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
About us and this blog
We are on a mission to help local restaurants thrive in the new digital economy. Our blog is designed to give local restaurants best practices from some of the top restaurants in the world today.