For foodies, online restaurant browsing can be just as exciting as online shopping. But, if you want those visitors to become future patrons, a good website is in order, because 89% of customers will visit your website before dining at your restaurant. Though the best way to entice diners is through word of mouth, as nearly 83% of customers base their purchase on peer recommendations, there are a few key features to include on your restaurant’s website that will entice diners right off the bat.
- Make your restaurant’s location, hours of operation, and contact information visible or easily accessible on your website. Consider adding a “visit us” page with all these details.
2. Do your patrons have to do anything specific when dining at your restaurant? Is it BYOB, cash-only, or formal attire? Include these characteristics of your establishment clearly on the homepage. No one wants to have to make an ATM run when their bellies are full of your delectable dinner.
3. Add a menu page in the navigation bar at the top of your site. Non-PDF versions of your menu are best, especially if there are multiple or if it changes with the seasons. Ensure that the menu is the most up-to-date version. This allows customers to know exactly what they are sitting down for when they finally make it to your restaurant.
4. Tell your story. Is your restaurant situated in a renovated bank vault? Did your great-grandparents start this restaurant in their own kitchen? Let your customers know who you are before they walk in the door. Even include bios of your head chefs, so patrons know why your food is special compared to thousands of other restaurants they could have chosen.
5. Include high-quality images of your best dishes. Though your restaurant might not be serving exotic dishes or showcasing skilled presentation, having images of your menu options can boost how many customers walk through your doors. It establishes credibility and captures patrons’ attention 80% more than plain text.
6. Highlight reservation options. There’s nothing worse than going to a restaurant’s website and seeing that you have to go to another place to make a reservation. Even if you are using another solution to take reservations, such as OpenTable, be sure to integrate this software that takes them directly to your restaurant’s availability.
7. Add a place to order pick-up and or delivery. In the time of COVID-19, 22% of Americans will order food from at least one restaurant each week. If you offer take away, be sure to clearly mention this on your site. Delivery services that your restaurant appears on, such as DoorDash or Caviar, should also be stated and linked.
8. Reflect the desires of your intended customers. If you are more of an upscale establishment, pick elements that express elegance. Do you offer mostly vegan or vegetarian items? Choose a color scheme and curated images that mirror these offerings. For example, include natural tones and earthy images. You’re not going to choose farm-fresh vegetables as your banner image if your featured dish is roasted duck.
9. Embed a Google map. This allows people to see exactly where you are, without having to search for your address. Users can easily get directions to your location from wherever they are standing.
10. Emphasize customer reviews. Have you been featured in a local magazine or better yet a national newspaper? Link these articles on your website. If not, don’t fear. Create a gallery of your best reviews. People select restaurants based on their ratings 25% of the time, so showcase those stellar reviews, and watch customers enter your establishment in droves.