The picture-perfect fine dining experience goes something like this: a pleasant ambiance combined with the stories of your friends while you bask in the aroma of delectable dishes. Dining out is always about the little things: great food, an amazing place, and the presence of a good company.
Perhaps one of the greatest challenges when making a restaurant website is to emulate that kind of experience and translate it into the digital space. It's much easier to get drawn into a restaurant when the flavorful meals envelop the place with its luscious smell, or when there's a server to assist you with your needs.
Despite these restrictions, a restaurant site can still bring in many customers if you know how to do it right. So how can you attract potential customers to engage with your restaurant website and make them choose your business as their next dining destination?
Here are some of the best practices that you need to apply when creating your restaurant website:
Make First Impressions Last
The best restaurant websites know how important the homepage is. This page is the first thing that customers see, and it's their initial basis when forming an idea about your business.
Your restaurant website's homepage should include elements that best represent the services and products you offer. If your expertise is in French Cuisine, then take a snapshot of your entire menu and add it as the background of your homepage. Doing this will give customers an idea of the type of dishes you offer.
Take a look at this amazing restaurant website created with Strikingly.
Image taken from Strikingly user website
The restaurant website design of Watercress uses a simple, straightforward approach in visual presentation. The focal point of their homepage is a photo of some of their dishes with a bit of a blur effect to create a spatial illusion.
Web visitors can also look through a gallery of images from the homepage where different types of cuisine are showcased.
If you want to use Watercress as your restaurant website inspiration then you made a wise choice. Watercress was made using the tools and functions of Strikingly, which you can also use when creating your restaurant website.
You can create a remarkable homepage with Strikingly, and apply as many changes as you want. You can modify the style, rearrange the layout, and use different typography to create an organized homepage.
Stimulate the Senses with Your Menu
Introducing your menu online may be challenging. But using the right photographs and selecting your words well can help trigger the senses, giving web visitors an idea of what each dish tastes like.
Image taken from Strikingly users website
You can make your potential patron’s mouth water with powerful visuals and professionally shot images of your menu. On top of that, you can also add shots of your restaurant interiors.
Take advantage of the gallery section of your restaurant website template to highlight the best features of your business - your cuisine.
People are naturally drawn to beautiful images, especially when it involves delicious food. Your chosen images should make it difficult for them to look away.
Aside from images, you also need to describe your menu as specific as possible. Tell the ingredients, describe the flavor, and let the reader's imagination do the rest.
Strikingly has the right set of tools for you to achieve this. Just make sure to add a gallery, select high-quality images, and provide accurate yet engaging menu descriptions
Leverage Responsive Design on Mobile
60% of local searches are conducted using mobile devices, so you want to make sure that your website is mobile responsive.
If you're unsure of how to do this, don't fret. Strikingly is already integrated with tools that will allow your restaurant website to render across different types of mobile devices.
Another thing to remember is to add Call to Action buttons such as a "Call Now" option and an interactive map.
Let Customers Know Where to Find You
Restaurant websites bridge your business to the right customers. A restaurant website is not only great for establishing an online presence but is also a fantastic way to communicate with potential customers.
Image taken from Strikingly user website
Let your customers know where and how to get to your restaurant by adding necessary details about your address and contact information.
One of the best restaurant website examples we could find is this website by Flew the Coop. By simply scrolling to the bottom of their restaurant website, you can get access to a large, well-detailed map that points to their location.
When creating restaurant menu websites, it’s important to keep visitors in mind. What do they expect to find on your site? Different kinds of visitors will want different things.
Old patrons will probably want a phone number or email address for reservations. People from out of town may want to have a look at your menu or a map of your location.
These items should be visible on your site. Don’t make users guess how to contact you and don’t force them to go to other sites - review sites for instance - to search for your menu.
Establish a Feeling of Trust with Reviews and Press Partnerships
If you're lucky enough to be featured in different magazines or other media, then you can add these accomplishments to your restaurant website.
Image taken from Strikingly users website
Media coverage awards your restaurant website with a sense of authority and credibility.
You can also show off your restaurant and include positive reviews and feedback from customers on your website. You can add a function to your site that enables users to review and rate your restaurant and service.
When you run a food business, your online reputation depends on the reviews and feedbacks made about your establishment on social networks and review sites. You don’t have much control over the content and all you can do is leverage this feedback in one way or another.
If you want to go the extra mile, another idea is to create a hashtag for your followers to use so you can add an HTML embed for a third-party social stream on your restaurant website builder so you can stream contributions from your followers on your website.
Add Links to Your Social Media Accounts
Take advantage of the powers of social media for advertising and promotion.
Social media presence is important for any type of business. Word of mouth advertising through loyal patrons can boost your business.
Make sure that your website has active links to your social media pages. This makes it easy for visitors to find your website on social networks.
You can also add a social feed section to your restaurant web template so you can display your latest Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts on your site. Just make sure that you constantly update your social media channels.
Prioritize High-Impact Content
Restaurant website design ideas are useless without high-impact content.
The average person spends about 8 seconds on a given webpage. This is how much time you have to convince your visitor to stick around long enough to invite him to make a reservation at your restaurant.
Lead with a punchy headline and engaging imagery. Strikingly’s restaurant website templates support video backgrounds as well.
You can shoot a video of your restaurant premises or sweeping shots of the food that you serve to whet your visitor’s appetite.
You can also make high-impact content by adding stories or a blog section on your website. You can write stories about new cuisine trends or modern approaches and twists to traditional food. You can even feature special dishes or interview well-known personalities to give variety to your content.
Your blogs don't have to take up much space on your site. If you want, you can add articles on a weekly or even a monthly basis. Blogs are a great way to establish authority on the internet and could increase traffic if you apply SEO practices.
Creating a Restaurant Website With Strikingly
Image taken from Strikingly product
Now that you are aware of the best practices when developing a restaurant website, you can head onto Strikingly, create your account, and start creating your website.
You can create different designs and layouts using Strikingly templates and tweak them according to your preferences. Strikingly tools and features are also very easy to learn, allowing you to complete your website in just a couple of minutes.
A restaurant website is that one space on the web over which you have a great deal of control. When done right, it can create a good first impression to potential patrons and be a reliable tool in promoting your business online.
How do you ensure your site is effective at attracting potential customers? Now that you've learned about the best design practices for restaurant websites, all you have to do is revisit your objectives as a business and apply that to give visitors of your restaurant website a 5-star experience.