Restaurant owners are often overwhelmed with the stresses of opening their own place that they lapse when it comes to building a website and a digital presence for their new eatery. While there are plenty of easy-to-use website building platforms out there, including those made specifically for restaurants, you still need to make sure that you’re doing your customers a service when building a website.
From looking at pictures of the food you serve to checking out the menu in advance, people will research your restaurant online to make sure it’s worth their time and money. If your website isn’t easy to use or filled with the right information, you could be missing out on a huge business opportunity. Make sure your restaurant’s website has the following essentials:
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. If they’re checking out your restaurant’s website, it probably means they’re looking for a place to eat. That means there’s a good chance that they’re out and about, instead of sitting at home researching restaurants on their desktop computer. Maybe they just checked into their hotel, or they’re exploring the city with their friends. Mobile web traffic now accounts for 51.2% of all global internet traffic, and those percentages are even higher in Asia. This means your website needs to be mobile-friendly, so customers can access a version of your website that’s designed for mobile devices like a smartphone or tablet.
Show Off the Goods
When potential patrons visit your website, they’re looking to get as much information as possible. One way to give people information about your restaurant is to show them what they can expect when they show up in person. That can include all kinds of visual media such as:
- Images of the food
- Images or videos of the space and atmosphere
- Videos of your chef preparing the food
- Images of guests enjoying the space
- Images or videos of private events or parties
- 360 virtual tour of the premises
Adding this media will help you make a strong impression on potential consumers. No one wants to read about your recipe for roasted duck. They want to see a stunning high-resolution image of your roasted duck. Videos can also help your restaurant stand out online. Video helps persuade 73% of people to buy a product or a service. You can give people a realistic look at how it feels to eat in your restaurant just by uploading a short video.
Restaurants are local businesses, after all. If someone is interested in reserving a table or placing an order at your restaurant, there’s a good chance they’re on the move and heading towards your location. In fact, 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours. This means that your customers will need to know how to find and/or contact your restaurant, so you’ll need to include the following information:
- Phone number or email address
- Hours of operation
- Link to Google map location
- Reserve button
- And even directions
Anyone will need access to this information if they plan on visiting your restaurant. If they can’t contact you or find you on the map, they’re probably not going to stop by any time soon. Remember that 44% of website visitors will leave a company's website if there's no contact information or phone number.
You can also add an FAQ or frequently asked questions section to your website. People will tend to have the same questions about your restaurant, so you can do them a favour by listing some additional information online. Here are just some of the questions your customers might have:
- Do you take reservations?
- Is your restaurant good for families with small children?
- Do you host private events?
- Do you have vegan or vegetarian options?
- Do you have parking?
- Do you have live music?
- Are you Halal?
- Full bar?
Answering these questions tells the customer that you care about their questions and concerns. They will have all the information they need to make a reservation or come in for a visit.
Turn Off the Autoplay
Some restaurants or clubs will try to get their customer’s blood pumping by automatically playing loud music or videos as soon as the person clicks on their website. But autoplay videos and music can do your website more harm than good. Remember that not all of your visitors will be looking for the same thing. Some will be looking for the most basic information about your restaurant like your address of hours of operation, so a video might be more annoying than useful. Others will be looking to make a reservation as quickly as possible, so they won’t be interested in watching the video.
If someone does land on your website looking for a general overview of your restaurant, they might decide to watch the video, but it helps to give them a choice. You don’t want your main interaction with a customer to be them watching a video; you want them to come in and order some food. So, while video can be helpful when it comes to engaging new customers, it’s best to turn off the autoplay, so everyone won’t be subject to the same experience online.
Autoplay videos can negatively affect your website in other ways too, such as increasing load time and distracting the customer from their original intent. One website got rid of its autoplay to see:
- 53% increase in organic traffic to the homepage
- 7% increase in sign-ups
- 4% improvement in exit rate
Fast Load Time
The amount of time it takes your website to load is crucial when trying to win over new customers. People simply aren’t patient when it comes to waiting around for content on their phone or computer. You need to do everything you can to improve the speed of your website to make sure your customers can find what they need as fast as possible. When measuring your load time, keep this rule in mind:
A single second delay in your website loading time can result in a 7% loss in conversion, and 40% of web users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
Keep It Simple and Practical
Overall, it’s best to keep your restaurant website simple and practical. You should have a navigation bar with clearly-labelled categories that helps your viewers find what they’re looking for such as:
- Location and contact information
- Information about additional services such as catering or private events
Most of your customers will be looking for the same information, including what food you serve, how to contact you, and whether you offer any additional services. You don’t need an overly complicated website just to give your visitors some basic information. Your customers will be grateful that you didn’t waste their time with lots of useless information or a poorly-designed interface. Just tell them what they want to know, and you should see more customers coming through the door before you know it.
If you need help designing a website for your restaurant, contact the professionals at Blue Beetle and be sure to ask about our new digital menu solution called Redro. We have the tools you need to take your restaurant’s website to the next level.