Why Your Restaurant Needs a Beautiful Website
My Restaurant Needs A beautiful Website?
When’s the last time a friend described a restaurant that sounded so delicious, you wanted to eat there? Your friend highly recommends eating there and you’re up for it.
So, you take to Google, read a few reviews and make your way to the restaurant’s official site to set up a reservation. Next, you discover, not only are you not given the option to make reservations online, but the menu won’t load and there is no way to place an order online. Not to mention, there’s misspellings and misinformation such as wrong hours – littered throughout the site.
Today, merely telling someone that a place is ‘excellent’ isn’t enough. Diners now go above and beyond, researching daily specials, ingredients, reservations, location, menu and even forms of payment accepted.
This is where restaurant website builders come into play, and can assist in building and managing many of these aspects of a beautiful restaurant website. From menu design to reservation management, top website builders such as Wix and Squarespace offer endless features for restaurant owners.
Below, we’ll offer a few reasons why maintaining a visually appealing yet functional website is crucial to your restaurant and explain how you can create such a site with the help of a restaurant website builder.
The Angry Food Critic
Case in point: A famous food critic is in the area, heard through the grapevine that your establishment had some of the best Southern cooking on the planet. The critic just can’t seem to find any information about your menu, how to make reservations, or your site is just unresponsive.
The critic may grow frustrated thanks to your poorly-designed website with limited functionality. This may lead to a review (but one that includes negative aspects of the experience), or the critic may elect not to write at all. This could mean the difference between sales and brand recognition skyrocketing or massively plummeting.
Wix actually has an app built into its system that allows restaurant owners to accept and manage reservations. This native tool can prove to be invaluable in many cases where a large influx of reservations come in or sudden cancellations or no-shows occur. Squarespace, on the other hand, offers integrations with the popular OpenTable app.
Wix and Squarespace both offer solutions for designing your menu via their editors, which are already mobile optimized and SEO-friendly. Weebly also offers integration with the OpenMenu app. Restaurant owners can even display menus on Facebook or Foursquare and promote seasonal menu or special dishes.
The Would’ve Been Customer
You may also limit yourself to the customers you reach. For instance, last year, over 60 percent of web-based searches occurred on a mobile device. This means, if your site is mobile optimized, you’ll already increase your chances of being displayed in organic search results when someone searches your restaurant.
If someone is performing a mobile search, they are more-than-likely already on the go, and ready to have a nice meal. The vast majority of website builders currently on the market offer mobile responsive templates. And, depending on the kind of restaurant builder you pick, you can gain access to advanced optimization features that contribute to easier searchability.
As a restaurant owner, you should also understand the importance of local search results, which occur, for example, when someone uses their mobile phone to perform a search for ‘the best restaurants’ in a specific location such as a town or city.
For this, you can turn to ‘Google My Business,’ a tool designed by Google to bring searchers more informative localized results. This feature by Google allows you to share latest news and specials, as well as respond directly to customers and their reviews of your restaurant and gain insights into key metrics of your site using the ‘Insights’ feature which lets you explore:
- How customers interact with your restaurant
- How they found your restaurant
- Where they are located
Organic search results do, however, extend beyond that of local searches, which should also be considered. Even ask yourself, what tools do website builders offer for SEO optimization purposes?
Wix offers the ability to manage page settings like title tags, meta descriptions, create a unique URL and to preview the page’s Google results page snippet. Squarespace has similar editing capabilities, offering sitemap generation, SSL Certificates, image tags, 301 as well as 302 redirects of old pages.
Poor-Quality Menu Images
In the case of your restaurant’s website, it is important to also note that customers will likely not want to eat at a restaurant that has images of food which appear to be dated. Potential customers do however want to see (even if it is not professional photography, good presentation of food) and high-resolution images at best. In this instance, blurry cellphone images just won’t cut it.
Although a great feature to have, stock images just won’t do the trick either if you’re trying to attract a crowd of foodies, as they will likely be able to tell if the images are authentic or not upon receiving their food. Not only is it misleading, but you want customers to see just how delicious your actual food is, not a photoshopped version of an illustrated filet mignon.
In terms of options for making your cuisine look its best on the web, you do have a few options. First, you can hire a professional photographer, which will cost the most, second, use free photo-editing tools such as Canva or Adobe Photoshop Express, or use a lighting box to take stunning and professional-looking photos of your food without the expense of hiring a photographer.
A lighting box is a simple white box that allows you to take photos of one or more product (even food) and showcase against a uniform white background. This small element alone can create a different dynamic for your restaurant.
Use a Restaurant Website Builder
If you aren’t convinced yet, here are more website creation features you can access through a restaurant website builder: restaurant owners can set up email marketing campaigns, enable third-party reviews as well as comments, and add contact forms to collect more subscribers. Users can also access advanced SEO tools, depending on the restaurant builder they choose. Another great feature is the ability to monitor stats such as traffic, the ability to build, view, share and register for upcoming events.
You can use restaurant website builders to create social buzz, by enabling certain functions like social media like buttons, website pop-ups and more to appear on your website, when you use a restaurant website builder. Most site builders also offer eCommerce functionality and management, enabling you to sell non-perishable food items such as sauces.
The tools listed above can assist in optimization and refining content, search results and more. We encourage you try a combination of these tips and let us know what works for you on our Facebook and Twitter.
In the meantime, good luck with implementing some or all of our suggestions into your business model and we’re wishing you good eats, as well as increased sales along the way. Are you ready to start building your stunning new restaurant website? View the top restaurant website builders.