June 3, 2024

Upon leaving the Museum world to create and build websites, I uttered the phrase, “well if I end up designing restaurant websites, I’ll know I’ve made a huge mistake. Low and behold we’ve done more restaurant websites than I can count. As someone who started as a dishwasher and worked ever other job in the restaurant world up to ownership. As all of us know restaurant websites matter to the bottom line. 

Restaurant websites run the gamut of the great, good, bad and ugly. Currently, they come in four general sauces used to create the dish and some thoughts:

SELF-BUILT – a perfectly acceptable solution for starting your build. Here is a comparative review.
PROS – Quick & Cheap
CONS – Takes you away from core responsibilities, depending on technical skill can be frustrating, support varies & not unique

– Unique Design, Optimized for SEO, Collaborative, Support Available
CONS – Cost Money, Hiring Bad Company Potential

PROS – Unique Design, Message Alignment
CONS – Development Usually Outsourced, Support Times Can Lag

PROS –  Ease of Accounting, Gift Card Integration, Sometimes Integrates Reservations, Can Integrate Loyalty Programs
CONS – Templates, Little Control, Often Bad Designs

No matter which journey you choose here are some generalized points that will make your site more effective for user experience.

Goals: Despite what I’m going to say, 27% of restaurants still don’t have or maintain a separate website. Maybe you are the only restaurant in a small town, perhaps you’ve been around forever and can rely solely on your reputation. In fact one of my favorite local joints didn’t until last year. If you stubbornly choose this route make sure you register as a business on google and leverage social media to keep in touch with your customers and communicate changes and special events.

However if are going to join the other 73% of restaurants that have and maintain a dedicated website then here are some dos:

Your home page should easily provide a phone number, address, links to menus and hours. People want to be able to call and say they are running late or forgot your address. Don’t bury those on “contact” or “visit” pages. Make sure this front and center so it cannot be missed. Use good photography, people judge places based XXX on it. It’s food not a novel so keep your text to a minimum.