Your website must address three elements: food, ambiance and service.
Working for an SEO company has its own perks. From mom-and-pop shops to huge multinational corporations, you get to work for all types of clients. And if you're lucky enough, you get to work for a restaurant business. Think of all the free food you could get!
Having worked with many restaurants (and eaten so much free food), I have realized that a restaurant website is a different animal, and that's why it needs to be tamed differently. A visitor landing on your restaurant's website primarily wants to know three things: What is the food like? What is the ambiance? What kind of service can I expect?
The question you need to ask yourself is, "How can I convey to visitors these elements?" Your website will either entice customers, or it will repel them.
Editor's note: Looking for the right website design service for your restaurant? Fill out the below questionnaire to be connected with vendors that can help.
1. Nobody likes noisy restaurants.
In a restaurant, we want a place where one can sit peacefully, talk to our loved ones and enjoy the meal. But nobody likes it if the area is too crowded and loud. Well, the same goes for the restaurant websites.
Your website design doesn't need to be extravagant. There was a time when flashy images, animation and sounds were trendy. Not anymore.
As far as your website background color is concerned, it shouldn't be a bright and noisy color, such as red or orange. This is because a customer subconsciously judges your restaurant by your website. The more neutral the shade, the better it is for everyone. Select a cheerful color that makes a customer feel comfortable and is soothing to look at.
Another thing that you need to keep in mind is that people don't read these days, they scan. When a user visits your website, they don't want to be bombarded by text. Therefore, make sure the information can be quickly scanned. And if a visitor wants more information about a menu item, they can learn more, if they want to.
2. Serve them well, serve them quickly.
So you've managed to land a person on your website, thanks to your SEO, SEM, social media or any other type of marketing. How can you convert this person into a customer? The answer is simple: Serve them what they want.
Whether it's a traveler exploring a new city, someone wanting to try a new restaurant or a returning customer, they all want to see what food you're serving.
Create a virtual menu on your home page that gives the customers all the information they could be looking for. Include photos, descriptions of the food items and, of course, prices. The more information a customer has, the more likely they are to walk through your doors. And that's always a good thing, isn't it?
3. Make your site mobile friendly.
It's 2018, and if your website isn't mobile friendly, you're doomed. Eighty percent of local searches are done using mobile devices. And do you know which industry is the most searched one? Yes, you're right – it's the restaurant industry.
Therefore, mobile devices must be your priority when designing your website.
4. Use high-quality photos.
Your restaurant is being judged by your website. And customers are deciding whether they want to visit you based on your food, ambiance and service. So, how can you entice them just by looking at your website? The answer is high-quality photography.
Our brains are wired in such a way that they're more efficient in processing visual content more so than text. A picture of people sharing smiles and sharing delicious food can do what a thousand words can't.
But be judicious when using photos as they're compelling psychological tools. If a picture is not good for whatever reason, it could leave a very wrong impression in the customers' minds. That is why you should hire a professional photographer who knows a thing or two about food photography.
5. How can customers find your restaurant?
Ultimately, you want customers to come to your restaurant and have a great time. And to do that, you need to post your location. Keep in mind that not all customers are familiar with the roads, streets and landmarks in your area. Some might be visiting the city for the first time. Therefore, integrate mapping and geolocation tools into your website.
6. Try this dish.
When was the last time you tried a new dish or a new restaurant just because someone suggested it? It must be pretty recent. When it comes to food and restaurants, we're heavily reliant on other people's opinions and reviews. The question for you then is how can you leverage the power of word of mouth to achieve the results you want. The answer, as you could have guessed, is social media.
Most consumers read reviews before making a decision. You, therefore, need an active social media content marketing strategy to get your customers to write about their experience. You can also persuade your customers to give reviews by giving them discounts for their feedback.
After you've collected consumer review, your job is to present the best reviews in a hugely noticeable way on your site. The best way to leverage those reviews is to combine them with captivating photos. The impact generated by the combination of both the review and a captivating photo can give you results beyond your expectations.