Designing a website for one business type like restaurants needs to be different to other business areas – although the basics will be the same, there will be unique changes and extras to make it function and appear correctly for that type of business.

I’ve recently been involved in restaurant website design, and fine-tuned some core factors – whether you’re tackling it yourself or you’re instructing a website designer, you need a tick list to make sure you don’t miss anything out.   So here are 12 (and a half) points to consider for the restaurant trade, whether high-end restaurants, bistros and cafes, or take-aways. They’re the same principles no matter what the size or type of restaurant business is, for example a small family business, or individual sandwich man, or corporate where you have a franchise and the ability to shape your own business and restaurant website design. 

To be pedantic, the last point is actually only half a point really, as it is more to do with how the website is operated afterwards rather than designed at the beginning – this is often a classic mistake where people assume that both the marketing and then operation of a website is the same as the initial design.

Restaurant Website Design Important Factors

OK, so here’s a quick summary of these 12 (and a half) points (Contact Me for a full report on these):

1. The Purpose – sounds too obvious to be true, but you need to be clear what you’re trying to achieve right from the start as this will shape what you do. So as an example, is the focus on an impressive website with lots of information about the food and service designed for existing customers, or does it need to be short-and-sweater to attract people looking for somewhere to eat on the internet

2. Your Website Name – again an obvious one as this will need to match your restaurant name, but you may want to deliberately keep the actual URL more genetic to attract the sort of phrases people are actually searching for online, for example

3. Hosting – this used to be a big expensive issue, but is now easier and cheaper, therefore make sure you don’t get fleeced – it should be easy to access, have features such as webmail accounts, and be able to cope with uploaded files like images and menus.

4. The Main Software Ingredient – the type of basic website design software is key. Years ago it used to be complicated bespoke software and ‘code’, whereas now you can actually use template and CMS-based systems. Ones to be wary of are those online or through software where you ‘design’ yourself as they can be quite restrictive both in the original design and on-going use.

5. Colour & Design – an important one in that it needs to match whatever logo or design your business already has, but an important factor is to also keep the restaurant website design as simple and plain as possible and let the writing and pictures do all the work to impress.

6.  Pictures & Images – they say a picture says a thousand words, and will really add something, whether real-life images of happy customers and a spotless-restaurant area, or special logos and images by a website graphic designer (a lot of the larger pub-chains are using these effectively on offers now)

7. Writing & Copy – you not only need to get the important information on the website, but more attractive wording or ‘copy’ to help sell your service, which includes layout changes such as titles and use of quotes and snippets of information.

8. Testimonials – to add as much feedback a possible from happy customers, whether it’s a short written quote or full paragraph, and ideally with a picture and their name to make authentic.

9. Menu & Services – some easy way to get to the bottom-line of what you serve, maybe even a quick download-PDF menu.

10. Regular Updates – the name of the game is to keep things fresh with maybe latest news and offers on to keep people interested.

11. Customer Interaction – mainly through Social Media, people like to interact, whether it’s liking or sharing or tweeting, or being able to leave reviews and comments on the website (links with the testimonials point above)

12. Video – becoming more important nowadays, a quick promo-video can help communicate something much better than written text.

12.5. The Stats (half) – not really a whole point because you can easily add the ‘code’ for stats on your websites nowadays; it’s the use of them afterwards which really counts as you can easily track what the bottom-line results are.  

We’ve also just created a product called ‘Out-The-Box Restaurant Website’Click Here to see more details. The idea is to help people who want to miss out the traditional website-design process and have something created that they can shape and design themselves within minutes not weeks. This will help save time, money, and general fathing-around with restaurant web site design – again Click here for more details.