A restaurant website isn’t an overly complicated undertaking but as with all projects it should be taken seriously and focus on usability, quick access to key info like phone, directions and menus and should also build the brand.
When a project also allows for a mobile version of the restaurant’s website, we’re all for it. Mobile-optimized websites make for a quick and easy experience while on the go. The last thing a business owner wants is for customers to come in to their establishment after a poor mobile experience that leaves bad taste in their mouth before they even try the food!
Details make the difference and one of our personal pet peeves is having to download a pdf to read a menu. For many restaurants, it’s often not possible or it’s a complex venture to update their website’s content. However, when built correctly using a content management system, creating and updating online (html) menus is easy. While updating menus on a pdf and a website creates one more step, it’s generally something that is accomplished in less than 15 minutes during off-hours. That 15 minutes can make the difference between a ho-hum experience and one that helps to build excitement and anticipation for a dining experience.
While pdf menus leave us feeling unsatisfied, something that will really get us steaming is having to hunt for a phone number or address. All key contact and location info should always be readily available on any page. A phone number and address don’t take up too much space in a design and can be easily placed in a site’s header and footer sections. In website design we like to minimize the number of steps needed to complete a goal and if a user’s goal is to get directions to your location or order take-out, they shouldn’t have to click two or three times before they fork over their hard-earned cash.
While usability is a key factor for any website, a well-designed website also allows restaurants to build their brand much more than a simple Facebook page or Twitter account can. While Facebook and other social media are a crucial component in any online presence, a custom website design provides an experience that can’t be emulated through wall posts and tweets. Daily specials, news and photos can be lost in the constant feed of updates on social media while a website will always feature what you need it to. Websites can also set a mood and build excitement through immersive design and functionality. Customers often research restaurants prior to visits and their first stop should be a controlled experience via a well-designed website.
Again, restaurant websites aren’t a hard thing to wrap your head around so focus on doing the basics well and don’t neglect an often underestimated representation of your brand.
If you’re looking to upgrade your online presence, give us a ring at 615.521.1890. Here are a few restaurant websites we’ve worked on:
The Loveless Cafe – design & development
Music City Pizza – design & development
Etch – development