A great restaurant website lets you tap into online orders, delivery, and catering revenue – all things that support your bottom line. It’s an important tool in your overall marketing strategy to gain visibility and stand out against your competitors. And, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to build a restaurant website that supports your needs. Follow a few best practices to use your website to attract new customers, and the profits will follow. Here are six features every successful restaurant website needs.
1. Contact Information
Customers visit restaurant websites to learn basic information like your address, phone number, and hours. So, make sure your basic contact information is easy to find at the top of your page. If visitors need to scroll too much or jump to a new page, they may not find what they’re looking for. Link your address to Google Maps and make sure your phone number is clickable for mobile users to help convert website traffic into real customers and revenue.
2. Menu and Prices
People often browse menus online before deciding where to eat or order catering. So place your menu in a prominent location on your site and include prices. If you can, display it as its own page, and not as a PDF download. According to Dan Locke, Marketing Strategy Director at ezCater, customers can become flustered with the extra steps. If your menu changes often, this will require some maintenance. But with a current menu and prices on your site, you set the right expectations for current customers. Don’t forget to also show off your menu with great photos and video of your dishes.
3. Online Ordering, Delivery, and Catering
Eighty-six percent of customers use off-premises services monthly, and nearly a third of business catering customers order catering weekly. And your website offers ample opportunities to tap into more off-premises sales. So if you offer online ordering, delivery, and catering, display that information prominently on your home page. Provide a great ordering experience by making things simple for your customers: it should be clear if delivery is handled in-house or by a third-party app, and, if possible, try to provide accurate lead times to set realistic expectations. Consider leveraging a solution like ezOrdering to add a link to your website, for a free and efficient way for your customers to place catering orders 24/7.
4. Social Media Call-outs
People love looking at food photos on social media. Are you sharing yours on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter? If so, it’s a restaurant website best practice to ensure your social media call-outs are easy to find. Considering that 75 percent of people purchased a product because they saw it on social media, this channel may be a great way for you to boost brand awareness and win new business. Leveraging social media is also a way to engage with your customers and encourage them to share your pictures and posts.
5. Newsletter and Blog
Create content like blog posts or an email newsletter to update customers on what’s happening at your restaurant. Whether you show off your menu specials or recent press, new content is a great way to keep your brand top of mind. Plus, when someone signs up to receive your newsletter, you now have their email address and other contact information to use for future promotions. “Anything that’s going to allow you to market to your customers and potential customers is going to help your business – revenue trumps everything else,” Dan Locke says.
6. Mobile Optimization
Mobile traffic is growing, and more searches are done on smartphones, according to Dan Locke. This means that “a website has to be mobile optimized to look good on the small screen of a phone,” he says. According to the National Restaurant Association, 79 percent of customers said they placed an order on a restaurant website or app within the last year. Additionally, many website builders, like Squarespace, Wix, Bentobox, and Let’s Eat!, automatically optimize for mobile. Make sure it’s easy as possible for your customers to access your website, and hopefully place orders.
Creating a new website or updating an old one may seem daunting. But you don’t need a big budget to build a site that will have a big impact. By following these six restaurant website best practices, you’ll be well on your way to gaining greater visibility and attracting new customers and revenue.