Dine ‘Em & Design ‘Em

Food and design go together like, well, spaghetti and meatballs.

When designing a restaurant’s website it is important to entice. Whether it is fresh, stylish or familiar, every detail in a food related web design, from typography to photographs, is used to convey a certain atmosphere and suggest the taste of food to the viewer.

There are a million restaurants out there, and all of them have websites. Like chefs and food, it is important to stand out among the crowd, because most of us are one click away from throwing in the towel and ordering a pizza instead.

A good layout is a basic necessity in any business website and restaurants are no exception. Effective restaurant web design is not only beautiful, but useful and must allow its customers to view beautiful menus, find a location, make a reservation, and place orders, and not only the desktop experience, but mobile as well.

Important things to consider when creating a new restaurant site:

  1. Updates have to be a piece of cake (for the restaurant and the customer)! Menus, updated specials, and events such as guest chefs, holiday feasts, catering and community fundraisers. Make sure your web company understands this and makes updates possible through a simple to use backend. Ensure that training materials are provided so that anyone on your staff can make changes.
  2. Make the location, hours and phone number immediately available, as many of your visitors are headed your way and need your contact details.
  3. Your location shots and food photos need to be professionally done. While it is always easiest to try to shoot it yourself or have one of your kids’ friends do it, there is a big difference between a professional photographer and a person with a nice camera. From lighting to angle, a professional has the tools and experience to elevate your space and food.Use your social media channels to find a local photographer, check their portfolio (specifically food and location shots) and then discuss your needs.We recommend an inviting shot through your front door, what they will see when they get to your reception area, bar (if you have one) and of course the food. Also, make sure to have people in the restaurant when you shoot these; nothing sends a worse message than photos of an empty space.
  4. Keep your menus, hours of operation and event listings up to date. Many people love knowing what they are going to order before they sit down.
  5. Have a special menu? Holiday menus are common, and almost every city has a restaurant week. These menus are especially important to have online as there is a limited window in which people will be interested in them, so if you don’t have them on your site, they will most likely not bother to pick up the phone and move on to the next restaurant.
  6. Include a page that highlights your other offerings like event spaces, catering, or merchandise.
  7. Allow for an easy online reservations system or contact form, ala OpenTable , Rezovation, Seat Me, etc.
  8. Social Media Reviews and Feed Updates – Everyone loves finding out what others are enjoying at your restaurant, so let them sell you. Have a system that allows you to share their social media posts on your site. This will provide more credibility than a random testimonial and also draw attention to your Social Media channels.
  9. Create a connection on Yelp. When finding new places to eat, Yelp is often the first stepping stone. And, in the world of reviews, Yelp is a mainstay. Keep your profile active and respond accordingly to reviews.
  10. Make sure your Google Maps listing is up to date and is allowed to index your menu pages. If it is done properly, Google will display your menu in it’s search listings.
  11. Wrap everything up with Google Analytics. It is important to keep track and study volume of website traffic. If your traffic is going to your location page 90% of the time, then make sure the navigation is reflective of that. If the specials is the most viewed, then make sure you keep them up to date.

Food is a constantly evolving artform. The most innovative restaurateurs are constantly changing things up.

From NYC to SF, fine dining establishments to casual eateries, we are always sharpening our design and development chops to serve up some incredibly tasty sites like by Chloe, El Colmado, Pearl Oyster Bar, Xocolatti, and Componere Catering…just to name a few.

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