Here at Torx, we love to eat. We love checking out new places in Richmond and are always taking recommendations for lunch spots. In all that exploring, we’ve seen some restaurant websites that could use some extra love. So we thought we’d discuss some important things restaurant websites should be thinking about in order to make their sites are as usable and engaging as possible.
What are most people wanting to do when they come to your restaurant? Eat, of course! Make sure it’s easy for them to know what their food options are when they go to your website. Make sure your website has a designated place for your menu, and not just a PDF copy! PDF menus aren’t user-friendly, so try to avoid using them. Also make sure your menu gets updated, especially if you change menus frequently or have seasonal menus. Asking people to go to your social media accounts to see a current menu isn’t the best user experience either.
Let’s imagine someone hears about your restaurant from a friend, checks out the menu and decides they really want to go. So they try and check your hours to see if they can come by today, and whoops your hours aren’t on your site. So they give up and decide to go somewhere else. Avoid this scenario by clearly posting your hours on your site! If your hours vary, make sure each day’s hours are listed accurately, and double-check that they’re also correct on Google since so many people will see them on your restaurant’s listing.
When someone is thinking about visiting your restaurant, they may check out the menu on the site and be on the fence about visiting. But if they see pictures of the food they could order, that might push them over the edge and get them in the door. Make sure to use good quality pictures of your food and find ways to include them throughout your site. Having pictures of people on your site is good, and having pictures of your food is great, but depicting people enjoying your food is really the best.
If you want people to come, they need to know where to show up. If you have multiple locations, make sure that information is clear and that all relevant information associated with each location is correct. If someone shows up to a restaurant and realizes they went to the wrong location, or they didn’t realize there was closer location, they’re going to have a bad time. With special settings you can have your website display the location closest to the user, or you can allow the user select or change which location they want.
Events can be a great way to bring in repeat customers, and providing fun experiences can encourage visitors to come back. Maybe you do happy hours during the week, or maybe you hold special seasonal events that you want to promote. Whatever you do, make sure your site draws attention to your events so visitors can learn about it. If any of these events require tickets, make the user experience less cumbersome by enabling visitors to purchase those through your site as well.
We hope these restaurant-website specific pointers will help owners and managers identify areas of their website that could use a little bit more love. Having a great-looking and easy-to-use website is important for all businesses, not just restaurants. But if your restaurant serves fantastic food, it deserves a pretty great website, too.