If you’re building a restaurant website or thinking of revamping your current restaurant website, here are suggestions on what to include:
Menu – If you have different options for lunch, dinner, etc., put them each on their own page. Show pictures of your most popular menu items. Post your wine list, cocktail list and/or beer list especially if you have an excellent selection. If you cater to special diets like gluten-free or you have a children’s menu, include these too. For food items with exotic names, explain what the meal is in plain English. Don’t forget to post the prices of each item.
Location – Post your address and a map to your restaurant (on CityMax.com, use the Map layout). Include information about parking like the cost of valet service or the best places to get street parking.
Hours – Post the opening hours of your restaurant. A good idea is to show this on your home page.
Reservations – List all the different ways a reservation can be made such as: phone, fax, online or via email request. For online reservations, OpenTable is the most popular third party provider for this or you can go the simple route of a fill-in-the-blanks form (on CityMax, use the Custom Feedback Form layout).
Private Dining – This section is for detailing any private rooms you have available for functions. Post photos of each room. Include a floor plan and graphics of how the room can be set up with long tables, round tables, U-shaped configurations, etc. Include the maximum number of people that fit for each seating arrangement or a stand up reception. Link to set menus that are available and your canapes/hors d’oeuvres list. Some groups may require a microphone, podium and/or video set up so if you provide these services, include pricing for them. Lastly, post contact information for arranging a private room.
Catering – Make sure to include your catering services. A price list with all menu items should be posted as well as whether delivery is available and in what area.
Twitter/Facebook – If your restaurant has an active Twitter account or Facebook page, post the logos with links to your account/page on your home page.
About the Restaurant– You may want to include some information about your restaurant history especially if it’s been around for a long time. If there are special architectural details, you may want to describe it here. It may help a potential customer who is looking for a particular ambiance to decide if your restaurant is right for their event. Make sure to include photos of the inside and outside of your restaurant.
About the Team – This section is valuable if the owners or chefs are well-known. Include a photo of each person or a group picture with a short description of each person. In particular, the chef’s culinary background should be included.
Awards, Reviews and Testimonials – Logos for awards your restaurant has won are great to post on your homepage. Have a separate page for reviews by established critics. For easier reading, include just a few sentences of each review and then link to the full article. Make sure to include who wrote the review and what newspaper, magazine or blog they represent. This increases your credibility. On another page, post testimonials by customers. You can collect testimonials through a feedback form on your site (on CityMax, use the Customer Feedback Form layout) or include a comment card when you give customers their bill.
Contact – Often, visitors to your site may be in a hurry to get a phone number, address or other contact information for your restaurant. A Contact section will speed up their time. If you have separate contact information for media inquiries, private bookings, employment opportunities, etc., post each of these too.
Optional Information – Depending on what is important to you, here’s a list of other items you can post on your site:
- gift cards
- link to your blog
- cook book
- charity work
- sustainability initiatives
- photos with famous guests to your restaurant
- events (e.g. Mother’s Day brunch)
- gallery (photos taken at your restaurant)
- take out/delivery
- job opportunities
Aside: Say “No” to Flash – A website can be designed using Adobe Flash software which is a popular way of having animated graphics on your site. It does make pages look fancy, but the reality is that you give up a lot in order to have it. iPads and iPhones will not show your pages properly. Depending on how you have set up your pages with Flash, only one page of your site may get listed on search engines. The main reason to not use Flash is your customers don’t care if there are animations on your page, they are looking for information.
The tips in this article are based on a study of 100 restaurants and my 12 years of experience in the website building industry.