3 Essential Features Your Restaurant Website Needs to Attract More Diners

Article Photo: 3 Essential Features Your Restaurant Website Needs to Attract More Diners

The Importance of a Restaurant Website

When it comes to your restaurant website, snagging the attention of potential new customers is essential to getting your tables filled with diners. Making sure you create an inviting online presence is essential for any restaurant looking to attract new customers and keep regulars coming back for more.

Your restaurant website is often the first point of contact between your restaurant and potential diners, making it the perfect platform to showcase your atmosphere, menu offerings, and to give visitors a taste of what they can expect. Think of your restaurant website as your digital “WELCOME mat”. It creates a first impression to give users a sneak peek into the culinary sanctuary you’ve created and (hopefully) steers them to your eatery instead of to your competition.

A beautifully-designed, elegant, and user-friendly restaurant website isn’t just nice-to-have; it’s essential in carving out space within this competitive culinary landscape. So why not let such expertise elevate both kitchen creations and customer connections simultaneously? Ever had that moment where you’re craving a meal and whip out your phone to look up “restaurants near me” or maybe “best pasta in town”? Bingo—that’s where SEO comes into play, guiding those hungry patrons through the virtual door straight to your dining tables. Having an optimized restaurant website that ranks above your competition is like snagging the most coveted spot on the busiest street in your town!

In this article, I’ll expose 3 essential features your restaurant website needs (and even a few extras) in order to be successful in this digital age. Let’s dig in… shall we?

3 Essential Features of a Restaurant Website

1. Phone Number, Location, and Hours

A man in an apron standing in front of a glass door, representing the ambiance of a restaurant website.

While you would think that this is the most basic of basic… you would be surprised at how many restaurant websites actually lack this basic information. My favorite is when I am on my cell phone and try to click the phone number to call, but the number isn’t clickable. Really? It’s a simple line of code in order to make this work, but instead, I have to either find a pen and paper to write it down, or remember the number.

People… having easy-to-find information about your restaurant’s location, hours of operation, and contact details is essential for someone planning a visit to your eatery.

2. An Up-to-Date Menu

A group of people sitting at a table in a restaurant, with a tablet in their hands.

How many times have you jumped on a restaurant website, looking for their menu, only to find out there is none? Then you have to jump on Google or Yelp, hoping that someone posted a photo of the menu so you can decide what to order. Or better yet, they do have a menu on their website, but it lacks photos or descriptions of the food. Or how about when the prices are from back in 2017 and your bill ends up being double what you saw online. These are all real-world examples of issues I have personally faced when looking at some restaurant websites in my town.

If you own a restaurant and have a restaurant website… it’s safe to say that your business is food. That being said, then why wouldn’t you put 90% of your time, focus, and money on your menu page? It’s literally what makes you money. It has been said that “we feast with our eyes first”. If this is true, then why would you not serve up the most irresistible visuals and information about your entrees using high-resolution photos and mouthwatering descriptions?

  • Format your menu in a way that’s easy to read. If you have a large menu, break it down into easily-digestible sections such as: appetizers, mains, desserts, and drinks for a better user experience.
  • Consider investing in some top-notch photography instead of cell phone photos. Sure, it may cost a little more, but if visitors aren’t almost tasting your food offerings right through their screens, they may move on to the next choice on Google, potentially costing you a new customer.
  • Provide detailed descriptions of each dish, including key ingredients and flavors. Each word should further entice readers and help them make informed decisions as to why they should choose you over the restaurant down the street.
  • Be sure to include any allergy information and dietary symbols (e.g., gluten-free, vegan) to cater to customers with specific dietary requirements.
  • Keep your menu updated with current prices, new additions, seasonal offerings, and discontinued items to ensure accuracy.

3. Positive Customer Reviews

A woman holding up a smartphone displaying a five star rating for a restaurant website.

People trust other people… not you. You can say you have the “Best Tacos in Town“, but if the people reviewing your eatery online don’t agree, your business will surely suffer. The easiest way to gain customer trust is to solicit customer online reviews. It easy to do and free to setup on your own. If that’s something you don’t want to deal with, I have a fantastic review tool to do all of the work for you (mention this article and I’ll give you your first month for only $99)

Tap into the clout of online customer testimonials and rave reviews with all of your positive endorsements. It’s super easy to embed these rave reviews on your restaurant website for all to see. And since it’s reported that 97% of people read customer reviews before making a decision, by not harnessing the power of the stars… you are absolutely missing out on new customers

Next-Level Bonus Features

Want to take your restaurant website to the next level and have it stand out over and above your competition. Then here are a few extra recommendations to implement on your website:

  • Specials & Promotions: Create a section, page, or modal popup that highlights any special promotions or happy hour deals to encourage visits during off-peak times or seasons.
  • Newsletters: Provide an option for customers to sign up for newsletters so they can receive breaking information on exclusive offers, discounts, new menu items, or changes in your hours of operation.
  • Online Reservations: People love when they can roll in and have a table waiting for them. By implementing a table reservation system like OpenTable, you can dramatically increase your business.
  • Showcase Your Staff: Showcasing employees gives a personal touch to your restaurant website, allowing potential customers to see the faces behind the service and cuisine. Customers may feel more loyal to a place where they “know” the staff, fostering a sense of community. It also may attract talent as prospective employees may see the restaurant as celebrating its team, suggesting a positive work environment.

Wrapping Up

While there are many factors that make a restaurant website great, simply including clear contact info, an updated menu, and social proof of happy diners… your restaurant websites will be successful in the public eye. For a little bit more of an investment you can take your restaurant website to the next level by implementing additional tools and features to stand out above your competition.

If you are looking to build an incredible website for your restaurant, or have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I offer free design and marketing advice and am happy will help you make informed decisions about design & marketing for your business.

Thank you for reading.

Article written by Erik Allen on February 7, 2024
Erik of Erik Allen Design & Marketing wearing glasses and smiling in his office.