Restaurants have always relied heavily on word-of-mouth to keep a steady stream of hungry customers. In the digital age, word-of-mouth has suddenly become word-of-Internet, with the almighty Google churning up the most popular restaurants for people seeking a good meal. To gain popularity online, your website’s appearance needs to pique searchers’ interests. Smart restaurant web design is key to winning the search rankings game and convincing browsers try your place.
A lot of restaurants and franchises are required to run their website on a specific limiting CMS platform that only lets you do so much and don’t optimize very well for maximum organic traffic. It is a wise move to fully customize your website to maximize its performance in the market. Restaurants can utilize their websites for online orders, menu updates, weekly specials, and much more. Once you have the site live, work on local SEO to maximize “near me” visibility in which the search crawlers line up your name / address / phone number / URL across the entire web.
Key Ingredients for Restaurant Web Design.
At ACS Creative Services, we’ve had the pleasure of creating powerful Internet brands for many of Baltimore, Charleston and Washington D.C. local eateries. Two of these were even featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives—a huge boon for them. We’ve become particularly adept at restaurant website design geared toward the restaurant industry, and helping restaurant owners lure customers with an online presence that whets their appetites.
Below are a few insights into what makes restaurant website design successful.
restaurant website design.1. Imagery can make or break your
It cannot be stressed enough that high quality images of your signature dishes go a long way toward promoting your restaurant online. The premise here is simple: If the food looks good, people will want to try it. Take this website we created for Coyote Grille.
The steak is front and center by design—and it looks mighty tasty. It’s flanked by perfectly cooked shrimp and vibrant greens. The headline reinforces the idea that the food here is great. Then the location right below sends you grabbing for your keys and out to dinner. This site doesn’t rely heavily on images. In fact, there are only three—but they are three good ones. If you can’t afford a whole lot of professional food photography, then get one amazing shot of your best dish. A good web designer will know how to maximize that image. That’s essentially what we did for the Coyote Grille.
2. Your site should feel like your restaurant.
A hopping, casual diner should have a website with complementary colors and type. Likewise, the most romantic steakhouse in Washington DC requires a website that evokes the same ambiance. Take The Prime Rib’s site. The dramatic use of black and silver perfectly evokes the experience of sharing an exquisite filet mignon and rich cabernet with your loved one. Color is reserved for the food images only in order to highlight the excellent preparation of the dishes. Consumers who visit this site quickly understand the kind of restaurant it is—which is exactly what you want from your restaurant website.
3. Tout your accolades.
If Guy Fieri and Vice President Biden think your diner is the bomb, then that should be duly noted right on the homepage. We took of advantage of Metro 29’s notoriety by putting pictures of Vice President Biden and Guy Fieri up front and center—along with a series of food images that will make your mouth water. The Guy Fieri callout links to video from the episode—so you can hear all the great things Guy has to say about Metro 29. And because it is such a popular place, we added a news section that features a gallery of famous patrons. Consumers like to go where the famous go. Metro 29’s restaurant’s website lets everyone know it’s got the stamp of approval from some pretty hefty palates. Check it out here.
4. If you have a story, share it.
The owners of The Tortilla Café have been running successful businesses since 1983—as a family. Consumers love personal interest stories. They love to help family businesses. If this is part of your story as well, then your restaurant web design should reflect that. On The Tortilla café website, the tab for Our Story is second, and the blurb includes pictures of the owners. This creates an intimate portrait that brings readers into their lives—and into their restaurants. When you add a very appealing and vibrant design that maximizes the color yellow to hint at the cultural fare, you’ve hit a homerun. Throw in Guy Fieri (The Tortilla Café was also featured on his show) and you’ve got a grand slam.
5. Make your restaurant website easy to navigate.
This is true of all websites, but especially important for restaurants. People searching for a place to eat online want to understand what kind of restaurant your have, what you serve and where you are. These things should be immediately clear. Good restaurant website design is delicious images and great content, but it is also more than that. Great restaurant design should create a culinary journey that starts with your best dish and ends at your best table.
Transform your restaurant website design into a powerful, customer-luring tool. Make a reservation with ACS Creative Services.