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A great restaurant website is your digital handshake with the world. When customers are considering any purchase, they are going online to check their options. Your website is the place to display your brand and make your first impression. Remember, first impressions last! Always keep your website up to date.

What makes a great restaurant website?

First, it will instantly convey the brand you’ve built so thoughtfully. It’s your restaurant’s personality, and the viewer needs to understand it within just a few seconds of finding your site. You are appealing to their emotions – Does the look and feel of the site match the ambiance they are searching for?

If not, that’s ok. You can’t be everything to everybody. If they are searching for a place for discounted beers for happy hour, and you don’t serve alcoholic beverages, it won’t be a fit this time. But, if you convey your brand and offerings accurately in those first few seconds, you’re setting the right expectations. Ultimately, this leads to the right customers coming in, those that want your offerings. And that’s the goal of a great restaurant website.

A restaurant website’s most visited pages are the menus. Anytime you have a menu update, whether offerings or prices, you need to update your website, too. The home page of your site is equally important, and here you have the opportunity to lead the viewer to take action. Engaging the viewer to take action when they land on your website gives you the opportunity to nurture them into becoming a loyal customer.

Consider these elements to create a great restaurant website:

Logo: Your branded logo is an instant engagement with the potential customer. If it evokes positive emotion with them, they will want to check out your establishment.

Photography: Perhaps the best way to entice someone to get themselves to your restaurant is by showing mouth-watering photographs of your offerings. Find a photographer whose work you admire on other restaurants’ websites and invest in their services.

Email Sign-Up: When someone gives you a direct line to their inbox, this is a huge win! They want to hear from you via email – Entice them to sign up on your homepage with an attention-grabbing box offering your magnet. Example: Sign up for a free appetizer on your next visit. Click here to take the free video course and see how this is a win-win for you and your customer.

Social Media Buttons: A quick click to like you on Facebook, Instagram, or any of the social channels you actively use. Note – if you aren’t using a channel, that button has no business being on your page.

Your Magnet Offer: If you have a special deal that you always offer, let people know! Happy Hour, Lunch Specials Daily, Mussel Madness, if you don’t have a magnet…develop one. This is a great way to get people to sign up for your email list – offer a magnet for free on their next visit. Click here to read about how this works to build your loyal customer base.

Order Online: If you offer this service, make it very visible on your home page.

Mobile Friendly: So many of your potential customers will be looking on their phone for your offerings – make sure your site looks great on a small screen.

Gift Cards: Instant Sale! Make it easy to buy a gift card online or over the phone!

Reservations: If you take reservations, offer the link to your online service in a prominent spot. Again, almost instant business!

Loyalty Program: If you have one, offer the sign-up option on your home page. The potential customer has an incentive to come in and start building their rewards. And you get a new customer on your email list.

Hours of Operation: Let them know when you’re open. And closed.

Location Map: So important as people search for restaurants ‘near me’ – Make it easy for them to find you.

Contact Info: Physical address with zip code – make sure this matches Google exactly. If you are located on Federal Highway, and Google spells that Federal Hwy, you should, too. Your phone number with area code.

A Clear Path: Your menu bar should be very easy to navigate – Menus, Your Story, Recent Press, Other Services (Catering or Group Events), Happenings or Special Events.

Quick Action Step

How does your website stack up? Download this evaluation form and fill it in – this will show you what you’re doing well, and where you can improve to make yours a great restaurant website.

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