Having a website available for your customers to browse your menu and make orders without having to rely on third-party apps has become a basic requirement for almost all food service businesses, but is the task of creating your own website as simple as it seems?
To build a restaurant website you’ll need to find a tool that fulfills three basic requirements: you want to create a functional and enticing website, you want to be able to analyze and improve the performance of your online platform, and you want a site that syncs well with your restaurant and your existing POS system.
Then, after your website is up and running, you’ll have to remain committed to its success. Creating a successful online platform for your business has to be sustained through regular promotion and by keeping your menu and event schedule up to date. Check out our tips on how to make a competitive site, and how to make the most of our simple and versatile website creation tool, Poster Shop.
You want your customers to have a seamless experience on your site, make sure they have all the information they could possibly want at their fingertips:
Provide all necessary contact information: Phone numbers, an address with a link to Google Maps, and even an email address for business enquiries.
Tell your customers a bit about your business and your backstory in an “About us” tab. What inspired you to open your restaurant? What makes you stand out from the crowd? This can be a good place to share your “mission”, if you created your business with ethical goals in mind.
Share information on promotions and special offers, as well as up to date estimates on delivery times, and pickup location (if different from your main venue).
Now more than ever, make sure to communicate to your clients that you’re following health and safety procedures, so that they can feel more comfortable ordering from your restaurant.
There’s no better communication than through images. Show some pictures of your venue so that your customers can get a feel for your brand. If you’re focusing on delivery, then just lean in on mouth-watering pictures of dishes!
And last but not least, don’t forget to upload links to your social media sites!
It’s key to cater to every group and demographic! While you want to have a good online delivery service up and running, don’t forget that some customers might still prefer phoning in to make their order, or even reach out to you directly through social media. So make sure to have all your bases covered!
Create a menu customers will love at first sight
Especially if you want to create a site to ramp up your delivery business, good presentation is vital:
Organize your menu efficiently, clearly divided into categories that suit your brand. For example, if you have a quick service restaurant, you might be more interested in creating product-specific categories, whereas if you offer gourmet cuisine, you can use a more traditional division of starters, main dishes, desserts...
Make sure that the ingredients for each dish are clearly listed, and that you include information about allergens, dietary requirements, etc.
Include professional photographs of your dishes to wow your customers, and make sure that these pictures give a realistic image of portion sizes.
Your menu is the centerpiece of your site, so pay special focus to this task. When you’re putting it together it’s a good time to ask yourself: in your opinion, what makes a good restaurant website? Draw inspiration from moodboards on Pinterest and by paying attention to what you like and dislike from other restaurant websites.
Win clients over with design and functionality
The most powerful way to complement an informative site and an eye-catching menu, is to create a smooth and seamless experience for customers coming to your restaurant website.
When building a restaurant website, we believe there’s no need to make your life harder poring over endless lists of free templates. At Poster we believe in making business simple, and for that, functionality is your strongest ally: That’s why we offer two powerful and highly customizable templates, Quick Service and Restaurant.
The Restaurant template allows you to create a straightforward, single-page site where you showcase your business, menu and provide information to your customers, while Quick service offers the ideal restaurant website features to set up your own online ordering service.
On top of that, if you wish to write your own CSS scripts and build your own restaurant website from scratch, Poster Shop gives you a tool that allows you to use all of your own custom scripts, so that they’ll work in perfect sync with your point of sale system!
If you want to show stunning pictures of your venue and share promotions and specials, with Poster Shop’s slider tool, you can kill two birds with one stone! You’ll be able to add images with text at the top of your page that swiftly transition every few seconds.
Offering a mobile-friendly version has become a must-have for any restaurant website worth its salt. According to research conducted by Google, up to 48% of customers report feeling frustrated and annoyed when they encounter sites that weren’t designed with mobile in mind, and nothing’s worse for business than a hangry customer.
Develop your own online ordering service
Now more than ever, you’ll want to be self-reliant and not have to waste too much money paying commissions to third party-apps. While companies like Uber Eats have taken steps to waive delivery fees for independent restaurants in the US, the commissions you’ll pay will still eat into your profit margin.
On top of which, if you’re looking to give your staff more work during the crisis, offering your own delivery service is an excellent way to keep money in your business. The best option is to not put all your eggs in one basket: Continue to work with third party services, and try to build your own solid delivery service through your website.
Keep a vigilant eye on your reports and analytics
To always stay two steps ahead of the competition, you want to have as much information at hand as possible. With Poster Shop’s streamlined reporting tool, you’ll be able to see at a glance the trends in your restaurant website statistics, as well as the volume of traffic your site is getting for any given period.
And what better way to simplify your reporting than to have it all in one place? If you’re already using Poster as your, Poster Shop will feed all of your data directly into the system, allowing you to better track stock levels, revenue and product performance, allowing you to keep your online delivery and your regular business perfectly synced.
To improve your rankings first in Google search, you should first sign up to Google my business to make your site perform better among your local competitors. Once that's done, you'll have to confront what might seem like a daunting task: you've probably heard about SEO (search engine optimization), but how should you go about leveraging these tools to boost your site's performance?
If you're searching for the perfect title for your homepage and your sub-pages, we recommend that you try out a free keyword finder resource like the Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Under Tools and Settings, you'll find their Keyword Planner tool, which allows you to target specific locations (such as your city), and find the highest performing search terms. Then, you can simply input your chosen titles and description all from the comfort of your management console.
Poster's SEO tools even allow you to optimize your product categories by creating custom titles for these pages, so that if someone is searching for "Best pizza in Houston", the pizza section in your site can boast "The best pizza in Houston at Mamma's Pizzeria"
Promote and encourage feedback
Get your social media and your website to work in tandem. You’ll want to promote your new restaurant website on your Facebook and Instagram, and moving forward, you’ll want to continue to use SM to get the word out about new promotions, discounts, or any events that you might be hosting or organizing!
In turn, encourage your customers to pour their hearts out! By linking your social media in your restaurant website, you’re giving customers the chance to share their thoughts on their preferred platform. Some restaurants even go as far as offering special rewards to would-be reviewers.
The key takeaway is that if you open yourself to criticism, you’re more likely to hold yourself and your staff to a higher standard, and customers will appreciate the transparency.
If you follow these steps, you will have covered the main requirements you need to create a competitive site. The work continues from here on, but with the right tools, you can make turn your website into a driving force for the development of your business!