If there’s one thing the pandemic taught us, it’s that restaurants, coffee places or bars can no longer rely solely on the offline world. Stay afloat and expand your clientele in this unpredictable day and age by going digital with your restaurant business.
Apart from being present on multiple ordering apps and social media platforms, your restaurant having its own website is essential.
Maintaining several social media profiles and websites for reviews like TripAdvisor or Foursquare can be challenging. Moreover, each of these platforms narrows down the possibilities of what kind of information you can share with your customers.
All the well-known social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok require specific types of content. Connect all this information under one roof and maintain control.
Learn why and how to create a drool-worthy restaurant or cafe website.
3 valid reasons why your restaurant needs a website
1. A dedicated website helps you build your brand and boost the credibility of your business
Being a website run directly by the owner, the most credible source of information, you will instantly gain power over what is accessible online about your business.
Share only the valid and current information, publish quality pictures with your own aesthetic and build your overall brand.
Having a professional-looking website gives your restaurant or coffee place much more credibility and you as an owner control over your public image.
2. Keep pace with your competitors
During quick research, you would be very lucky to stumble upon an eatery without a website. Everyone starts with a place where they can promote their services and communicate with clients. Usually, this place is a dedicated, user friendly and easy to navigate website.
3. Create an unforgettable and pleasant experience for your guests along the way
Before even leaving the house most of your customers will be searching online for menus, pictures of the dishes, pictures of the place itself and coordination. They will also be checking reviews online.
Therefore your visitors will appreciate it when they can find a searchable menu with photos, contact information and a reservation system under one roof, only a few clicks apart.
Don’t make them search for all these possibilities within several platforms and risk losing visitors along the way. The rabbit hole of the Internet is merciless.
Must-have elements of a restaurant website (the checklist)
1. Basic information like opening hours and location with the embedded map
Put this information not only on the contact page but everywhere relevant, including the footer. The more information the visitor can find within one click, the better.
Contact details and a map in the footer
2. Reservation system and contact information like phone number and email address for making reservations
Place the contact option in the header and footer, excluding the contact page. These are the places where visitors will most often look for them.
Conventions work, make them work for you as well!
You can also use a contact form with an option for securing tables for private parties and catering.
Reservation options – phone, e-mail or form
3. A tempting menu with evocative and relevant pictures of the dishes, including a list of allergens
Raise the relevant expectations by posting well-lit pictures of the real dishes. Authenticity works best. The better the pictures, the higher the sales.
The menu should be text-based, so it appears as it should on each type of device and is searchable. Avoid PDFs and images.
Mark vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and raw dishes properly, so it is clear what types of diets you cater for.
Also, mention prices. Customers are usually interested in them.
A text-based searchable menu with prices
Take your restaurant website to the next level
1. Become a blogger
Share the news about your place, employees, new menu articles, supplier and customer stories.
By sharing authentic and emotionally fueled stories, you will build better relations with the people you work with and for. Not even mentioning original content could help you reach a better position in Google organic search results.
For example, show how you take care of cleaning the kitchen, how you pack deliveries into eco-friendly boxes or how you grow your own herbs. Customers will appreciate that.
2. Sell merch
Merchandise is no longer an alternate revenue stream for rock bands (or Hard Rock Café) anymore. Your customers would be thrilled to wear T-shirts with your restaurant’s logo, carry their morning coffee in a reusable mug or their belongings in your tote bag. And why?
Where and how people dine is a part of their personality and they are proud to show it. They are proud to support their favourite place when needed.
Activate an online store on your website, and apart from freshly roasted coffee and takeaways, you can also sell merch. You might be pleasantly surprised.
3. Sell gift cards, start a loyalty program and build a newsletter
Convert the potential guest into regulars by providing them with little gifts or free services. Offer free recipes of your dishes to your fans. Even downloadable desktop and mobile wallpapers might please them.
You can go further and offer cooking or barista classes, which will bring your guests closer together.
4. Register your own domain
This should actually be the first thing you do before you even open your bar. Don’t let your perfect domain be taken away from you. On the importance of having your own domain, we wrote here.
5. Make pictures dynamic
Use short videos, animations or gifs to make pictures of your dishes more eye-catching. Don’t be afraid to be funny and creative!
6. Stay positive!
Reply to your customers’ comments and DM on social media in a positive manner. Build a positive reputation overall and like the likes back. And don’t say we don’t need positivity in grand doses, it’s essential these days.
7. Manage online reviews quickly
Resolve online reviews positively and ASAP. Especially the negative ones. Stars matter – not only the Michelin ones.
8. Connect all social profiles on your website
So the Instagram generation can go directly to their place and the Facebook ones to theirs. Make everyone happy.
Also, start a newsletter, so you’re able to reach a personal space of people who are not fond of sharing their lives online. Give away these options in one place.
- A dedicated website for your café/bar/restaurant is not obsolete. Even now when you can create a profile on various social media platforms, it’s not the case. The official website is still the only ultimate relevant and credible source of information for your potential clients and regulars.
- Build relations with your customers online by connecting with them via sharing stories on your blog, newsletter and various social media platforms. Offer them special freebies or well-designed merchandise. Make your place part of their everyday life.
- Build your reputation and brand awareness. Resolve all the reviews promptly and in a positive manner.
- Spotlight your amazing menu and present your pleasant service with high-quality pictures. They are exactly what make people leave the screen and travel to your place IRL.
Drool-worthy images – well-lit and optimized
Create a stunning gastro website in a few clicks
With Webnode, creating websites is fun and easy. Moreover, our designers created beautiful free templates for restaurants, caffés and bars especially. Therefore, all you need to do is to pick your favourite and click the button that says Create.
From there on, use page templates and micro templates to create the menu, contact form, map, opening hours information, ordering form, photo gallery and much more. You can find a detailed manual here.
Don’t forget to read the guide on how to create a business website.