Designing a Great Restaurant Website
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A website can be far more than a way to convey basic information about your restaurant to the public. Your restaurant's website can be a powerful marketing tool, if you choose to regard it as such. This requires designing a great website that stands out and rewards people for giving you their attention. There's a lot of content on the internet competing for this attention. Don't squander it with the hard sell, because people will quickly click away. Rather, demonstrate through your restaurant's website design that you appreciate people's attention. This distinguishes a great restaurant website from all the others.
Above and Beyond the MenuEvery restaurant website posts its menu. And that's good. People want to find out what you serve. A great restaurant website, though, does so much more. Take a unique, descriptive approach to identifying the food on your menu. Don't merely list the ingredients in a dish and name the cooking method used to prepare it. Show people what it's like to experience your restaurant's food. Capture it with professional photographs. Describe its look, its aroma, or how it feels in the mouth. How does its sizzle make people feel? Standard adjectives are meaningless. Engage the senses, and demonstrate that your restaurant knows what it's like to thoroughly enjoy a meal. Make people have to try your food.
Inform the PublicIf you want potential patrons to linger on your site for more than the five seconds it takes to get a piece of basic information, your restaurant's website needs more to keep them there. This is an opportunity to convey a passion for your products that you're eager to share with customers. Consider pages with informative articles about the food and beverages you serve. Discuss the history of items on your menu, or how your restaurant's particular cuisine evolved over time. Share recipes and links to other food-related websites your customers might find interesting. A regularly updated blog is a great way to incorporate all of this into your website and to give the public reasons to visit your website frequently. Your blog can also present news and stories about the food industry, the dining lifestyle, the local community, your areas of specialty, in-house events, and endless other relevant posts.
Let Customers Have Their SayAny way you can build interactivity into your restaurant's website design improves public relations and fosters the sense that your establishment is part of the local community. If you start a blog on your website, let readers comment on posts and respond to them. Offer a page on which customers can write about their experiences at your restaurant. Don't be afraid of negative feedback; by allowing it to show publicly and addressing it genuinely with concern and appreciation, you instantly achieve a level of trustworthiness and respect many brands struggle to earn for a very long time. Of course, customers also appreciate being able to use the site for more standard purposes, such as making reservations or contacting the staff.
Written by: Jon Mohrman