You know you need to redesign your restaurant’s website. You just don’t know what it should look like. What do you want visitors to feel when they visit? What information is most important? What do you want them to do when they’re on your site?
The answers to all of these questions will determine what your restaurant website looks like. But even answering these questions may not give you all the information you need to create a fresh, compelling, and modern site that prompts more people to visit your restaurant. In fact, just answering these questions might result in a site that feels a little… state.
When creating a restaurant website, your layout, colors, and fonts should be chosen based on how they make visitors feel. Why? Because that feeling will impact how they feel about your restaurant. And that feeling—often their first impression—will determine whether or not they decide to give you their business.
On this page, we’ll run down some of the most important elements of restaurant website design, specifically how they impact the way that visitors react when visiting your site for the first time. We’ll also offer some tips that will help make your next redesign a smashing success.
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The ideal restaurant website user experience
When potential or current customers come to your website, they should be able to quickly and easily find details about your restaurant and menu, reach out to you via email or social media, and get a sense of what your restaurant offers. Only the right design can help your visitors accomplish all of these things.
You may have a number of different goals for your website, or ideas about what you want it to do as part of an overall marketing plan. As such, these goals will ultimately filter down to impact the experience you offer to your visitors. For example, if your goal is to use your website to accept online orders, the experience you offer will be focused on converting more orders. But if your goal is to increase foot traffic, you may offer an experience that pushes more visitors to come see you in person.
Every restaurant website is different because every restaurant has a different set of goals. But there are a few common elements that you should aim to get right, as we’ll discuss next. With these elements in place, you can focus on offering an ideal experience that fits into your marketing goals.
The most effective restaurant website colors
The right colors can make diners feel calm, excited, sensual, and even hungry. On a restaurant website, colors also impact response rates and readability. Keep aesthetics and functionality in mind when choosing your website’s color scheme.
If you’re not sure which colors to use, start with the color scheme in your restaurant and create a consistent experience from screen to table. This will help keep your branding consistent, and ensure visitors that they’re in the right place, when they do finally come see you in person.
Since you run a restaurant, you may want to experiment with the usage of colors that impact appetite. For instance, avoid appetite-killing colors like black and purple, but use colors like red and yellow to make visitors feel hungrier. This is not guaranteed to work, but it’s worth a shot!
Whatever colors you choose, make sure they make text readable without straining the eyes. Any scheme with a light background and dark text will work, or vice-versa. Avoid neon colors for links and text, as they will probably annoy your visitors—even if those colors are part of your branding.
The best layouts for restaurant websites
When people first visit your website, they should see one thing: food. The best layouts for restaurant websites should always focus on the food. That means implementing a design that features high-quality color photos on nearly every page of your website.
Your homepage will probably contain the most photos. Other pages should still incorporate photos when possible, but will likely contain more text. For example, the pages linked to from your navigational menu may include dish names, descriptions, and prices. They may also include links to order food and make reservations, or a page that describes how to get to your restaurant.
How you structure the layout of your website is up to you. However, try to avoid cramming too much information into any single page. Separate your content into separate “buckets” and link to each page in a clear, sensible manner.
The best restaurant website fonts
Few people actually know the names of all the fonts available for websites, but they know whether the chosen font fits with the overall design. Block text looks odd within a fun a frilly layout, while cursive doesn’t fit the professional tone of a law website. Your restaurant website’s best font depends on the mood you’re trying to set.
Most text falls into one of two categories: serif and sans serif. Serif fonts have small strokes or lines extending from the ends of letters, and are seen as warmer and more conservative than sans serif fonts. Both types of fonts can be modern, basic, plain, or decorative.
There are many other fonts to choose from. However, your final choice needs to be legible on multiple devices and compatible with different browsers. Otherwise, people won’t stay on your website and, as a result, might not stop by for dinner.
Give a good first impression
There’s a good chance that many of your customers will look at your site before ever setting foot in your restaurant, so it’s important that they like what they see. It is your first chance to make an impression, and should be designed in such a way that accurately reflects the atmosphere, style, and service you offer.
Your online image is now a large part of customers’ overall experience with your services. Your website doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it should at least provide a good user experience and make visitors want to become customers.
Include the necessities
Every restaurant website should include the necessary components that customers expect. At minimum, your restaurant website should include your address, phone number, menu, and some photos of your food and dining area.
Beyond this, your website can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like. There are plenty of options to consider when it comes to content, but be sure to first provide the information that most visitors are looking for.
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Focus on your strong points
Your website is a chance to highlight what it is that makes your restaurant special. Maybe you offer the city’s finest eggplant parmigiana or a chic atmosphere for fine diners. Whether it’s $5 appetizers or a prestigious wine list that makes you unique, highlight your originality on your website.
If you’re struggling to articulate what makes your restaurant unique, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my customers’ favorite dishes?
- What do I offer that my competitors don’t?
- How do customers feel when they leave?
- How do employees describe the food?
- What does the atmosphere represent?
Include a creative “About Us” page
If your restaurant has an interesting history, including it on your site is a great idea. Knowing the story behind a chef or establishment can make the dining experience all the more fun, and can make customers even more inclined to patronize your business.
Explain your original vision for the establishment, how things might have changed along the way, and the mission and expectations you hold today. You should aim to tell your story, and do it in an interesting way.
Consider color theory
Spend some time thinking about website color. The obvious choices are the colors in your logo or restaurant interior, but matching your color scheme to your physical restaurant isn’t an absolute necessity.
If you operate a high-end establishment, a black background can be a great choice. It gives a feeling or sophistication. On the other hand, a white background lends an air of freshness, and can make beautiful food photos really pop.
Of course, almost any color scheme can work depending on your site. It is completely up to you, but be sure to spend some time thinking about it before creating your design.
Additional best practices
Besides the tips outlined above, here are a few extra restaurant website design tips to consider.
- Don’t use stock photos
- List other important information
- Provide more than a PDF menu
- Add social buttons
- Aim to reduce clicks
If possible, use authentic images on your website. Customers will feel cheated if the food on the website doesn’t look like the food you serve, or if you use a phony chef stock photo on your website.
If you don’t accept Discover or are BYOB, be sure to highlight these facts on your website.
Yes, you can offer a PDF menu for customers to print. But don’t only provide a PDF. They can be difficult to read on small screens, and not always compatible with all browsers. Instead, create a text version that is accessible no matter how visitors are browsing.
Allow people to easily follow you on social media by adding social buttons to your website. This way, your website will serve as a connector between your potential customers and your other marketing efforts.
Your site visitors shouldn’t have to click 4 or 5 times to get the information they need. They’re likely viewing your site to see basic information like your address or phone number. Make these items easily viewable or accessible from the homepage.
As you consider these restaurant website design tips, remember that your restaurant website should do two things: meet potential customers’ needs and accurately reflect what you offer.
Keep those two factors at the forefront of your website design efforts and you’ll likely succeed. Also, remember that maintaining simplicity will keep people on your website longer—and likely leave a positive first impression that will last.
If you need help designing a website that will attract new customers to your website, feel free to contact us! Our talented team is more than happy to help you create an up-to-date site that reflects your restaurant’s unique atmosphere.
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Create a website that attracts more customers
Your website needs to be well organized and easy to use and entice people to visit your restaurant. Above all, it should make people feel the way they do when they’re eating one of your meals. You put a lot of work into your dining experience—put that same effort into your design and create a positive restaurant website user experience. For additional tips, check out our other page on restaurant website design tips.
Do you need help creating a website for your restaurant that brings in more customers? Not sure you have the time to put together a new site that will help you accomplish all your marketing goals? Reach out to WebFX to find out how we can help. We’ve designed hundreds of new websites for our 500+ clients, and we’d be happy to put something together for you, too.
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