Whether your restaurant offers exquisite items like Grilled Quail with Mango and Arugula or basic favorites such as a big, fat, messy cheeseburger with fries, most customers want to feast their eyes on a website before they choose your eatery over another. That makes the design elements of your site crucial to bringing customers in from the online world, helping you build your reputation and following.
If, however, your expertise extends more to the culinary than the technical, a professional web design service can help you put together a website as enticing as your entrees, but whether you do it yourself or hire someone, the site, much like your food, must deliver on all fronts.
While your website should have pictures presenting your food and staff to the world, it shouldn't have so many, and certainly ones that aren't optimized, that it slows down the viewer's experience. A neat and tidy website should load quickly and efficiently across all devices (phones, laptops, desktops, etc.) and all platforms, because hungry customers won't wait to find out if their hunger can be satisfied at your restaurant.
List your menu items, along with prices, lest potential customers risk any misunderstandings about the food you're serving and what it costs. Let them know if breakfast is served all day or if you feature specialty recipes for gluten-free and/or vegetarian patrons. Also, include any information about alcoholic beverages, as that is often an important component of a diner's decision. The great expectations they garner from your site should translate into a fantastic, real-life experience.
List your daily specials in a timely manner, if you offer them. While the process is a little tedious, it's worth it for both you and your customers, especially if you have famously delicious specials. Additionally, people will get in the habit of checking your site to see what specials you have, increasing your value in the opinion of Google and other search engines.
Daily or frequent updates also let people from out of town know that your business is alive and well, while websites that aren't regularly updated may raise the question of whether or not a business is still open.
Connections to social media on your site are essential for advertising, as the people who love your food will follow you on the different platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, and rave about your culinary masterpieces. They'll also leave important feedback and reviews, which you (or your staff) should review and comment on, to demonstrate your concern regarding customer satisfaction.
A site that's interactive on social media is viewed more favorably in search engine rankings, as well, which is especially helpful if you're in an area of high competition.
Much like your own restaurant, the inner workings of a website are very technical and must function flawlessly. If your site has internal issues, it will be obvious to any visitor, just like if your eatery has issues when you're down by two servers, a dishwasher, and a prep cook. The site must be able to handle a lot of visitors, just like your server handles a 12-top, and so on. Professional website design services can put a site together for you that looks great, runs well, and is a constant asset to your business, much the same as your employees are (or at least, should be).
While it may not seem like it, the website for your restaurant is as important as the flavor of your food, the speediness with which it's delivered, and the welcoming atmosphere of the dining room. A good website makes you more competitive, allows for cost-effective advertising, and, most importantly, keeps you in constant contact with your customer base.