Restaurant website design, like any kind of business website design, is critical because a restaurant’s website is often the first encounter a potential diner has with the restaurant. Think about it: when you’re deciding where to go to eat, how do you narrow down your decision? Proximity, price, the kind of food offered… all information you find on the restaurant’s website.
For a restaurant owner, effective website design sells a restaurant’s food and the experience it offers, promising a delicious experience to everyone who comes to visit. As a core part of your restaurant’s visual branding, it can have a considerable impact on your business.
Just ask others in the industry. According to a recent survey by Vista, the majority (89%) of hundreds of small business leaders in hospitality across the globe believe branding to be necessary to their overall success, with 83% saying it contributes to revenue growth1. Of this same group, 87% report their branding helps attract new customers and 93% say it helps build trust.
If you’re a restaurant owner, a soon-to-be restaurant owner or a designer tasked with creating a restaurant website, check out how the restaurants below showcase their goodies.
What excellent restaurant website design?
It doesn’t matter if you’re the fanciest steakhouse in your city or a little mom and pop breakfast joint that can only seat eight customers at a time. Your restaurant needs a website.
Because your restaurant’s website is its spokesperson, business card, and primary advertising engine online, when people are looking for somewhere to eat locally, a great-looking restaurant website design can be the difference between choosing to eat at your restaurant and going elsewhere.
Effective restaurant website design showcases a restaurant’s brand while providing valuable information. Restaurants can communicate their brands through the same types of design choices other businesses use, like color choices, brand voice, shapes, logos, and fonts.
A lot of restaurants go beyond simply showcasing their brands and offerings and make their websites interactive. This is often the case with fast casual websites set up for mobile ordering, like Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Online ordering is just one of the functions that set restaurant websites apart from other business’ sites. On a restaurant’s website, common functions include:
- Reserving a table
- Checking order status
- Seeing the current wait time
Creative UX and UI design can make your website not just appealing, but fun for visitors. Give them a way to build their own pizza on your website instead of just clicking ingredient buttons. Make it possible to listen in on the night’s live music via Livestream. Build a fun widget for your website that gives visitors a chance at winning a coupon once per day. These are all ways to build engagement with your audience and make your restaurant come up first the next time they’re trying to decide where to go to eat.
Building this kind of overt branding and engagement into your website design also gives potential diners a preview of your restaurant’s look and feel. Communicating your vibe before they walk through your front door is important—there are few things more disappointing than walking into a restaurant for a first date and finding it’s more of a sports pub than the cute neighborhood bistro it looked like from its exterior.
Key restaurant website design elements
A well-designed restaurant website has a lot in common with other well-designed websites. No matter what kind of business a website is for, it needs to have legible text, big and engaging images, and a clear visual hierarchy, among other design elements.
But there are also key ingredients to designing a successful restaurant website, and these ingredients are:
Focus on the food
The most important part of any restaurant is THE FOOD! The food needs to be front and center on your website. That’s why big, high-resolution, visually appealing photos are a must-have in any restaurant website design.
Of course your website should feature everything that makes you unique, like your unparalleled ambience, your location inside a historic building, your second-to-none banquet facility or your innovative use of tech, but even with all of these offerings, your food is the real star. Don’t sell it short with boring images, low-quality photos or a focus on anything other than the food.
Make navigation a piece of cake
Navigation has to be simple and intuitive. A visitor should never wonder how to get around your website and find the information they’re looking for.
When it comes to navigation, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Add a navigation bar along the header, footer, or either vertical edge of your website. Or if you really want to indulge in some foodie fun, try a hamburger menu.
The point is, no matter what type of navigation you use, it’s got to be clear and obvious, and it’s got to make sense to users immediately.
Serve up all the vital information
As a restaurant owner, you probably answer all of these questions frequently, possibly even daily:
- Where are you located?
- How can I order?
- What’s your phone number?
- Where can I see your menu?
- What are your specials?
- How can I make a reservation?
- What’s on your menu?
When somebody calls just to ask one of these questions, that’s time you’re spending away from the kitchen, the dining room, and the diners currently ordering, eating, and picking up takeout. That time adds up.
Your restaurant website design can save you a ton of time by making all this information immediately available. You can do that by putting the information that doesn’t change, like your address and phone number, in the header, and putting information that does change, like your daily specials, in a scrolling banner, homepage slide or a popup on the homepage.
Your website should also feature your menu in a prominent spot.
We can’t guarantee this will stop all the calls with questions…but ideally, it will cut down their volume.
Feast on these restaurant website designs
Thyme restaurant website
The task is to design and develop an exclusive, classic, and modern restaurant website which will promote the different types of foods they serve and the overall culture of the restaurant. The website also has a functionality that allows customers to reserve spots in the restaurant online.
Buraschette restaurant website
The task is to design and develop an exclusive, classic, and modern restaurant website which will promote the different types of foods they serve and the overall culture of the restaurant.