Your website is more than likely the first thing a potential customer sees when making their decision to dine at your restaurant.
So it is more important than ever that your website is optimized for converting website visitors into customers. The key is to make sure you know what those customers are looking for, and give it to them.
To address this issue, here are five things that a website visitor should see when they reach visit restaurant’s website:
- Operating Hours
Make sure your operating hours are very clear and easy to understand and are on every page of your website. Update them immediately when your schedules change, whether it is holiday hours, closing for maintenance or special circumstances, such as private events or severe weather. If your kitchen closes before your bar area or main dining room, make sure to note that time as well. Nothing is more frustrating than making plans to meet your friends at a restaurant, only to arrive and find that it’s closed or the kitchen stopped serving 15 minutes ago.
- Contact info
Make sure that all of your contact info visible on every page. This includes your phone number and street address along with either a live map or link to driving directions. Using plain text for your contact info makes it easy for mobile smartphone users to access as most mobile devices will convert these into touch links that allow you just to push and call. It is also a huge help for search engines to know your location and contact info. Bonus: Add links to the social media sites you’re most active on (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, etc.).
First-time customers want to see your food menu to help them make a dining decision. DO NOT make them download a PDF file to their computer or mobile phone just to see your menu(s) and pricing. Your food menu should be seamlessly designed into your website, just like any page. All it takes is a click and your visitor is browsing your mouth-watering selection. Also be sure to keep your food menu(s) current, even if that means daily updates. Your website’s content management system should allow for this. Displaying an outdated menu is very frustrating for first-time visitors when they arrive with a particular dish in mind, only to find that it is not available. That can guarantee they won’t turn into repeat customers.
- Your best reviews
Customer feedback is one of the most subtle, but powerful, marketing tools your business has. And there’s no industry where customer testimonials have a bigger impact than the restaurant industry.
Just look at how heavily customers rely on sites like Yelp, UrbanSpoon and Trip Advisor. Your reviews matter and they should not be confined to those restaurant directories. Take your best reviews and showcase them right on your website. This is a great way to provide an added sense of excitement as your first-time visitors are browsing your food specials and other pages of your site. A great review could be just the push they need to book that reservation or place an order.
- Photo galleries
Even if you spend days crafting the perfect text for your website’s homepage, people will gravitate to your photos first. They tell a story just as well as a copy of your menu can. It is crucial to have beautiful photography on your website. You can hire a professional photographer, or if you’re just starting out, a digital camera with the right lighting could do. Just don't put bad photos on your website. This will turn people away quicker than no photos.
Try to provide a variety of photos that showcase both the exterior of the restaurant (making it easy to spot on arrival), the interior (what’s the atmosphere like?), and the food (nothing sells food like photos of food!)