Restaurant website design
More than half of adults search for their next restaurant online. Here’s how to create a website that’ll turn them from online browsers into in-house diners
Well-run restaurants owe a lot to being bricks and mortar, but there's still much to be gained from having a digital presence. According to the Pew Research Centre, 51% of adults search for their next restaurant choice online.
Thanks to an online presence, lots of restaurants have avoided the fate of many high street businesses during the pandemic. These days restaurant website builders allow restaurants to integrate order and pay tools so they can accept takeaway orders. They also include or can integrate with booking tools.
Website builders allow you to cook up a professional restaurant website in minutes – without any need for coding skills. Many also include plugins for reservation and delivery functionality, so you’ll have everything you need in one place.
In this article, we clue you into the best website builders for restaurants and why they're the key to keeping your customers coming back – Covid or no Covid.
Important features of a restaurant website
Website builders offer a smorgasbord of templates to suit a variety of restaurant types. It can be challenging to choose just one, but as long as you bear in mind that beautiful restaurant website design must include the following, you can’t go far wrong.
The essential information
Hungry customers don’t want to waste any more time than necessary browsing websites before choosing a restaurant. You need to make it as easy as possible to find out the essential information, or else risk losing them.
What customers actually want to know is:
- What’s on the menu (more on this below)
- If they can order a takeaway or click and collect (more on this below)
- The address of the restaurant (with a link to Google maps)
- Contact details (i.e. phone and email) and social media links
- Opening hours
- Transport and parking information
- Cancellation policy
You can include a bit of information about the history of the restaurant, its ethos and intentions, and some background about the owners – but most people probably won’t read it.
However, if you’re pushing a unique concept, it’s worth dedicating some space to a concise but compelling explanation.
Your food is the main thing you’re advertising, so include an obvious link to the menu on the home page.
The menu should be up to date, highlight vegetarian and vegan options, and clearly indicate other allergy or dietary information.
You don’t need to resort to an expensive designer – instead, you can use a graphic design tool (such as Canva) to easily create a restaurant menu for your website in a few minutes. Some website builders also include menu creation tools.
Never upload your menu as a PDF file! The text isn’t readable by search engines, and the file is annoying for users to access and scroll around.
A gallery of high quality images
High quality are the operative words here. Delicious food will look delicious on camera, right?
Well, unfortunately, it’s surprisingly hard to do food justice with photography – amateur attempts can make even haute cuisine look like slop. So, unless you’re a professional, hire one. And remember to clean those plates!
These images are also great for social media promotion.
Include up to date photographs that, as best as possible, give a taste of the style and atmosphere of your restaurant.
Photos of an empty restaurant are good if you want to give an unobstructed view of what the space looks like, but you could also get some snaps of diners having a blast to show it in all its glory.
A reservation function
A restaurant reservation system allows customers to check for an available table and book a slot through your website, without the hassle of a phone call.
There are plenty of popular restaurant reservation systems you can add to your website, including OpenTable, Eat App, and TableIn.
As far as website builders go, both GoDaddy and Squarespace integrate with OpenTable, while Wix has its own proprietary reservation management system.
An order/delivery function
This is important now more than ever. There are a number of options here, and they’re not mutually exclusive. You could register with any number of on-demand delivery services, including Deliveroo, Just Eat, and Uber Eats. The advantage here is that most of the logistics are taken care of – you just need to worry about fulfilling the orders.
However, if you don’t want to be giving away a proportion of your takeaway takings in fees to delivery services, then you could build or even integrate a third party order and pay app into your restaurant website and hire your own drivers. Deliveroo don’t disclose the commission fees they charge restaurants, but most online sources put them between 10-30%.
Reviews/link to TripAdvisor
Advertising this kind of transparency is good for customer trust. If visitors can see reviews from previous customers without having to leave your website, it shows you’ve got nothing to hide – which, if you’re doing your best to give everybody a great experience, you shouldn’t have.
Restaurant website design tips
Now you know the most important elements of great website design, here are our top tips for making sure your website is a tantalising digital front for your restaurant.
Give the people what they want
Make it easy to navigate around your website. Ensure that all essential information (see above) is front and centre, so hungry and impatient visitors don’t go elsewhere. It would be just like taking too long to seat/serve someone – you need to acknowledge their presence/answer their query immediately.
This is particularly important now, as restaurants compete for takeaway business. Customers are hungry, they're probably craving the food you offer. Make sure ordering through your website is easy as possible with order and pay app integration or an intuitive basket and ordering function.
As you can see with this template for a website from Wix, the navigation links are clear and easy to find on the left hand side.
The page isn’t too cluttered, and the imagery and colours reflect the fun, fast, no-fuss nature of a burger truck business.
Reflect your vibe
This template from Squarespace evokes a much more sophisticated establishment. It features moody photos that show off the fine cuisine, a sharp, sensible font, and a limited colour palette.
It’s a simple layout, but everything a visitor needs to know is easy to find. Those three big words are bold and inviting, and clearly link through to the food menu, the drink menu, and a reservations page.
Call to action
We like the way this Wix template for a Vietnamese restaurant gives the visitor the chance to book a table on the main page. Positioned below an image of a fresh, vibrant bowl of food, the reservation function isn’t too intrusive.
You may even want to think about replacing a reservation call to action with an ‘order now' call to action – especially if you're required to close due to unprecedented circumstances.
Including a link to reviews in the main navigation bar is another nice touch, which (as mentioned above) helps to build trust with a potential customer.
Format for mobile
We’ve all had frustrating experiences trying to navigate around websites that aren’t optimised for smartphone use. And with more than 50% of web traffic now coming from mobile, this issue is more pressing than ever.
Don’t lose customers. Make sure your website is mobile friendly, or people will satisfy their cravings elsewhere.
Helpfully, most website builders will automatically optimise your site for mobile.
Monitor and analyse visitor behaviour
Don’t just create your website and consider it a finished product.
Analytics tools like Google Analytics can provide a goldmine of data on how many people are visiting your site, how long they’re spending there, and where they’re clicking. You can use this to assess what is or isn’t working, and make amendments accordingly.
Thanks to integrated ecommerce functionality, you'll also be able to see which menu items people are ordering most. You can use customer purchase data to inform what remains on your menu and what goes.
You should also use a keyword tool like SEMRush to find which high-value keywords you should be using on site to boost search engine ranking.
Compare web builders for beautiful restaurant website design
The three website builders below all offer restaurant specific templates, as well as plugins and features that make it easier to run your business.
It was a no-brainer to put Squarespace as our top restaurant website builder. It offers a variety of sleek restaurant templates and it gives you the option to integrate your website with a number of online ordering platforms.
Handily, it also integrates with Square POS – a popular POS system with startup and small restaurant businesses. This means restaurants can benefit from a centralised system that covers customer orders both inside your restaurant and online.
Squarespace has a huge range of features and a number of restaurant-focused tools available, including:
- A fully-integrated store to sell merchandise, food, gift cards etc.
- Booking, and online ordering tools
- Marketing tools
- OpenTable integration
- Menu templates
- Event calendars
|Advanced Commerce||Basic Commerce||Business||Personal|
As well as being one of the most affordable options available, Wix has the largest range of templates to choose from – perhaps not such good news if you’re indecisive). It also has an unbeatable range of features available with a premium plan, including:
- A table reservation app
- A no-commission online food ordering function
- Menu templates
- An online store
- Marketing tools
GoDaddy has a limited range of templates, but allows you to integrate your website with OpenTable and other useful features for easy reservations.
These features include:
- OpenTable integration
- InSight to monitor vital website metrics
- SEO, email, and marketing
- Social media integration
|Provider||Best feature||Subscriptions starting from||Free version available?|
|WIX||Biggest selection of templates||£3/month (billed annually)||14-day free trial|
|GoDaddy||Longest free trial period||£6.99/month (billed annually)||1 month free trial|
|Squarespace||Feature rich; no limitations for ‘normal usage’||£10/month (billed annually)||14-day free trial|
Building the perfect website for your restaurant or hospitality business
There you have it: the ingredients for a perfect website for your restaurant or hospitality business.
Feel free to put your own twist on them, depending on what feels right for your restaurant, but stick closely to the recipe above and you’ll convert those online browsers into in-house diners in no time.
Remember, the key to great restaurant website design is to answer the three essential questions: Where are you? When are you open? And what’s on the menu?
Hungry for more information? Visit our dedicated ‘How to start a restaurant’ guide for everything you could ever need to know, or any of the other pages in our restaurant suite:
Don’t know which website builder is best for your business? Start comparing website builders here.