In today’s world, the restaurant industry is a big deal. Currently, there are over 15 million restaurants worldwide, and many more food enthusiasts dream of having their own restaurant one day.
There are many aspects of your physical location that will determine your success. However, if you want to grow your audience and tap into the younger demographics, you need to have a professional restaurant website.
Need convincing? Consider the following data:
- 90% of visitors research a restaurant online before actually going to the location
- 94% of diners research a restaurant’s reviews online before going.
- 77% of consumers will visit a restaurant’s website before dining in or taking out food.
Of course, you can rely on online delivery platforms and call it a day. But when it comes to online orders, patrons are more likely to use a restaurant’s website than a third-party website. Plus, who’d want to pay 15 to 30% commissions on every single transaction?
That said, knowing you need a restaurant website is one thing — understanding how to set it up is another.
In this guide, we’ll share straightforward, actionable steps you can take to build your own restaurant website and start getting orders within a few days.
How to create a restaurant website
- Select a domain name and web hosting solutions
- Design your logo
- Pick a website builder and start designing your website
- Install the necessary plugins
- Choose your fonts
- Get your local SEO right
- Make sure your site is fast
- Make it easy to use
- Make online ordering and reservations easy
- Promote your restaurant website
1. Select a domain name and web hosting solution
The same way your restaurant has a physical address so that customers can find you, a domain name is the online address for your website.
A domain name is simply a website address that contains your website name and domain name extension.
Similarly, a web host is like the building that houses your restaurant. It takes all the documents, settings, and configurations of your website and makes them accessible on the internet.
The best domain name and web host add professional credibility, provide visibility for your brand, and make it easier (and faster) for visitors to access your business website.
When choosing your web host, one important factor to consider is speed. According to Akamai, 40% of consumers will leave a website if it fails to load within three seconds.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the features they offer and ensure that they match your brand values and goals for setting up your restaurant website.
- Do you want customers to make reservations on your website?
- Are you planning to have options for online ordering?
- What sections do you need on each page?
All this should be considered before deciding on your web hosting company.
The most trusted and popular hosting companies for restaurant websites include:
- Blue Host
Pro tip: Before signing up for one of these hosting solutions, consider which website builder you will use to develop your web pages. The chances are your tool of choice will already have free fast hosting or a direct integration with one of the top providers. GetResponse Website Builder, for example, comes with a built-in hosting solution. It also takes care of connecting or registering a new domain for you.
How should you select a domain name? Think of what you want your restaurant to be known as and go from there.
Also, most restaurant domain names end with .com, but you can use other domain extensions as well. If you missed the opportunity to register your website with .com, you could go for .restaurant (e.g., “martyspizza.restaurant”) to make your website memorable.
Just make sure you’re using short URLs to help your audience quickly understand your restaurant website and boost your ranking on search engine results.
2. Design your logo
Did you know that It takes 0.05 seconds for users to get an impression of a website? Those few short moments are a potential customer’s first interaction with your brand.
You need to capture their attention to make them stick around and navigate to the “money page” — menu and order page.
One of the smart ways to do this is with a clear and compelling brand logo.
Nielsen Norman Group explains three primary purposes that logos serve on a website:
- They remind your visitors of their current location.
- They help users easily navigate to your homepage. (Most websites don’t have a “home” button in their navigation.)
- They act as a tool for brand recognition.
A good logo helps you connect with your target customers and makes it easier for them to remember you. With the right one in place, you can reinforce your brand’s identity and values.
The goal is to create a logo that is both unique and compelling. You can use services such as Fiverr, Looka, or Tailor Brands to create an attractive brand logo in minutes.
Once you have created a high-quality logo, you need to ensure that it is visible on your restaurant website (including the favicon) and maintains a clear appearance on all devices.
There are numerous positions to place your logo, but the traditional above-the-fold approach is most common and recommended — the top section of a web page is the first thing visitors will see when they land on your website.
In addition, most brands place their logo on the left. For instance, Colibri displays their simple logo design in the top left corner.
Other brands, like Desert Chill, prefer to place their logo in the middle:
3. Pick a website builder and start designing your site
Once you’ve got a domain name and logo, it’s time to start designing your own website. For this, you have three options:
- Build your website from scratch
- Use WordPress
- Use a non-WordPress website builder
Option #1: Build your website from scratch
Although this approach yields a truly custom website that will meet your exact needs, it takes a lot of time and money to create something you can be proud of.
Additionally, unless you built the website yourself, you’ll need the help of developers any time you plan to upload content or make changes to your restaurant website.
Option #2: Use WordPress
WordPress is the most popular content management system on the internet, powering over 40% of all websites.
WordPress lets you create and manage your restaurant website without HTML and CSS coding. For example, you can upload content with the WordPress editor rather than manually entering code to add a new menu or picture.
WordPress also offers advanced capabilities that are lacking in most drag-and-drop website builders, and once you get past the learning curve, it’s easy to use.
That said, WordPress is not without its own drawbacks. Here are a few things to note:
- To make your website functional and add extra features, such as a menu or online reservation form, you’ll need to install many plugins.
- WordPress is continuously updating its editor and themes, so you’ll need to constantly update and manage your website to keep it secured and functioning.
- The more plugins and pages you add, the slower your site becomes, which can hurt your ranking on Google.
Option #3: Use a non-WordPress website builder
The best and fastest approach for creating websites is using a drag-and-drop website builder. These builders are ideal for restaurant businesses because they are flexible and cost-effective.
The GetResponse Free Website Builder is incredibly flexible and makes it easy to set up your website within a few hours. For instance, the built-in AI wizard lets you create a customized website for your restaurant by answering a few questions about your needs and goals.
To set up your restaurant website with the GetResponse website builder, follow these steps:
- Open an account with GetResponse, or log in if you already have one.
- Select the website builder tab under the Features menu.
- Choose the option to create a website using the AI creation wizard or import your existing website design.
- Select from the ready-made templates to best display your kitchen’s style and dining experience.
- Customize the menu bar and add the pages you’d like to include.
Pro tip: People are social creatures, and they often like to check out reviews and pictures from other customers. To help your visitors make the best dining decision (and show off your delicious food), add your social media links to the pages.
Want to see the GetResponse Website Builder in action? Check out this full-video walkthrough:
4. Install the necessary plugins
After setting up your website, the next step is to start installing the plugins you need to add functionality to your website. For instance, if you want to take reservations on your website, you’ll need a plugin to handle that. The same applies if you want to collect email signups or add a live chat feature.
A restaurant website needs some particular features to operate to its fullest potential. These might include a custom menu, a contact/reservation form, or even a map to help people plan their route. You’ll also need a customized gallery to showcase your top-notch dishes and drinks through beautiful pictures.
By the way, the GetResponse Website Builder lets you establish your branding through staff testimonials and a dedicated portfolio in just a few clicks. It also integrates directly with Unsplash, so you can quickly access beautiful pictures to add to your site.
In addition, you have access to the following vital plugins (all built right into the platform):
- Google Ads
- Facebook Ads
- Live Chats
- Forms and Popups
- Email Marketing
- Web Push Notifications
5. Choose your fonts
The layout and arrangement of the text on your website have a significant impact on how potential customers interact with it. According to The Realtime Report, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive.
Good typography enhances the personality of your brand and subliminally reinforces your message. In order to convert visitors into customers, your chosen fonts must evoke positive emotions and provide readability at the same time.
When selecting fonts for your restaurant website, it’s important to ensure your font scheme matches the rest of your brand assets and strengthens your values.
As a rule of thumb, stick to two or three fonts throughout your webpage. Choose a primary and secondary font as well as an optional accent font for each section of your website. This helps to improve the site’s design and makes it easier for visitors to view the important sections.
The most used Google fonts on restaurant websites are Open Sans, Lato, and Roboto. The recommended font size for the body text is 16px.
Tio Luchin’s site is one example of a restaurant website that uses unique styling mixed with a playful web design to communicate its values.
6. Get your local SEO right
Getting your website set up is the first step to establishing your business’s online presence, but it’s not enough. To make your site visible to potential customers, you need to optimize it for local SEO.
Local SEO is important because 28% of searches for nearby businesses result in a purchase. As more and more restaurants are built, you need to ensure that your website consistently appears at the top of the search results
Here are a few key ways to optimize your website for local SEO:
Find related keywords
Use keyword tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Moz Pro to find the words your target customers are using to search for restaurants. Focus on finding high-level terms such as “restaurants” or “Ohio restaurant” as well as niche-specific terms like “Mexican restaurants” or “romantic restaurant.”
Optimize listings for your restaurant
Create listings for your business on Google, Yelp, and other critical local directories. Ensure your name, address, and phone number is accurate across all search engines to boost your local SEO rankings. Having consistent details helps search engines index your website faster.
Start with Google My Business, then branch out to Yelp, CitySearch, and others.
Google also allows restaurant owners to add their menu to their Google My Business listings. With this option, you can segment your menu into categories with descriptions, prices, and compelling images to attract customers.
Encourage reviews and testimonials.
Reviews and ratings are part of Google’s consideration for ranking a website. They also help build trust — no one wants to do business with a company with many negative reviews.
Encourage previous customers to leave genuine reviews on your website. Google+ and Yelp respond to both good and bad reviews in a friendly way. Encourage customers to leave genuine reviews and learn from bad reviews in order to improve your restaurant.
7. Make sure your site is fast
Google Senior Webmaster Analyst John Mueller says, “best practice is to get your website to load in less than two to three seconds.”
When someone decides to eat at your restaurant, delayed service or improper treatment from the waiter can result in poor reviews. Similarly, slow-loading websites can result in negative user experiences, poor search ranking, and lower traffic.
Marketing Dive revealed that 40% of online users will abandon your website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Thus, having a website that loads quickly is essential to your success.
To make your website load faster, run it through the Google PageSpeed Insights tool and follow the recommendations. Aim for a minimum of 90% both on mobile and desktop.
You can also boost your speed by investing in quality web hosting and optimizing your images.
8. Make it easy to use
No one wants to spend time on a website trying to understand what each icon or page means. Usually, it takes 0.5 seconds for a user to form an opinion about your website; if they struggle to navigate it, they may go to your competitor instead.
Most converting websites have clear and concise navigation so that a user can zip through the pages quickly with little effort. Keep your navigation short and straight to the point to avoid confusion.
If you include information on COVID-19 policies, avoid using corporate language. Don’t just tell customers that their safety is guaranteed, give concrete explanations of your protocols.
Branding is essential, especially for independent restaurants, but it has to be in the right place. Express your branding with:
- Simple language
Additionally, don’t forget your mobile site. Mobile devices account for almost two of every three minutes spent online, making the mobile-friendliness of a website one of Google’s ranking factors.
Make sure your restaurant website is correctly optimized for mobile. For example, ensure that all font sizes and colors remain legible on all platforms.
9. Make online ordering and reservations easy
Today’s customers have a short attention span. They want to get what they want when they want it, and a restaurant that fails to meet such expectations will lose potential customers.
If a customer wants to make an order through your online ordering system, they’ll want to experience minimal frustrations while using it. To meet these expectations, make the online menu easy to navigate. For example, use clear navigation to direct customers to different sections of your menu — appetizers, sandwiches, main courses, and so on, the same way your hardcopy menu is structured.
You can also improve your online orders by integrating the menu with the point of sale system you use in your restaurant. This reduces cost and streamlines the ordering system since both online and in-person orders occur in one place.
Pro tip: You can easily integrate GetResponse Website Builder with external platforms to manage your online ordering. Just copy the code from your tool of choice, say Jotform, and paste it into the custom code block on your site.
10. Promote your restaurant website
You’ve created your website and optimized your SEO, but you can’t just sit back and expect the orders to roll in. SEO takes time to yield results.
Content promotion is the fastest way to attract new customers and engage with existing buyers. There are several ways to promote your website:
- Partner with online delivery platforms: Most food delivery apps have a large following on social media and have thousands of visitors trooping into their website daily. By partnering with these platforms, you can encourage some visitors to check out your website and convert them to paying customers.
- Use Instagram marketing tactics: If you have high-quality visual content, Instagram is the perfect place to show it off. Display your storefront, your top dishes, and the fascinating areas of your restaurant, then encourage viewers to take the next step by making orders on your website. Be sure to play around with memorable and humorous hashtags.
- Promote user-generated content: People love to hear what others say about a brand before parting with their money. Create a contest by asking customers to share their favorite meal at your restaurant, then share the results on a dedicated page. To get a better response, consider awarding contestants with free meals or discounts.
- Promote your restaurant with paid ads: With Google Search Ads you can reach your audience with laser-precision exactly when users are searching for a service like yours. Show off your brand in Google Search and Google Maps and start collecting more orders in a few moments.
Content marketing is also a great way to drive visitors to your website. Set up a blog and start creating valuable content that helps solve real problems for your target customers, or content that shows how much you know about food. Share these posts on YouTube and social media platforms and respond to every comment. By doing this, you will build sustainable relationships, earn trust, and attract new customers.
Pro tip: In addition to the countless stunning free website templates, GetResponse Website Builder comes with multiple prebuilt tools that’ll help you promote your restaurant business. For example, you can use popups to announce new deals and enroll people into your loyalty program. You can also emails to ask for reviews or promote your new dishes. Live chats will help you connect with your audience in real-time directly on your page. Paid ads, on the other hand, will help you attract new customers to your business.
Creating a new restaurant website is the perfect way to start your online journey and secure your business. However, in order to be successful, you must learn to prioritize user experience and adjust to your customer’s changing needs. By launching your restaurant website using a site builder, optimizing it for SEO, and creating helpful content, you can build your brand, engage your loyal followers, and bring in new customers.
Still feeling lost? We have some restaurant website design ideas to get you started.