Oh what a sweet negative note to begin on, eh? But who would read an article titled “500 Things Restaurant Websites Do Right?” Exactly. Welcome to earth where we feed on the negative or super positive like restaurant diners feed on great food. When they know it’s available. When they know where it is. When they know the establishment is open… see what I am doing there?
I have had the great fortune to build, design, or code a great number of websites for dining or entertainment establishments. A few hit these five points without any coaching; most do not. It is not only that these five points are missed – it’s also that they are often done incorrectly so as to not give the establishment the highest rate of return. Here, for your contemplation and our discussion are what most restaurant websites do wrong:
They Do Not Include A Text Menu
This is wrong on so many levels. How many websites use either a scan of their menu or a PDF “available for download”? At least with the PDF there is the possibility of Google indexing it. But it’s useless on a phone. Viewers have to download it then zoom in and scroll all over the place just to read it. Even if they use text it is not optimized for mobile reading. I acquire many clients just to do this for them – to make their menu globally accessible, readable, indexable, and even searchable.
They Do Not Include Clear Photos of Menu Items
Multi-media has been invented, folks! There is a reason people love using the web and one of them is really amazing photos and videos! Here’s what really gets me with many restaurants: They want this intense home page with moving background images, image popups, slideshows, galleries… But when it comes to actually attaching those images to a menu item – *poof*! Nowhere to be found. And it’s not just that the imagery be there to support the menu, it is how it is included. Videos are awesome and should be short – very short. Images should be thumbnails that open in a modal (popup) to allow a better look.
Where’s The Map?
Sure, users can copy the restaurant’s address and past it into Maps – but why risk losing them to a competitor down the street? There are many map solutions available for the web today which will show directions from a specific location and even send those to the user’s phone. A static map is only slightly better than no map. Every restaurant worth finding should be easy to find and an interactive map is a great solution.
Seriously? Why would anyone even have a website without an email sign up form that’s right in the visitor’s face! I estimate at least 80% of restaurant websites either do not have an email list sign up form or do not put it in the face of every first time visitor. And, when they do have them, they have no idea how to use them or build their list. This is something I can really help any restaurant with. Email lists that are used well are extremely valuable tools.
There is a local restaurant where I dine on occasion and until a few weeks ago I had no idea they had private meeting rooms available – for free with minimum orders. What? And there’s another restaurant that has excellent catering services but there’s no way to request an estimate on their website. Still another has an amazing pre-planning program where your entire week of meals is prepared, packaged, and made ready for pickup but there is not one word about it on their website.
Let’s talk. Today. Seriously. The investment may be far less in dollars than you imagine and I can almost assure you the results will be worth many times the initial cost. I have one client who spent about $1800 with me 3 years ago and estimates they have generated gross revenue in excess of $60,000 just from that one investment. He’ll be happy to confirm this when you’re ready to take the next real step to becoming a contender.