As a restaurant owner, you’ve signed up for a life in which you will wear many hats. Whereas one day you will be in charge of quality control, customer service and managing staff, the next you may be fixing a leak in your basement, or taking meetings with beer reps.
One hat that is often forgotten is the one for the web developer. In this internet age, when consumers research their eating out options on their phone or on their browser, having a functional and comprehensive website for your restaurant should not be overlooked. Here’s some key functionality that you should be sure to include when launching (or revamping) your online presence.
To state the obvious, the first thing anyone is going to look for on your site is your menu. If you have different menus for different times of day, make sure to put them on separate pages and clearly mark when they are available. Prices should be clearly displayed, but the amount of description to include of each menu item is dependent on your restaurant brand. Some only include a few words, others go into great detail about every ingredient.
An Accurate Map
People need to be able to find your restaurant. Have the address prominently displayed, as well as a clear link to a google map.
A Reservation Form
Of all the actions you want people to take on your website, making a reservation is the most valuable. They’re committing to giving you some of their money! Make sure this form (or a link to it) is clearly visible on all pages of your site.
A Contact Us Form
No website is perfect, so you should give your visitors a way to reach out to you. If they have been searching unsuccessfully for some information that isn’t on your website, providing a contact form gives you an opportunity to answer any questions they might have, instead of having them leave frustrated.
Social Media Integration (Done Right)
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all a common part of restaurant websites, but what channel you use should depend on where your regular clientele spend their time. If customers are taking photographs of your food and sharing it on Instagram, you should have an Instagram account. Beware, though, social media accounts are dangerous - they can often suck time away from much more impactful tasks, so be sure they’re adding real value to your business.