Restaurant websites have become infamous for their outdated designs, and frustrating user experience. How many times have you visited a restaurant website and asked, “What was this web designer thinking?”
We see the same (often laughable) problems again and again: background music as you skip past another Flash website “intro”; PDF food menus (or no menu at all); all of the content is image-based instead of text, causing extremely slow load times. The list goes on and on…
As you would in any website design project, you must start by putting yourself in the visitor’s shoes and pinpointing their most pressing needs. For restaurants, we know that visitors want to easily browse the food menu. They want to know the restaurant’s location and it’s operating hours. They want to see a few photos to get a feel for the interior dining experience. Many of those visitors want to access all of this using their mobile phones.
It amazes me that in 2012, so many restaurant websites still fail to meet the most essential must-haves that visitors have come to expect. So if you manage a restaurant, or if you’re designing a website for a restaurant client, here are some essential pieces of advice.
Your company needs to go mobile, but how? With a veritable app gold rush taking place, it's hard not to be tempted to dive right into development. Should you develop a mobile app or devote your resources to optimizing your website to be viewed on mobile? A look at the strengths and weaknesses of each might help you decide.
There are still people wondering whether their business really needs a website. Or they say: we do not have a business, but a not-for-profit organization: should we have a website? Definitely! I could easily come up with 50 reasons why you need a website:
1. Promote Your Products
A website allows you to showcase your products for everyone to see. You can explain the benefits, compare it with other products, or show testimonials of happy customers that already bought the product.