5 things that diners look for on a restaurant website
13 Comments Tiny Bites ConsultingMarch 3, 2009
We pulled from personal experiences and the testament of our network to highlight some of the key pieces of info that people look for when visiting a restaurant’s website.
If your restaurant has been recommended by a trusted source, it’s likely that your site visitor already knows who you are and what you serve. But don’t leave it to chance. Have an easy to find summary of what cuisine you deliver and the vibe your space gives off. While it’s highly convenient to have this info on your front page, you could also go into more detail on a dedicated About page.
Take a look at Fude, a restaurant in Winnipeg’s Osborne Village. A highly visual graphic header and descriptive About page tells you about their regional focus and already makes you curious to dine there.
Location and hours
Don’t make your readers work to find where you’re located and when you’re open. Many restaurant websites include this critical information at the top or bottom of every page. We like that.
If you wish to be even more helpful, list a clearly marked Location page with an embedded map (a Google map, for example) and link to a service that can provide custom directions.
We like how Seattle’s Le Pichet does it.
Online menu and pricing
One of the first things we do when choosing a restaurant from a list of possibilities is to compare menus. Some nights call for a culinary adventure. Other times, humble, homestyle meal will hit the spot. Let site visitors easily figure out what you serve and what you charge.
It may seem easier for you to upload your menus as a PDF download, but your site is not for your convenience: it’s for your customer’s convenience. The best restaurant websites let people peruse the listings as a regular page that loads quickly and is easy to scan.
We love the menu section of Seasons 52.
Photos of your food and space
Although your menu may describe your dishes well and clarify price range, people still want to know what to expect when they walk in the door and when a plate is set in front of them.
To prove that your meals entice, use vibrant food photography from the home page to the deepest corners of your site. Have a special gallery of your wares and decor if you have a collection of great photos. Don’t let your visitors leave your site without craving what you make.
Browse through the photo gallery of Atlanta’s South City Kitchen and see if you can leave it without a little rumble in your tummy.
Reservation instructions or contact info
If a diner has been won over by the allure of your restaurant, a search for phone numbers, email addresses, or reservations instructions may result. Consider integrating a real-time reservation application into your restaurant’s contact section. People do appreciate the convenience.
Common search obstacles
People do not go to restaurant websites to look for:
- Splash screens
- Menus in unusual places
Often, the items above interfere with a diner’s hunt for these 5 things, causing your reader enough frustration to result in a lost table.
It’s time to chat. Please respond to the questions below or let us know which restaurant sites are doing a good job of fulfilling your information search quickly.
Diners: what else do you go to a restaurant website for?
Restauranteurs: how easy does your site make it to find these 5 things? What else do you offer at your restaurant that you promote on your website?