How to Create a Sizzling Restaurant Website: The Complete Guide
Julia Child once said, “people who love to eat are always the best people.” As a restaurant owner, you definitely have a first hand experience of this. But even for the most avid of foodies, a restaurant is about so much more than delicacies alone. From your drool-worthy plating, to impeccable service and perfect ambience, there are so many factors that play a part in making your restaurant as good as it is.
On top of that list of restaurant must-haves is, you guessed it, creating a restaurant website. A strong and professional online presence has the power to put you at the top of your game and get customers booking tables, ordering in, and sharing the experience with their friends. Luckily, cooking up the perfect website for your restaurant doesn’t necessarily require coding or design skills. Simply follow the steps below to create the website of your dreams all on your own.
Whether you serve nachos and guac or avocado toast and matcha, we got you covered with this complete step-by-step guide to launching your very own restaurant website:
Gather up inspiration and ideas
Plan out your content
Choose a mouth-watering template
Get your website on brand
Make sure you're mobile friendly
Mind your SEO
Ask for feedback
Shout it from the rooftops
01. Gather up inspiration and ideas
Inspiration can strike outside of the kitchen, too. Read up on the latest web design trends and browse through restaurant websites that you especially like. Keep an eye out for websites of establishments in your proximity, or ones with a dining style similar to yours. You can also take a peek at this collection of restaurant website templates for inspiring ideas, or to use for yourself and fully customize to fit your needs.
As you look through these restaurant websites and templates, make a mental note of why you find them so appealing, and what you think can be made better. These insights will prove useful in creating your own website. You can then start brainstorming any ideas you may have for your site. Do you envision a full-screen photo welcoming your visitors, or do you prefer to start with only a logo? Do you want your visitors to navigate through the website using a menu, or by scrolling down on a single, long-scroll page? With ideas such as these starting to take shape, you can begin to plan out your site’s structure.
02. Plan out your content
Approaching the preparation of a meal without choosing its ingredients first is the web design equivalent of not deciding on the pages or sections you’d like your website to include before visiting the Editor. Think of what information you want to provide your visitors with (anything from opening hours to a photo gallery) and what actions you’d like them to be able to perform (such as reserving a table).
To ease you through the decision making process, here’s our list of recommended pages for a restaurant website. You can, of course, add or detract from this list to best reflect your business, but consider these options a great place to start:
Homepage: As the entryway to your site, your homepage is your one chance at a first impression. This section should be clean and uncluttered, providing only the most concise information which visitors need to know straight away. Your business name, meaning the name of restaurant, should be placed prominently and followed by a smaller tagline that explains the service you provide. Finally, adding one or two eye-catching visuals to your homepage is always a good practice for hooking visitors.
Menu: The food you serve is the essence of your business, and should therefore be at the core of your website, too. Entice your visitor’s appetite with your selection of dishes, while also mentioning prices and specials. With the Wix Restaurant Menu app, you can create a menu that looks great on both desktop and mobile, and is even search-engine friendly. Make sure your menu is laid out in a way that is clear and intuitive. For improved readability, consider adding photos of your dishes or dividing the menu up by sections.
Gallery: We eat with our eyes first, which is a good enough reason to show off your cuisine in all its glory. Get visitors in the right mood with delicious-looking photographs of your food, restaurant, and maybe even a glimpse inside the closed doors of your kitchen. The Wix Pro Gallery features photos in their optimal resolution on both desktop and mobile, and allows you to choose from a variety of layout designs. If you run an active Instagram account for your restaurant, you can seamlessly integrate your Instagram Feed onto your site, keeping your content as fresh and up-to-date as your social feed.
Reservations: What better way to get customers in the door than to allow them to book a table right from your website? Relying on walk-ins and phone calls alone is ineffective for any business, and results in untapped potential. Wix Reservations allows visitors to pick their time, day, and party size when they book a table. Then, it follows up with an automatic email and text confirmation once you’ve accepted their reservation. As the business owner, you’ll be able to manage all reservations and collect customer information online, with no cover fee.
Delivery orders: If your business offers takeout or delivery, your website is nothing short of a golden opportunity to reach more customers. Use Wix Restaurants Orders to create a friendly and easy-to-use interface that allows customers to pick their favorite dishes directly from your delivery menu. They can pay and tip from any device or split the bill between friends, and even order in advance. With this 100% commission free tool, the control over your orders remains solely in your hands. You can decide on delivery areas, receive notifications on every incoming order, accept and manage all orders on the go, and so much more.
Contact: Before your customers get too ‘hangry,’ make sure they have everything they need to get in touch with you. Add a separate page or section that includes all relevant contact information. Mention your opening hours, location(s), phone number, email, and link to your social media accounts. You can also add a contact form or subscription form to your newsletter, if you have one.
On top of creating a contact page, place your most important contact information in the footer of your website (the bottom part, which shows up on all pages of the website) so that it’s easily accessible from every page. Your footer can include your opening hours, phone number, address and social media links.
About: The ‘About’ or ‘Our Story’ page is your place to share a little of what makes your restaurant so unique. Write about the background story of your business, your expertise, mission and values. You might also want to introduce your team members and tell each of their individual stories. Let your site visitors get a feel for your restaurant, its people, and the ideas behind it, so that they’ll feel right at home even before stopping by.
Testimonials: This one is optional, but if any of your customers have ever raved about your life changing macaroons, or if any publication has ever wrote a review glorifying your exceptional service, don’t miss out on the free PR work. Customers view unbiased reviews as a highly reliable source of information, so add flattering quotes, and don’t forget to name the source for extra credibility.
03. Choose a mouth-watering template
You don’t have to be a web designer in order to make your website look as appetizing as your dishes. Instead, browse through a selection of designer-crafted restaurant and food templates to find the one that’s right for your business and is in line with your aesthetics and needs. Each template is fully customizable so that you can use it as-is, or as a starting point to play around with and reach the results you’ve envisioned. From small tweaks to downright makeovers, these templates are yours for the taking.
In case you prefer to go down a quicker route, Wix ADI can launch your website for you in a matter of minutes. Simply answer a few questions so that the artificial design intelligence (ADI) tool can gather information about your business, the type of website you’d like and even your favorite colors. Then, watch a website materialize into cyber existence right in front of your eyes.
04. Get your website on brand
We know that your restaurant was thought out down to the last detail. You made sure that the napkins would be color coordinated with the takeaway bags, and had the specials of the day hand lettered in your finest chalk handwriting. To create a professional website, the same careful attention to branding and visual language should also be carried over onto your website, by looking after the following elements:
Add your logo: This is the first step in branding your website in order to make it distinctly and unmistakably yours. A logo serves as a little visual anchor that customers associate with your brand. If you don’t already have one, you can easily create a logo with the Wix Logo Maker. On the same topic, make sure to also add a favicon (the small icon at the top of your browser) which can be a smaller version of your logo or even just one part of it, such as an initial.
Define your visual language: Every element on your website should feel on brand, which means that they all have to align under the same visual language. To do this, choose a limited color palette and a set amounts of fonts for your website. Restrict your use of color to one main color and two to three accent colors in order to achieve a cohesive feel. Choose colors that evoke the right emotions to go with your establishment. For an organic coffee shop, for example, you might want to use a palette of greens and neutrals that give off a healthy and fresh vibe. For a pizza parlor, however, you might prefer a more appropriate warmer palette of reds and yellows.
This same frame of thought should be applied to the fonts used on your website. Here too, pick three fonts at the very most. Choose one font as your primary, to be used across titles and headers, another as the secondary to be used in your running text (for the majority of your writing and all paragraphs), and an optional third accent font (used less often, such as in sub-headers, buttons and navigational menu, etc.).
Get a domain: Your domain name is the address to your website, such as www.wix.com. Your domain name should be the name of your restaurant, and preferably include a keyword that is affiliated with what you do (like the type of cuisine you serve, or the name of your town). For more information, consult this guide to choosing the right domain name for your website.
05. Make sure you’re mobile friendly
More and more people today browse the internet from their smartphones. Optimizing your website for mobile is essential in making sure that it’s accessible even on the go (or alternatively, from the living room couch for an especially indulgent takeout order). All Wix sites are automatically converted into a mobile version, but it’s still worth going over yours to make changes as you see fit.
Remember that for the ideal mobile browsing experience, it’s better to simplify your content and navigation. Try to strip down your site down to its bare necessities, removing extra content so that it looks its best even on the much smaller, mobile screen. Ensure that all font sizes and colors remain legible on mobile too.
Note that all different Wix Restaurants features, such as the Menus, Orders, and Reservations apps, all come optimized for mobile, so you can easily run your business from any device.
06. Mind your SEO
As gorgeous and user-friendly as your website may be, for it to be truly effective in bringing in new customers, you want it to show up on search results - and in a high ranking position, at that. Through the process of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), you can give your site a little boost whenever anyone searches the web for a business similar to yours.
The Wix SEO Wiz can help in creating a personalized SEO strategy tailored to your needs, guiding you through processes such as picking keywords for your website, adding alt text to images and more. For additional information on SEO, check out our guide to getting found on Google, Bing and the likes.
As a restaurant owner, it’s likely that your main area of focus should be your local SEO. As we now turn to Google to answer all of our daily questions, such as where to get our next cup of coffee from or where to go for ice cream, it’s crucial that you sign your place up to Google my Business. This way, if you run an ice cream parlor in Austin, Texas, you’ll have much better chances of showing up on searches for ‘ice cream in Austin,’ ‘best ice cream in Austin,’ and so forth.
07. Ask for feedback
Good job, you’re almost done! Now, just one final check before publishing your website: Preview the site for any broken links, spelling mistakes, or other errors. You can then publish, but don’t share it for all to see just yet. Send the link to just a few trusted friends for their thorough review and scrutiny.
Ask your fans to report back with honest feedback on their experience, whether they ran into any navigation problems or if they were able to catch any others mistakes. You can even have them book a table in your restaurant or order a meal, going through the online process from start to finish, in order to double check that everything runs smoothly and as planned. It’s much better to spot those mistakes now and with friends than at the hands of your customers.
08. Shout it from the rooftops
Your restaurant website is now live and kicking, and your customers should be in the know. Start by sharing the news of your new website on your social media channels. Additionally, link to your site from the profile section on each of your social channels (such as your Instagram Bio and Facebook About section).
You could do some real life sharing, too, by incorporating your URL into your restaurant’s branding, such as on business cards, delivery menus and more. Check out some more proactive ideas on our guide to promoting your website for free.
Once your site is out in the world, don’t let it slide down your list of priorities. Every once in a while, freshen things up with new and up-to-date content. If you release a seasonal menu for autumn, for example, add it to your website with a beautiful photo to go along (and remember to take it down when the time comes).
Make sure your website reflects the most accurate information, and revise your info in case you change opening hours, open a new location, or need to share any other update. And lastly, brace yourself, as orders are about to come flooding in. Table for two, please!
By Eden Spivak
Design Expert & Writer