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9 ways to cater websites to restaurant clients (and add more to your roster)

A restaurant's website builds a rapport with patrons even before a reservation is made or an order is placed.

Design by Alice Korenyouk

Profile picture of Joe O Connor

1.30.2024

8 min read

Whether you’ve been providing web services to restaurant clients for years or your deepest insights into the industry come from watching The Bear, you’ll have a sense of the blood, sweat and tears that restaurant owners put into their businesses. With the number of plates they’re spinning at any one time, the less they have to think about their company’s tech and digital presence—the better.


And tech is becoming ever more critical for restaurants. Deloitte’s Future of Restaurants report anticipates large-scale changes on the horizon, including a digital tsunami of algorithms and automation. These changes will shape the competitive landscape for restaurants and create a greater need to innovate, which presents a massive opportunity for agencies.


Whether you already have a client list packed with eateries or possess an appetite for their business, here are nine ways to cater to your restaurant clients.



1. Remove the friction

As consumer preference for digital channels continues to grow, providing a frictionless digital experience remains a must for restaurants. In 2023, 40% of consumers opted to order directly from a restaurant website versus 13% who expressed a preference for third-party apps or websites, according to Deloitte.


That’s to say, consumers want their ordering and booking experience to be quick and hassle-free. To achieve this, keep customers within the singular site and brand experience you craft for your client. Make the user journey super streamlined and straightforward to match user intent: navigating menu, checkout and pay functions must be clear.


Avoid adding hyperlinks to online ordering partners, which not only creates a disjointed user experience but also starves your client of tracking and conversion information. Sometimes, it even sends customers to a marketplace full of client competitors.


Wix Studio’s Restaurants offering is seamlessly built into your client’s site. It means visitors have everything they need in one place—including multiple fulfillment options such as pickup, delivery, curbside pickup, and contactless dine-in—delivered with zero friction and from one brand.


Removing the friction not only works for customers but has a big impact on your client’s bottom line. Having first-party online ordering with Wix cuts out commissions charged by third-party delivery services (sometimes as high as 30%), leaving your clients to pocket 100% of the proceeds.



2. Help them get to know their customers

One of the biggest challenges restaurant owners face today is knowing who their customers are. That’s where user data comes in: it helps clients better understand consumer habits and deliver an exceptional, personalized customer experience that turns first-timers into regulars. And what better place to collect that data than through their website?


With a built-in CRM system, your clients can get intel on whether it’s a customer’s first time buying or their 100th, what they order, their table preferences, allergies and so much more. Wix’s new Online Orders and Table Reservations apps, for instance, provide insights that help restaurants better identify their clientele and engage with them with the right info, on the right channel, at the right time.


Remember, marketplaces like UberEats and DoorDash retain all customer data for themselves, so having a CRM integration means your client’s valuable data is not going to waste.


A yellow website page for a restaurant called Fleur where you can book a reservation. The UI lets you select your party size, the date of your reservation, and select an available time slot.
This website template on Wix Studio features Wix's Table Reservations app.

3. Master the menus

The first port of call for most visitors to a restaurant website is checking what’s on the menu—making it the perfect place for your client to shine.


As an agency, you know all about avoiding clutter, keeping on brand, using high-quality imagery and making font accessible, but there’s more than design principles to consider when crafting your client’s menu. Using their sales data, help them optimize their menus for profitability by analyzing the popularity and cost of each menu item. It will determine which dishes to feature prominently and which ones to consider dropping.


Rather than uploading their menu as a PDF, create it directly on a webpage so that it’s mobile-friendly (75% of Wix Restaurant menus are opened on mobile) and searchable. Studio’s Menus app enables restaurants to display their catalog dynamically and boost their site’s SEO. It also supports multilingual capabilities, so clients can easily display their menus in multiple languages, while the new layout and customization options allow even the smallest clients to feel like they’re getting a bespoke and enterprise-level offering.


The menu for day spa and restaurant The Benev, built on Wix Studio by Australian agency Arta Design, has a veritable buffet of best practices you can draw from. Not only is its soft, minimalist design with clean typography easy on the eye, but it’s created directly on the site. You’ll notice no dollar signs on each item’s price—an industry marketing trick to keep customers focused on the experience, not the cost.


A webpage of Fleur's menu. On the left, an image of one of their dishes (it has asparagus, whipped cheese, arugula and sauce), and the full menu options or on the right.
The Menus App in this Wix Studio website template simplifies the creation of dishes, with room for tempting food visuals.

4. Turn one-off customers into regulars

Being able to transform first-time visitors into loyal customers is at the core of any successful restaurant, as it increases repeat revenue, encourages word-of-mouth marketing and builds a community that provides valuable feedback. For consumers, they’ll stay loyal once they get something in return.


Work with your client to create and customize a loyalty program to suit their customers. Choose a title for their rewards program, give the points a unique name and make them feel like they’re part of something special.


Wix’s new Online Orders system and Loyalty Program integration allows restaurants to create and manage promotions, discounts and coupons for their customers with the click of a button—choosing between pre-populated suggestions and custom campaigns. Gift cards are also a surefire way to generate return business. You can set your client up to accept them by adding a gift card page to their site.


Content is another effective tool for building a community. Schedule a regular newsletter to share your client’s news, updates and special offers. Using Wix’s CRM, restaurants can easily create automated marketing campaigns to ensure customers never miss a promotion. Encourage your clients to stay engaged with online reviews to make customers feel valued. Also, consider introducing weekly specials to promote on your client’s site, like the one Edge Creative Studio created for Italian restaurant Forsetta using Wix Studio.



5. Win them back time

Restaurant owners are well known for being time-poor. If your agency can take menial tasks off your client’s plate so they can focus on creating the best dining experience, you’ve made your agency a valuable asset.


One way to do this is through automation. Set your client up to send customized emails, welcome messages and receipts, confirm reservations, award customers with loyalty points and assign tasks to their team using automations in their CRM. Also, set up automatic reminders for customers with reservations to avoid costly no-shows.


Restaurant owners shouldn’t be confined to their desks to run their businesses. With the Wix Owner app, they can manage orders and reservations in real-time, update their menus, and engage with their community on the go directly from their phone.



6. Get them diversified

You won’t find many businesses running on tighter margins than restaurants. Following turbulent times during the pandemic, restaurant owners are looking beyond their core dining business to develop new revenue streams. Agencies need to think outside the box and add more functionality to their client sites to create new business opportunities.


A good place to start is scoping out what inventory or services your clients can monetize. With Studio, you can use Wix Stores to add an eCommerce capability to their site to sell and ship trademark items like sauces, condiments and frozen goods.


If your client has a strong brand identity, consider their potential to produce and sell branded merchandise like Wix Partner Mixed Handed Branding helped its client Butcher & Bird do. They could follow in the footsteps of restaurant chains like Taco Bell, Chipotle and Sweetgreen, which found major success in new merchandising ventures.


Also, think about niche services your client can offer like pizza classes, private events or sushi-making workshops. Adding Wix Bookings to their site will give them the functionality they need. If catering is a potential side hustle, Wix Online Orders enables restaurants to offer larger, bulk orders for enterprise customers. Subscription services for meal kits and premium recipes are among other revenue streams to explore.



7. Encourage clear, sustainable messaging

According to Mintel’s 2024 Global Consumer Trends report, consumers increasingly recognize that a passive approach to the climate crisis is not enough to tackle environmental challenges. They want to see brands innovate and show how they’re pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Empty messaging or greenwashing just won’t cut it.


Does your client use sustainable practices like efficient food waste management or environmentally friendly packaging? Put it front and center on their website, and if they can measure its impact, share the metrics. Does it use locally sourced ingredients? Add supplier names for each dish on their menu.


Many enterprise brands like Sweetgreen, who aim to be carbon neutral by 2027, Five Guys and Dig Inn are leading the way by highlighting the sustainability of their products and how they’re sourced. Ask your restaurant clients the right questions, get to know how they work and help them effectively communicate the good they do for the planet. They’ll thank you for the new environmentally conscious customers they attract and the brand image they enhance.



8. Connect the physical with digital

When developing a restaurant’s online presence, you’ve got to make the connection between the website and the physical establishment as seamless as possible. While most agencies won’t have the luxury of stepping into a client’s premises to get the vibe of the place, they can draw on imagery, video and the client’s story to tease out the brand personality and build a site that feels like a natural extension of the physical space. Just like any dish, consistency is key.


Some agencies will create new restaurant brands from scratch to work across different mediums. Studio NinetyOne is one creative studio that nailed this. They were tasked with creating the branding for a UK-based Cantonese restaurant, Three Uncles. The studio’s approach was to balance Eastern traditionalism and Western modernism to create an authentic Hong Kong experience with a contemporary London twist.


Built on Wix Studio, the Three Uncles website showcases a powerful brand that transcends the borders between physical and digital. As the agency explains on its site, it uses bold typography to represent Hong Kong’s neon street signs and high-rise buildings, half-tone portrait images taken from the founders’ private family archives to add nostalgia to the story, and bespoke animal icons to inject a modern feel.


The more you understand your client’s brand, the more alignment between in-person and online you’ll achieve, but always make sure assets and elements like logos, themes, graphics and color schemes stay consistent across the two. Using candid shots of your client’s team in the restaurant is also a subtle way to connect the dots.



The Wix Studio-built site from creative studio Disruptive highlights its expertise in creating and scaling hospitality brands.


9. Speak their language

The best agencies catering to restaurants are knowledgeable about sector-related web design trends, tech, and best practices. Your client’s business is your business, so stay up to date with news and share industry reports with them and on your social channels. It will help differentiate you from run-of-the-mill, catch-all-client agencies.


If you’ve worked with multiple restaurants in the past, create a standalone page on your site showcasing your work and develop case studies that outline the journeys from restaurant brief to online brand. Food and drink creative agency Tableside Creatives neatly lays out selected client projects that “unite research, strategy and creative firepower” in the Work section of its site.


Take inspo from creative studio Disruptive by placing a strong emphasis on your story and creating a fast-paced digital experience that reflects the industry. Through immersive, engaging scrolls, modern design and relatable content, its Wix Studio-built site highlights its expertise in creating and scaling hospitality brands and presents a compelling proposition to restaurant owners looking for “a creative team that just gets it.”


Keep an eye out for new Wix Studio integrations coming soon that connect your client sites with leading third-party restaurant systems to facilitate faster onboarding, streamlined operations and a more powerful management experience.

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