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6 Best Practices for Restaurant Websites

Today’s diner wants and expects more from a restaurant’s website. From mobile capabilities to a digitally driven online ordering system, customers want to connect without calling and know without asking. Is your restaurant evolving with the new technology that is available? A blasÉ attitude towards technology could be costing you customers. Review these best practices from Netwaiter  for your restaurant’s website to see where you stand.

1. Create a static page for your menu.
No one wants to download a file (i.e. PDF) just to view your menu. Your website should include a static page that clearly displays menu items with a brief description of each. Include prices and a comprehensive key that dictates gluten-free and low-calorie options, as well as which dishes are house specialties. When customers can answer the majority of questions by simply scrolling through the website, it simplifies the decision making process when deciding where to eat. If they can’t easily find what they are looking for, they’ll look elsewhere.

2. Blog about it.
If your website doesn’t have a blog, it’s time to change that. Adding a blog and updating it regularly benefits your business in a multitude of ways. By adding new content to your site, and including highly searched keywords, your website will rank higher on search results — ultimately bringing more and new traffic to your website and restaurant. A blog can also serve as a news platform, providing your patrons with information about upcoming events, specials and new menu items. When an announcement requires more than a few words or a photo, adding a blog post and sharing it on social media allows you to provide more details to interested customers.

3. Make it easy to order online.
Many restaurants rely heavily on their takeout and delivery because it allows a business to increase sales without increasing staff or seating. Offering online ordering benefits your restaurant even more. Customers love the convenience and control that online ordering provides. Allowing customers the ability to order online or from their mobile device yields more orders and larger orders. Online ordering also reduces the number of errors, typically a result of miscommunication over the phone.

4. Offer online reservations.
For the same reason many people prefer texting to phone calls, some of your customers would rather make a reservation online than call you. With this option, they are able to make a reservation from anywhere and at any time. You can set up a system through your own website, or use a third-party service that will manage your reservations for you. Connecting with digitally savvy customers also gives you an opening to direct them to your social media and urge them to write online reviews.

5. Let photos say what you can’t.
You could describe the atmosphere of your restaurant with the utmost detail or say how fresh your seafood is a hundred times, but it will never be more powerful than a photo. Your website should include a photo gallery that paints a picture of what it’s like to dine at your restaurant. From the exterior building to the interior dÉcor to your best menu items, create a virtual experience that invites the viewer in and entices them to want more. High quality photos are important to emphasize how good your restaurant truly is.

6. Have a mobile-friendly website
When developing your website, it’s important to consider your mobile patrons. Customers rely on their phones to help them make dining decisions like finding a location, reading reviews, and browsing menus. Having a website that doesn’t function on a mobile device disconnects you from the on-the-go customer that wants information wherever life takes them. 
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