Spain is undoubtedly one of the most appreciated countries for its gastronomy, which attracts both national and foreign customers who visit us. Due to this great demand for hospitality services, competition has been multiplying and the gastronomic offer has grown to such an extent that differentiation has become necessary.
Consumer tastes have also changed over time. Nowadays, people are no longer just looking for good food and customers are looking for an authentic gastronomic experience, which combines factors such as the premises, the service, the kitchenware, the quality of the products and, of course, the way they are prepared.
However, this experience must go even further and be transferred to the communication carried out by the establishment, starting with its website.
Of course, not all restaurants are the same and do not have the same resources, but in this article we will give some general guidelines to create the perfect website for your restaurant.
Image is everything
We are all aware that “we eat through our eyes” and a restaurant’s website must offer an unparalleled visual experience. Therefore, one of the first things to take into account when designing the website is to have an important bank of images of the best quality that show the restaurant, its context and, of course, its dishes.
In general, this is the most expensive part of the project, since these photographs must be taken by one or several professionals, considering that food photography is a highly specialized art. However, it is also true that this file of images will serve to promote the establishment far beyond the website, and can be used in other promotional media.
The design of the web site
In many occasions, the website will be the first contact of a potential customer with the restaurant. This is where their gastronomic experience begins and they must be able to enjoy it from the very moment they land on the website.
This requires an adequate navigation structure, providing the user with easy access to all the information he may require, and with an attractive design in line with the restaurant’s philosophy.
Thus, aspects such as the premises, the menu, the location or reservations must be within easy reach during the user’s navigation.
Components of a restaurant website
Below, we will describe some of the modules or sections that should be included in restaurant websites.
No two premises are the same and restaurateurs make important efforts to differentiate their premises from others. Depending on the characteristics of the premises, we can find different environments in which to live different experiences. The terraces, so important in our country due to its excellent weather, the bar, where to alternate having an aperitif or a drink, the dining room, where the gastronomic experience reaches its climax, as well as other rooms such as lounges or reserved areas, should be shown with the images we have already mentioned, in addition to suggestive texts where to explain the experiences that each of them has.
In most restaurant websites this section is absent. And that is an important mistake. As we have already mentioned, nowadays the customer is looking for an experience and not just a good meal. And service is a very important part of that experience.
From the welcome from the owner or director of the restaurant, to the presentation of the chef or chefs, to the head waiters, sommeliers or waiters, an expectation of professional treatment must be generated so that the customer feels like the protagonist of the experience.
Raw materials are fundamental in culinary techniques. For this reason, references to the main products with which the dishes are prepared, their origin or provenance, their treatment and preservation, or the benefits of all kinds that their use entails, help to complement the user’s experience, facilitating his decision making.
Obviously the menu (or menus) is a must on a restaurant’s website. At least two menus should be considered, food and wine, although there may be many more: desserts, beers, tapas, etc, depending on the specificities of each establishment.
Since the pandemic, when paper menus were forced to be replaced by their digital counterparts, this has become a standard content on most restaurant websites.
A menu should contain sufficient information about each of the products offered, beyond the name and price. It is important to reflect other data, such as possible allergens, a brief description of the product and possible combinations with other products offered.
Of course, a picture of the dish or the bottle label is highly recommended.
The menu is one of the most complex components and may require frequent modifications, mainly those related to prices. For this reason, there must be an easy way to edit the contents related to each product available on the menu.
The take away
The confinement during the pandemic led many restaurants to become e-commerce, selling their products outside their establishments and taking them to their customers’ homes.
This led to the transformation of many restaurant websites into e-commerce platforms for online ordering. Others partnered with specialized delivery companies to transport their products.
Today, once the pandemic is over, many restaurants have maintained this type of service as another line of business and an extension of their establishments.
This has led to the inclusion of an order button on menus, a shopping cart or basket on websites, and a checkout system similar to that of any other e-commerce platform.
Alternatively, other restaurants have opted to integrate their products into delivery platforms, further highlighting the need for good photos and product cards.
Reservations are a fundamental part of the life of a restaurant. Knowing in advance the number and distribution of customers helps to successfully manage supply, kitchen and dining room operations.
Traditionally, reservations have been made by telephone and, occasionally, in person. Although telephone reservations are still the main channel for attracting customers, electronic reservations are becoming increasingly important.
Nowadays, reservations can also come from a form on the website itself or from platforms specialized in this type of activity, multiplying the number of channels that enable a user to make a reservation.
This is causing many restaurants to abandon the traditional paper “reservation book” for one in digital format.
Since a restaurant has a physical location, it is very important to let the user know its location. Regardless of whether it appears in location services, such as the old Google My Business, currently Company Profiles, the website should contain sufficient information not only to reach the restaurant, but also about the different ways to get there (bus or subway lines) or additional services (valet parking or nearby parking lots).
Contact forms or pages are usually useful mainly for potential suppliers who wish to contact the establishment. They can also be used to make reservations, although they should coexist with a reservation form that allows this action to be carried out in a more organized way.
Reviews and ratings
Although in recent years the value of reviews or ratings has been questioned, they still serve to guide potential customers. Generally, these reviews come from third-party platforms, such as Google or TripAdvisor, although this information is easy to integrate into the website itself.
The home page
We have deliberately left this section for last. The home page is usually the most trafficked page on a restaurant’s website. Consequently, it should have at least two essential functions.
On the one hand, it should support the restaurant’s value proposition, indicating why the customer experience will be unique and satisfactory, differentiating it from the value propositions of other competitors.
On the other hand, it should serve as a summary of the different areas or modules that make up the website, inviting the user to visit each of them and raising the expectation of what they will find.
The blog in a corporate website is a double-edged sword: if it is kept updated, it can be a great tool for sales and positioning in search engines. On the other hand, it requires a great deal of maintenance effort to produce photos and text that are of interest to potential customers.
It makes a very bad impression when you access a restaurant’s blog and see that its contents have not been updated for months or even years. If there is no real commitment to maintain a dynamic blog (content calendar), it is preferable to do without it (as with social networks).
At wabisabu we can create the perfect website for your restaurant
At wabisabu we have been designing websites for restaurants for several years. This has allowed us to offer a comprehensive service that starts from the realization of the necessary photo shoots to the development, implementation and technical maintenance of the website.
If you are opening a new restaurant or you need to renew your website, contact us. We can help you.