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Ten Things All Restaurant Websites Should Have

I eat out quite a bit, and I have avoided a lot of restaurants that offer up a subpar web experience. Even though many of these establishments might have great food, if I can’t accomplish simple tasks like finding out if you are open, looking at your menu, or finding your location, I am probably not going to make the effort to come in for dinner.

It is understandable that restaurants don’t always have the greatest websites. The owners and operators are passionate about food and the experience they offer, and don’t often have the expertise or time to focus on marketing or technology in general. That being said, there are plenty of major high end restaurants with plenty of resources (even including expensive top end chains) that are losing a lot of business because of poor website experiences that lack basic information about the property.

All restaurant websites should include the following to ten items, while ensuring these basic items are easily accessible from the homepage.

  1. Restaurant address / link to map & directions
  2. Restaurant phone number, contact email, and online reservations if possible
  3. Hours of operation
  4. HTML and PDF versions of the menu
  5. Current specials or offers
  6. Links to social properties/ offers, or social status updates posted by the restaurant
  7. A description of the food/experience/niche
  8. Misc. items of importance (dress code, credit cards taken etc…)
  9. A mobile version, or responsive/mobile-viewable capabilities, with a click-to-call enabled phone number
  10. Optimized meta data – Avoid generic tags like “Welcome” or “Home” and include the name of the establishment along with the type of cuisine and the location i.e. “{Restaurant Name} – Boston Italian Restaurant”

Once main requirements are taken care of, there are also a few items that would be considered “nice to have”:

  1. Photo gallery – Include pictures of the establishment, cuisine, etc…
  2. A description of the background of owners, chefs etc…
  3. Information about nutritional information, or details for ingredients in menu items – in some cities and states restaurants are actually required to include things like calorie counts for menu items
  4. A page with reviews, testimonials, links to 3rd party sites like Yelp (if reviews are positive)
  5. Online ordering capabilities (for restaurants with a good amount of takeout/delivery business)

And there are a few common things you might find on restaurant websites that should never be there.

Three things restaurant websites should never have:

  1. Music or sound
  2. A welcome or splash page
  3. Heavy flash based content

Making some simple changes to a restaurant’s website could lead to a lot more walk in traffic, reservations, and ultimately sales.

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