If you’re thinking about a new website for your cafe or restaurant, or perhaps you are researching to create your very first, we’ve got some ideas to help you create a successful website that will provide a great impression.
Not all websites are perfect. Some websites are flash, but are outdated. Some websites you can’t open on your mobile phone, which is annoying, considering restaurant recommendations are often given whilst out and about with friends. Or worse still, you rock up at a restaurant and waitress gives you some blank stare after you say you booked online.
By following these simple steps you can ensure your cafe or restaurant website will be functional and successful.
I don’t want to navigate through badly designed pages to try and find out where the cafe is, what the phone number is, or to have a glance at the menu. Put the most important info on your homepage, or at least easy to read links to it. Use the top right for the phone number and address, links to the menu (which is on the page rather than a download), and really clearly defined navigation.
This for me is a biggie. From my background in restaurant management, one of the most embarrassing things someone could say to me was, “the menu on the website is from last month.” And for you as guests, it just really sucks. My best friend is pregnant and is quite the fussy eater. She is one of those people that will scour the web trying to find that elusive meal that will satisfy her and her interesting eating habits. Please put a current menu on your website and save me the frustration of the long winded complaint to the manager about why she needs a current menu. Please also display it as a user friendly page that can be read, not downloaded so that even my 93 year grandmother can read it.
Ah, yes, the Snobby stare still haunts me. If you are not going to answer the emails for reservations, only accept phone bookings but be aware you are cutting out a huge chunk of people who use their smart phones or computer for everything. It doesn’t have to be reservations, just a contact or a booking request. And if you are stating on your website that you will confirm the booking, do it.
Maps people, maps! Yes, you know those great little maps that then are linked to Google so you can get directions from whereever you are to the front door, with an annoying voice along the way telling you to “take the next left in 300m”. I am one of those people who does not like to be late. Even worse, if I turn up at your cafe or restaurant and have been given dodgy directions from friends, do I blame them? Maybe momentarily, then the blame shifts to the establishment that should have provided me with clear directions on how to get there. Not a good start at all.
Got an award or review for being awesome? People love to be able to have a review that they can read and if it is from somepone famous, even better. Keep it rescent, not one from 4 years ago. Displaying old information and content is a no no, unless you have got all of the awards since then too. It just screams, we were good, but now, we aren’t.
Is there a special day or event coming up? Think, Melbourne cup, valentines day, mothers day, Christmas or a live performance. On these special days, give your guests a heads up the menu will be different, and include the menu, prices relating to the menu, and any other booking requirements. Most people don’t understand that your staff during lunch or dinner are busy. So when they ring and ask about an event, your staff will start giving them the run down. It is wasting precious time that could have been better spent running food, or up selling the red headed lady who has been drinking Chardonnay and now really, really wants a full bodied red to go with her scotchie. Yes, I am that red head who wants her wine yesterday and with a recommendation.
Please also give me a a visual of the food and the setting. If you don’t, I will look up other reviews, and will simply read what others have written. For me this is great. For you, not so great. Most people only review when they have had a bad experience. If I cant find out from you what to expect, I will continue searching until I am done.
So really, it isn’t that hard to create a cafe or restaurant website that is functional and by god, a good one. Just remember these simple tips and you are set to jet and start cooking with fire. Sorry, couldn’t help it.