The Top 5 Mistakes Restaurant Websites Make

restaurant website mistakesA good website is a really important for a restaurant. Many people visit restaurant websites before they decide to actually go and eat a food at a restaurant. A restaurant website should really offer everything a potential customer could need.

Restaurant owners, below are 5 things that I often see wrong with restaurant websites and these 5 things can really hurt your business:

1) A Website That is Not Viewable on Mobile Devices

Anytime we travel, we use various apps to determine where we might eat. They give us restaurant names and then we go to websites to look for a variety of things. Sadly many restaurants are not viewable on mobile devices, so I can’t figure out what kinds of dishes are offered, I can’t see images of the restaurant and I can’t find a phone number – because the site isn’t viewable on mobile.

FYI, mobile also includes tablets.

If website visitors can’t see a restaurant and get the information they want, via mobile, they will choose a different restaurant they can see online. Please check out your restaurant on multiple mobile devices and make sure it works well for all users.

2) Lack of Quality Images

restaurant website mistakesImages are powerful, especially on a restaurant website. It is difficult to take great pictures of food because your need to have the proper lighting, angles and camera. If a restaurant takes pictures of their food and the food doesn’t look very appetizing, the images should NOT be used on the website. The only time a food image is used is when the food looks amazing.

Food images should make people hungry:  They make people want to go to a restaurant to eat that dish. When taking pictures of food, you want to make sure everything looks beautiful – the plating, the background, the table the food is sitting on, the food should be fresh, etc.

You are trying to sell your restaurant through an image:  Perfection is important. Hire a photographer or research cameras that specialize in food (Best Buy has a couple). Also, read these tips on taking great food pictures, from one of the best, the Pioneer Woman.

3) Missing Menu(s)

You shouldn’t have a restaurant website without your menu on it. In fact, if you have multiple menus they should all be on it. I have one client that has a sushi menu, a takeout menu, a lunch menu and a dinner menu. All are available online, and they are viewable on all mobile devices.

When ordering for takeout, people need to see what their options are:  Make sure your menu(s) is available to website visitors. If you have a takeout menu, offer it in PDF form so businesses can print and share with colleagues easily before ordering. Regular menus often help people determine if they want to try out a new restaurant, so make sure the menu on your site is attractive and the dishes sound outstanding in your descriptions.

Restaurant owners need to keep in mind that busy people need to find things fast and they make food decisions fast because they are hungry. So make sure website visitors can see everything you offer quickly. Make it easy and idiot proof.

4) Missing Phone Number or One That Isn’t Clickable

The phone number is really one of the most important things on a restaurant website. In fact, it may be the most important thing on a website. Some people won’t look at a website at all and just want to call the business for answers. So please make sure the phone number is on every page and close to the top of the page. Make it easy to find.

Make sure that the phone number is clickable on a mobile screen:  Make it easy for mobile users to call you. Often a phone number within an image isn’t clickable and people have to write it down and then call. This isn’t helpful for those that are driving, so make sure contacting you is easy.

Restaurants using mobile versions (especially in WordPress):  Make sure that the mobile version you use does not take out your phone number. I have seen this happen often. When it does, I go to the bottom of the page to look for the “full site” function to hopefully get the number and sometimes that option is not there. So, guess what? I leave and get food elsewhere because often, my family is hungry and we are in a rush. Also keep in mind, many people that are not Web savvy and don’t know to look for the “full site” function.

5) Missing Address, Map or Image of Exterior

Restaurant websites should have their address on every page of the website. You never know which page a website visitor will come in to a website on, so you want to make sure that they can easily find an address.

Include a map screenshot on the website:  And not one I have to click on and find via mobile and/or on my computer. If you can let visitors see surrounding streets, you help them find your restaurant easier.

Include a small to medium image of the front of their restaurant:  New customers need to see what the restaurant looks like so when they are driving, and looking, the restaurant is easy to find. This is especially true in strip malls and areas with many businesses around.

If You Are Creating a Restaurant Website 

Please keep these 5 items in mind. Every website on the planet should make things easier for the audience that will be looking at the site. Think about the things you want to see when you are looking for a restaurant online or on mobile and make sure to include everything.

I used the term “idiot proof” above and want to explain why. I use it all the time when planning or working on websites.  Not because I think people are idiots, but because not everyone is as Web savvy as me or my clients. So I make sure things are as “idiot proof” as possible to ensure anyone can use what the website offers to meet their needs.

Empty Glass in a Restaurant Photo via Shutterstock

14 Comments ▼

Melissa Fach


Melissa Fach Melissa Fach is the owner of SEOAware, LLC. Melissa specializes in consulting and training companies on how to effectively handle their online marketing strategies. Her company specializes in SEO consulting, content development and web development services.

14 Reactions

  1. Nothing frustrates people more than not being able to view a restaurant menu on their smartphone. There are many free and low cost options available to restaurant owners that want to create a mobile website.

  2. Wow, great post Melissa. You really brought out some important points. I especially agree with having mobile capability. On my bog I have a mobile friendly theme installed on it and it really makes the difference. More and more people are using their phone to surf the net and look for quick information, especially a restaurant to grab a quick bite at. You could stand to loose a lot of business if your website doesn’t accommodation the customer adequately. Thanks for sharing such great info.

    Ti

  3. My pet peeve: when the menu is a PDF of the actual menu. You can hardly read it and it’s not searchable.

  4. Great post. What about missing hours and/or days open. It really is a drag to get your hopes up only to find out they are closed.

  5. Agreed! You make a lot of good points, Melissa. The photography is one area that cannot be emphasized enough. Also, making regular updates to keep the content fresh.

  6. Thanks Melissa for the useful article. Recently I am working on wordpress theme for restaurant, I will take care of your each & every point. Thanks again.

  7. Good insight. A searchable menu tops my list as the most important aspect I want a restaurant website to offer. Opening up PDF and images just turns me away.

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