It’s one thing to have a great restaurant and it’s another to have a great restaurant web design! If you have a site that isn’t frequently updated or usually exhibits flaws then how can you expect returning customers? The internet is a very competitive space, however, and you’ll need your website to stand out.

Some of the best restaurant sites are featured on platforms like Happy Tables. This provider creates efficient restaurant website design templates. But if you want something original and unique, you making some major changes today!

Consider our nine restaurant web design tips for creating a beautiful, simple restaurant website.

1. Understanding Your Target Audience

One of your first questions to yourself should be why someone is on your website, to begin with. Perhaps they are new patrons from out of town. They could also be new local patrons or returning customers.

You want to consider the needs of every group of people when designing your website. When a first-time customer is shopping around for a place to eat, they depend on the internet. They want to compare and contrast their available options.

Tourists are usually on their mobile devices, scouting a place to eat. This is why it is crucial that your website is not only appealing but informative. Ensure that your address, hours, and contact information is as clear as day.

A returning customer, on the other hand, will most likely look for the fastest path to the menu. Have your take-out menu clearly posted and easy to access. Avoid having information like this buried on the website.

You can also highlight specials and promotions your audience could be interested in. Happy hours, for example, are a great way to target customers. Create an extra website page, slider image, or a pop-up window with a brief description of it.

Once your target audience is defined, you can continue building the theme. If it’s a Mexican-style restaurant, then consider bold colors and complimentary stock imagery. Or if you are aiming to engage the more executive class, opt for an elegant and professional style.

2. Using Neutral Backgrounds

Using bright colors such as red or yellow might seem visually appealing to you but can be distracting for your audience. You don’t need to eliminate bright colors altogether, but instead, they should accent your website. Restaurant color schemes using bright colors as full backgrounds are never a good idea.

The best restaurant websites use neutral tones such as beige and blue. Both of these tones are easy on the eyes and make it easier to take in information. Try to use brighter colors in moderation and neutral tones as the main color.

3. Consider Different Devices

The key to restaurant web design is creating layouts that are compatible across all platforms and devices. People browse the internet in completely different ways than we did years ago. Your website should be as compatible on a mobile device as it is on a desktop.

For example, if your user is on a phone, ensure that your phone number listed opens up the auto-dial once they click on it. Your email address should open up a new email and the physical address should open up in Maps. These are all important aspects of your website that can make it easier for customers to visit your restaurant!

4. Keep Your Message About Food Clear

When someone stumbles upon your restaurant’s website, you have 5 seconds to capture their attention. While it’s important to have beautiful images it’s equally important to have the right information. Use vocabulary that truly evokes your restaurant’s purpose and overall value.

Restaurant websites thrive when there is a clear message to people about your restaurant’s mission. It’s important to have both visual and textual information that will leave the best impression on your audience. You never know what information people resonate with or will always remember you for.

5. No PDF Menus

The worst thing to do is to make restaurant websites too complicated for people to navigate. And asking people to download a PDF to view your menu is absurd. Often, it takes up too much memory in people’s phones and some users are charged for data without even knowing!

There are plenty of simpler ways to view a menu online. Have your restaurant’s menu on its own webpage and make sure the information is up to date. This way, your restaurant menu has a greater chance of popping up in Google searches as well.

6. Make Sure Your Menu is User-Friendly

Alongside having your menu on its own webpage, the menu itself should be user-friendly. This is going to be one of the most important pages apart from the homepage. A good menu is usable, responsive, and enticing.

Do not upload your menu as an image or file. It’ll alienate mobile device users and force them to drag/pin around the file to view it. Always re-type the menu into your restaurant web design so you can personalize the webpage to be compatible for others.

7. Create Social Media Profiles

Social media can not only help you generate sales but can help you organically rank high on Google search results. It’s important for your restaurant website design to be properly represented on your social media profiles. And don’t forget to link all of your social sites back to your restaurant website!

Your Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Foursquare, and Google+ should have the same high quality as your restaurant website design. You should be posting updates regularly and broadcasting any changes happening to your restaurant. Prospective customers will almost always check your social media before actually clicking on your website so keep things polished!

8. No Auto-play on Your Website

When you click onto a website and music is automatically playing, it could be a hit or miss. If the song is pleasant, it could keep you on the website for a while. But if you’re at work, that auto-play could irritate you to the point of clicking off the website.

There is no need to have music on your restaurant’s website. Videos are a great way to promote your business but should not automatically play. If you are going to have videos, have it on play-by-request, not on page load and not on page exit.

9. Always Use High-Quality Photography

Your restaurant web design needs high-quality photography to truly leverage your digital marketing. It can set the tone for how your audience perceives your atmosphere, staff, food, price range, and style. Your homepage should feature a large, high-definition photo to embody your restaurant’s message.

Feature the strongest imagery first, then show other images lower on the page. Take professional photos of your dishes on your own with a DSLR camera and a lightbox. You can build a lightbox from scratch and make a huge difference in the quality of your photos.

Bottom Line on Restaurant Web Design

You need your restaurant to be the best both offline and online! You deserve the high-quality website that will entice and inform anyone that stumbles upon it! These tips will help you focus on your core values and beliefs so you can work them into building your online presence.

If you’re looking for more restaurant web design ideas, check out these articles to get you going!