Restaurants’ website designs matter to customers who order online

Food for thought

Do some websites make you feel like a toad because you can’t figure out how to order a simple pizza? A site’s usability is crucial to placing your order quickly and conveniently. Let’s face it, one main reason you order online is because it’s easier than cooking — so the last thing you want to do is jump through hoops navigating a complicated website.

5 things a restaurant website design must address

When you run a restaurant or other food-related business and offer online ordering, how do you make the experience a good one for your customers?

  1. Menu convenience.

  2. Accessibility and organization.

  3. Ease of transaction.

  4. Benefits for returning customers.

  5. Enjoyment and aesthetics.

1. Menu convenience

Customers should be able to view the entire menu easily and quickly — no matter what device they’re using to find it. Make sure your menu is on your website as text, and not just a downloadable pdf or picture of the menu available in your restaurant.

Remember, not all image formats are optimized for mobile.

Also, check that the site is mobile-friendly and just as easy to navigate on a phone as it is on a computer. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you should also include prices on the menu. Don’t make your customers hunt around or guess.

2. Accessibility and organization

Ensure that all areas of the site are easy to navigate. Different sections should be easily identifiable and sorted in a way that makes sense. If you offer specials, make sure they’re easily accessible with the rest of the menu.

Keep your restaurant’s address and phone number front and center.

We recommend keeping it within the header or footer of every page for easy access. It’s great if you have a beautiful website showcasing your gorgeous photos and customer testimonials, but you ultimately want to bring customers through the door if they choose not to order online. If they can’t find your address, how can they find you in-person?

Order Online Open
Photo: ** RCB ** Flickr via Compfight cc

3. Ease of transaction

Whether people are buying food or making a reservation, you want the process to be as simple as possible. Offer multiple types of payment, and be up-front about what those methods are. On top of it all, if you have a system that allows people to create an account, be sure to offer the option to complete the transaction as a guest.

Highlight all of the benefits of signing up, but don’t strong arm them into doing it.

 

Ideally, you want every customer to sign up and become a repeat customer, but that doesn’t fit with every customer’s needs every time. Someone might be in a rush and not want to make an account right that moment, or perhaps someone is from out of town and doesn’t want to share their email for a one-time order. Forcing someone to sign up may be enough of a deterrent that they discard their whole order for an easier option.

4. Benefits for returning customers

If your restaurant offers online ordering or reservations, membership options are a great way to make the process even smoother for repeat customers. While you shouldn’t force people to sign up for your site, you should offer benefits to encourage them to do so, like offering the ability to quickly and easily reorder a past purchase or reservation time.

Creating memberships on your site is also a great way to build your email distribution list.

 

Allow users to opt-in for specials and upcoming events. Newsletters are a great and simple way to keep in touch with customers and encourage repeat visits. Whatever the reason, it should be easy for the customer to come back.

5. Enjoyment and aesthetics

Order Online Presentation

Customers should be able to use your site enjoyably and without aggravation. On top of being functional, the site should be aesthetically pleasing and give the user a visual spark as to why they should order online from you or visit your restaurant in person. A site that looks like it was made before the turn of the millennium doesn’t typically inspire confidence. Make sure your site is a perfect blend of function and form.

It’s time to order online

Customers only take a few seconds to decide whether they want to continue using a website or move on. Your website is like your restaurant’s physical front door. You want your customers to come in and sit down to a nice meal, not turn around and walk out. A great website design will make the visitor want to stay and order online — a bad one will make them want to leave. It’s as simple as that.

Whip up a restaurant website in under an hour with GoDaddy GoCentral Website Builder! It has ChowNow and Open Table widgets, so you can easily offer online ordering and reservations right on your website.