Running a successful restaurant business is not an easy feat. You need to masterfully integrate tasty food and culinary expertise with a charming ambiance and exquisite service. But in their quest to offer guests the ultimate dining experience, many owners neglect a crucial element – the restaurant’s website.
In an increasingly digital world, websites reflect the brand’s ethos and personality. For most diners, their first impression about your place starts not at the dining table but the moment they enter your site. That’s why a lousy or outdated website is the Achilles heel of any restaurant business. When 89% of customers research restaurants before visiting in-person, your website isn’t just a digital brochure. It becomes the focal point of your business.
In this article, we give you seven reasons why it’s time to update your restaurant’s website so that it wows your customers the same way your food does.
Speed is everything
You can have the most aesthetically pleasing website, but if it’s slow, chances are your potential first-time customers will enjoy a meal at another place. Page speed is a critical SEO indicator that ties together all the site’s elements and improves your rankings, user experience, and conversion rates.
A slow-loading map or cart annoys even the most patient of us, especially when we’re hungry. If your site loads longer than three seconds, you’re not meeting Google’s standards.
When was the last time you tested your site’s speed performance? Many tools can show why your website is slow, but only an experienced developer can fully optimize it. With so many factors affecting page load time, getting your website up to speed should be a top priority.
Mobile responsiveness is a must
Currently, more than 80% of American adults own a smartphone and almost 60% of all website traffic is from mobile devices. In fact, there are more mobile devices on earth than there are people today. If your site is not mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on tons of traffic and customers.
Mobile responsiveness is another positive ranking signal that greatly improves users’ experience. A responsive design allows both casual clients and food aficionados to access your website on the go from any device, be it an older smartphone or a last-generation gadget. Best of all, they can make a reservation while traveling or order a meal from anywhere.
First Impression lasts a lifetime
An enjoyable restaurant dining experience is much more than just the taste of the food. The vibes you get when you first enter the place, the interior’s style, and the background noise all affect your mood and perception. The same goes for a restaurant’s website. If it doesn’t match your brand’s identity, if it doesn’t evoke a positive feeling, then you’ve got a problem.
Websites are all about the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). A clever UI/UX design maximizes user satisfaction and improves usability and accessibility. It tells your restaurant’s story and effortlessly guides visitors to your location, menu, and online ordering.
A great UI/UX design should be simple, consistent, and intuitive. You need a creative approach to spotlight your business and leave a lasting impression. So, don’t shy away from investing in the website’s aesthetics and functionality.
Online ordering and reservations boost sales
During the pandemic, the food and drink industry relied on online deliveries to stay afloat. Many restaurants went through a digital transformation and gained more customers than they could ever imagine. If you’re still pondering about expanding the restaurant to offer delivery, we’ll let the numbers do the talking.
- 60% of U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout once a week.
- 70% of consumers would rather order directly from a restaurant, preferring that their money goes straight to the restaurant and not a third party.
- 63% of consumers prefer the convenience of getting delivery to dining out with a family.
- 60% of restaurant operators say that offering delivery has generated incremental sales.
- Delivery sales could increase an annual average of more than 20% to $365 billion worldwide by 2030, from $35 billion.
Adding a delivery service is a no-brainer, but it could take a while. Meantime, offer your guests the option to place reservations online. It’s not just super-convenient but also implies that your restaurant is in high demand.
Loyalty programs improve customer satisfaction
Let’s be honest, we all love a loyalty scheme that rewards us when we spend our hard-earned money. Customers love hunting and bragging about online deals and promotions. Loyalty programs spread brand awareness, keep customers happy and get restaurants, fast-food chains, and coffee shops ahead of the competition.
Your website is the best place to showcase your loyalty program, coupons, discounts, and seasonal promotions. You can tailor them to fit your concept and reward guests whether they dine in-store or order online. A classic example is offering a simple “buy 4 pizzas and get your 5th for free.”
To streamline the process, you can link loyalty accounts to guests’ credit cards and let them collect and redeem reward points the next time they come in. With a well-thought and well-executed loyalty program, you can gain valuable insights about your clients and continue to target them with exciting deals and promotions.
Website analytics are vital to understanding your customers
Website analytics is the key to knowing how well your restaurant business is doing online. You can track every movement of your visitors to understand their behavior and preferences. With endless analytics tools at your disposal, there is no excuse to disregard this vital feature.
Analytics metrics reveal the number of your visitors, the bounce rate (the rate at which people leave your site without converting into customers), session duration, device source, and many more stats that help you make seamless adjustments and improvements.
You can’t run successful deliveries and loyalty programs without tapping into your customers’ preferences. Restaurant analytics can show your top-performing items and those that do not sell as much. And, working with real-time data can enhance your loyalty rewards and promotions before they become obsolete.
ADA accessibility and compliance
We live in an inclusive world where people with disabilities must have an equal chance to benefit from the full range of mainstream services and products. The global estimate of the disability market is nearly $7 trillion.
Is your website accessible to every potential guest? If you haven’t updated it in a while, chances are it’s not. To make matters worse, you could wake up with a website accessibility lawsuit because it’s not compatible with assistive technologies.
Accessible web design allows content to render across multiple devices and enables people with real needs to have a more wholesome web experience. Ensure that all your guests can find your location, view the menu, make a reservation, and order online. To learn more about ADA accessibility standards, click here.
Your restaurant’s website is the digital reflection of your brick-and-mortar store and much more. It’s also a promotional powerhouse and a creative way to stand out from the competition. An efficient web design goes beyond structure and imagery. It emphasizes your brand story and unique selling proposition by taking advantage of the latest SEO and digital marketing trends.
At Digitize Everything, we help businesses bring their websites into a post-pandemic reality where online presence is just as important as the quality of services you provide in the physical world. Whether you run a sit-down restaurant, an indie coffee shop, or a fast food joint, our skilled web designers will create a functional and eye-catching website that will take your beloved business to the next level.