Your website is your storefront for the entire world. While many businesses have chosen to stick to social media to promote their services, they could be doing so much more with their own website.
This series will show how easy it is to create your own website tailored to your business, whether you’re a hairdresser, a restaurant, a consulting firm, a photographer, or anything. With our recommendations, you can have your own website up and running quickly, easily, and ready to get customers in.
Today, we’re focusing on making a site for restaurants and pubs — places where good photography and great menus can get you noticed around the world.
Before you start making your restaurant website, work out what you want to put on it. Do you want people to be able to make reservations online? Do customers order online through you or through a third-party such as Deliveroo or Uber Eats? Do you have special events or regular nights? How often do you make changes to your menu?
With these things in mind, you’re ready to choose your web hosting package and get started.
Because this is for a single site, we recommend buying a good basic package, either our Essential hosting package or our Basic Managed WordPress package. Both of which will give you the space and performance you need without costing too much. If you choose Essential, you’ll need to install WordPress on your package, and if you choose Basic, WordPress will be installed automatically.
Putting Menus Online
Many restaurants simply upload the latest PDF version of their menu to their website, but by doing this, they are missing out on a lot of potential customers. PDFs are reviewed by search engines, but require very different search engine optimisation techniques, and may rank much lower in the results than a web page. By putting your menu onto a web page, you not only give your customers more opportunities to find you via search, but you also make it easier for mobile users to see your wonderful food.
You can do this by just creating a new page in WordPress, but there are also some great plugins that’ll help you make your menu shine.
With this plugin, you can build individual menu sections with a sidebar, making it easy for your customers to go straight to specials, themed events, or just the dessert section. There’s also the ability to add in a footer for any disclaimers or allergy information. The basic plugin is free and available on the WordPress plugins site, but if you upgrade to the Premium version, you also get iconography (great for pointing out vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options), custom-field options, and the ability for customers to leave reviews on particular dishes. The Premium version is $87 for a lifetime subscription.
Ideal for takeaways and smaller restaurants, this convenient menu plugin not only lets you list your dishes, but also allows customers to select items, add them to a shopping cart, and then check out using cash on delivery/pick-up or PayPal. It also includes a great “toppings” feature, which is a fantastic feature for pizza places or any item that you can load up with extras.
This stripped-down restaurant menu plugin isn’t just great for restaurants, it’s great for any business that has a list of items to choose from. Built to be responsive on any device, and great for listing out individual items, it’ll give you the ease of building a menu without burying your customers in too many options, so all they’ll have to think about is what food they want.
Making The Site Look Good
Your website needs to be as helpful as possible. Along with making sure your opening hours, phone number, and address are prominently displayed, you should make sure there are clear directions and any important information you need your customers to know before they come in. Your site also needs to work on both mobile and desktop browsers. Here are a few themes that’ll make your site looks as good as your food.
This theme definitely draws attention to specials, with eye-catching blocks for menu photos. With a range of carousels and galleries available, you can easily show off your menu, your restaurant, and your reviews with just a few clicks. The premium version is $49 and comes with even more customisation and WooCommerce integration.
Big and bold, this theme gives you a gorgeous header perfect for your signature dish and plenty of blocks to drop in to make a fantastic website. Optimised for speed and mobile-friendly, this free theme gives you the options you need while also making it easy to build. The pro version is $59 and gives you even more customisation options as well as support.
This delightful theme not only gives you a large header image to show off your café but also includes a left sidebar to really catch your customers’ attention. Great on both mobile and desktop, the theme is perfect for small cafés and coffee shops, with adorable design touches that really make it stand out. The pro version is $39 and includes even more customisation and icons.
If you’re a larger restaurant, you might have intricate software that lets you schedule bookings and seat customers based on your staffing levels and kitchen activity. But if you’re a smaller business, an online booking system might make a difference to your customers. Along with putting your telephone number in a clear and easy-to-see place on the website, you can include a booking plugin to make light work of reservations.
To match their Menu plugin, this reservation plugin gives you plenty of options in one package. Set up reservation booking across your entire site, or just on one page, and customise your availability to fit your needs, whether you want to automatically accept booking for small parties or block regular no-shows. The basic version gives you all these features, and the premium version also includes custom fields, CSV exporting (great for printing out a schedule!), Mailchimp integration, and even more styling options. The premium version is $157 for a lifetime subscription, or you can even bring in SMS messaging and the ability to pay a deposit with the ultimate version, available for $397.
With this convenient plugin, not only can customers book tables at your restaurant, you can also create monthly or daily schedules and create confirmation and cancellation emails with ease. There’s also a premium version for $59, which gives you the ability to set up maximum capacity levels for automatic booking, making it easy to fill up your tables.
Built for any business that is built on appointments, BookingPress is great for customising your reservations. Set specific time limits for bookings, accept deposits through PayPal and have unlimited booking options through one easy administrative interface. While it’s more designed for places like spas, gyms, and beauty salons, if your restaurant is small, it will work a treat.
Showing Off Your Reviews
Once your restaurant’s off and running, you want to show everyone how great it is, right? And customer reviews are a great way to get new customers in. Many review sites have their own scripts to put into your site, but by using a plugin, you can cut down on download times and additional scripts on your site.
Tripadvisor is a great source of reviews for restaurants and other travel destinations. With this widget, you can smoothly add up to 10 Tripadvisor reviews for your business and display them in over 25 pre-designed widget styles with over 40 layouts. The widget is also designed to be SEO friendly and has a dark mode version to match your design.
Facebook is also great for customer reviews, especially if you’re focusing on more local clientele. With this widget, you can pull reviews from your Facebook page into your website, making it not only easy for your customers to see how people feel about your business, but also getting more customers to your Facebook page.
Integrate your reviews with your social media feeds with this all-in-one plugin. In the free version, you can include Google Place reviews on your site as well as your Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds. Upgrading to the pro version, which is $79 for one year or $198 for a lifetime license, gives you even more review feeds, such as Yelp, Trustpilot, Tripadvisor, and Facebook, and the ability for your customers to message you on WhatsApp and Telegram.
So there are some options for your website. Whether you’re a gastropub, small café, bakery, or food truck, having a well-built and detailed website is a great way to get your name out there, introduce people to your restaurant, and show off your delicious food.
If you ever have any questions about how a website can help your business, get in touch with us! We’re happy to help!.