77% of diners visit a restaurant’s website before they order food — and this first impression impacts their decision to either visit your location or move on. But nearly 36% of businesses don’t have a website; relying instead on social media and other platforms to reach customers online — thus giving up critical control over how potential customers perceive their business.
A website comes with endless possibilities: speak directly to your customers, take online reservations, sell products or gift cards, offer deliveries, and present your business in the best light.
Creating a restaurant website is also easier than you might think! It’s all about choosing the right tools, features, and content.
How do I create a restaurant website?
Jetpack is a plugin that works alongside WordPress, providing features for security, speed, design, management, marketing, and more. Combining the two makes a well-rounded, effective website for any business owner. Find out more about Jetpack’s free and paid options.
Of course, it’s important that your website convinces people to visit your restaurant or order food online. A recent survey showed that the key things impacting a diner’s decision to visit a restaurant were menu items, ease of navigation, readability, and food photography. Let’s take a look at these important components of a restaurant website and the tools you need for each one.
A design that looks great on all devices
Start by considering your customers. Are they expecting a fine dining experience? A fun, family vibe? A sports theme? The imagery and design of your site should match the feel of your restaurant.
A WordPress theme helps you design your website. While there are a variety of free and premium options, the Restaurant theme, included in Jetpack Professional plans, is a great option. It offers eye-catching menu templates and gorgeous full-width slideshows built just for cuisine-related sites. As with all of our themes, it’s completely responsive, so it looks as good on phones as it does on tablets and computers.
Want some inspiration? See what these food businesses created with WordPress.
Showcase your menu
When potential diners visit your website, they want to know all about your food. What dishes do you offer? Do your menu items meet their dietary restrictions? How much should they expect to pay?
That’s why it’s important to showcase your menu. Add it to your website header, add links to your home page — whatever is needed to make sure it’s prominent and easily accessible. And, if possible, publish a text version of your menu rather than a PDF — which is easier to access by those with visual impairments and is more likely to show up higher in search engine results.
If you choose the WordPress Restaurant theme, you can use the built-in templates to create an engaging menu that’s easy for diners to navigate. But if you decide on another theme, there are still great plugin options that provide the same type of functionality.
Offer online ordering and reservations
Restaurants that offer online ordering typically see an increase in takeout revenue of 30%. An online system makes it much easier for customers to place a takeout or delivery order — and takes the load off of your employees, who won’t have to spend as much of their time answering phone calls.
RestroPress is one of the free online food ordering systems that integrate seamlessly with WordPress. Accept pickup and delivery orders, offer menu add-ons like sides and desserts, create customer accounts, and accept payments directly from your site. View more online ordering solutions.
And for dine-in reservations, don’t send diners to a third-party site where they might get distracted — integrate a reservation booking system directly into your website. The OpenTable block, which is included free with Jetpack, syncs with your OpenTable account and lets customers select dates, times, and the number of guests for their reservation, all right on your site!
Include contact information and hours
Of course, your hungry diners need to be able to ask questions or find their way to your location. Make sure your contact information is readily available in the footer, sidebar, and/or contact page of your site. With Jetpack, you can utilize free blocks to quickly add hours, contact information, and maps to any page or post.
Display excellent pictures
People eat with their eyes first, so make sure to feature lots of high-quality photos of your food. While a professional photographer or camera equipment may be worth the investment, you can also take great pictures with a smartphone. Just make sure your food is in focus, well lit, and arranged nicely. Here are some helpful food photography tips.
Include pictures of your food on your menu, homepage, about page, and anywhere else that seems appropriate. You may also want to include photos of recent events, friendly team members, and your restaurant dining room to convey as much of the atmosphere as possible.
With Jetpack, you can add image galleries or slideshows anywhere you’d like. You might want to add a tiled gallery to a page about the ingredients that you use, or add a slideshow of food pictures to your homepage to make an instant impression.
Sell gift cards and other products
Do you have a famous sauce or rub? Are you interested in selling cookbooks, t-shirts, or hats with your restaurant logo? What about gift cards?
With WooCommerce, a free, flexible solution for online stores, you can sell anything you’d like. Offer subscription boxes, sell gift cards, list downloadable recipe books — the options are endless!
Protect your work
Once you’ve built your website, the last thing you want is to lose your hard work. Jetpack comes with a suite of security tools that protect your site from hacks, data loss, spam, and more.
Backups are the best and most reliable way to keep your site safe, and Jetpack Backup is the perfect solution for WordPress. Turn backups on and forget about them, knowing that they’re stored safely if you ever need them — if your site goes down you can restore a full backup with just a few clicks.
How do I market my site?
Once your site is live, you want to get it in front of your potential diners. While there are a variety of ways to market your website, here are a few options to consider:
Blogging should be at the heart of all your marketing efforts. It’s a critical component of search engine optimization, email marketing, social media marketing, and advertising, and is your chance to show customers that you’re passionate and knowledgeable about what you do.
While the exact topics you write about will vary based on your business and customers, here are a few ideas:
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- A behind-the-scenes look at your restaurant or processes
- Employee stories
- Upcoming and past events
- Ingredients, sourcing, and providers
- Community stories
- Local events and history
Think about the information that your diners will find most valuable. What questions do they have? What will they find inspiring? What will stand out to them about your restaurant and food?
Publish posts consistently and you’ll begin to see improvements in all areas of your marketing.
Social media marketing
Social media isn’t a replacement for your own website but is an excellent tool for reaching new customers. Share content consistently — photos of your food and events, exciting restaurant updates, stories from employees or customers — and engage with your followers when possible.
You can add Jetpack sharing buttons to blog posts so that readers can share them directly to social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, and more. This encourages engagement and is a great way to expand your audience even further.
With Jetpack social media tools, automatically share blog posts to social media each time you hit “publish.” You won’t need to worry about sizing images, scheduling posts, or logging into third-party tools when you want to share content with followers — it’s all taken care of for you.
Other marketing strategies
There are nearly endless ways to reach potential customers:
- Launch digital ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, or other platforms
- Attend local events, like farmer’s markets and festivals
- Create an email newsletter with updates and valuable content
- Offer contests and giveaways
- Connect with social media influencers and food bloggers
- Get involved in community events and charities
Food is about more than just satisfying hunger; it’s a passion and a lifestyle. Share that passion with your customers through marketing and you’ll connect with them on a deeper level and find success.
Take your restaurant online
A website serves as a launching pad for your restaurant, helping you connect more deeply with existing customers and reach new ones. Now is the perfect time to get started with the right platform, the right tools, and the best customer support.