There are hundreds, maybe thousands of articles that talk about the best restaurant websites out there- and how respective agencies and web designers can help you create something effective for your restaurant business.
But will those agencies put emphasis on user experience and differentiation like they should? Hopefully so! This article will show you all the great elements your restaurant website should have. And what to look for when designing one.
At LYFE, we understand that each business is unique. Which calls for a cool website design that not only accelerates user experience but also represents your brand through design.
Our clients often ask us for examples of some of the best restaurant design inspirations out there. Which is why we decided to dedicate this article to showing you just that.
We scoured the internet and found some pretty great examples of what constitutes a great restaurant website. But instead of sharing summaries of these sites and how you can replicate them, we decided to hand out awards for the best restaurant websites. Read on to see the winners and their spectacular sites!
First, let’s briefly look at the importance of a website for your restaurant.
Consumer behaviors and trends have drastically changed over the last decade. What used to be a private dining family affair or luxurious dining experience in the form of going to a restaurant to eat, has become more of a transaction and convenience experience for many. One in which they expect easy online orders and take outs.
Now, the decision of doing business with a particular restaurant sometimes solely depends on whether or not the website lets you transact easily.
Then there also is the vital factor of a potential customer’s discovery phase when searching for a restaurant. Which has gone from “Let’s check out the new restaurant that’s opened next door” to “I feel like having Italian today, let’s search for a good one online first.”
This is very much a reality in today’s marketplace. And has made it necessary for your restaurant website, which is already competing with the business opened next door, to now compete in an online marketplace too. Branding your business has become tremendously important.
We see this constant competition as an evolution in the restaurant industry. And we are in a phase right now where having one of the best restaurant website designs is important to stay ahead.
We aren’t saying it has to be a race. But having your best running shoes on wouldn’t hurt.
This is why we decided not to just write about the best restaurant designs. But rather go celebrate how some of the great restaurant website designs are unique.
Let the award ceremony for the best restaurant websites begin!
Best Restaurant Websites Award for…Making Your Mouth Water
There are dozens of ways you can make your website design stand out. But Royal Plate comes in with what really matters, the food!
This New York City establishment is a classy fine dining restaurant that places extra emphasis on serving up the freshest dishes in town. They went a step further by flooding their website with full-screen images of delicious ingredients from every mouth-watering angle possible.
At a time when most restaurant website use vanity product shots and divert their attention towards showing spacious seating, Royal Plate stuck close to their brand offering – delighting customers with fresh food always.
This website is a great example of representing your brand values through an online website. One scroll through their homepage and you’ll be booking a reservation! An award, well deserved.
Best Restaurant Websites Award for…Predicting User Behavior
We have another New Yorker in our midst. There are not many websites that offer beyond-the-run-of-the-mill solutions to consumers during celebratory events & holidays. During a time when consumers are going to flock to a restaurant to celebrate the special occasion.
Risotteria Melotti in New York City changes its homepage design often. Mostly to reflect the current mood or vibe of why the consumer might be searching. You guessed it right with its current homepage.
Additionally, they understand the changing consumer behavior and the way they do business. Which has been aptly showcased on all their website pages. After all, there is now more than just one way of going to a restaurant.
Best Restaurant Websites Award for…Sports Bar
We didn’t have to think hard for this one. Yes, the winner is Buffalo Wild Wings.
There are dozens of nationally franchised restaurants in North America. They all have an upper hand when it comes to ad spend and taking a share of online visibility.
But one problem they all face is to talk directly to the local consumer. Part of this issue is caused due to the ease in which a customer can find your nearest location through a single portal and still remain locally appealing in your design.
Buffalo Wild Wings makes it all incredibly easy. When you break down their website design, it highlights two things.
How fans can get involved in the game through (1) Food and (2) Locations. They understand the importance of atmosphere to a fan wanting to watch his favorite sports team. Our best restaurant websites award in this category goes to them, hands down.
Jeffrey’s Grocery is next on our awards’ list for the best menu design among some of the best restaurant websites we have seen.
Close to 30% of visitors on your restaurant’s site are only interested in the menu items you have to offer. Jeffrey’s simple text based menu and easy navigation bar are an algorithm favorite too. The menu is sectioned by tabs and shows the different items without ever having to leave the menu page.
This easy menu navigation equates to a great experience for someone who is online searching for their next meal.
Best Restaurant Websites Award for…Content
Sometimes a consumer is in the discovery phase and is looking for the right restaurant experience. Here, design becomes as important as effective content. Mei Mei Street Kitchen in Boston, MA got that right and created a website with just the right content for their consumers.
They believe the more content you have on your website, the more opportunities you have to engage and interest the consumer. Apart from including information and FAQs about their restaurant, catering and food truck, they share consistent content about how they are helping the local community.
As well as blog posts about recipes and cooking classes. It is no wonder they won our best restaurant websites award for the right content!
Best Restaurant Websites Award for…Online Ordering
If there was one restaurant that understood the shifting consumer trend from dining in, to carry out, to delivery, it has to be Domino’s. Early on they recognized this shift in consumer behavior.
They started downsizing their physical locations with seating to carry-out only locations. The management even saw the benefits of lower operating costs in pushing for carry-out versus servicing a customer in their stores. Their website also does a great job to encourage this. And it is designed with just two online ordering action buttons in bright colors: Carry-Out or Delivery.
This innovative and proactive actions sure gets them a well deserved best restaurant websites award in the online ordering category.
Best Restaurant Websites Award for…Rewards and loyalty
Rewarding restaurant customers is definitely not a new thing. Restaurants create innovative customer loyalty programs or offer discounts and gift cards to encourage long term patronage. In fact, loyalty programs have proven to benefit restaurant establishments by rewarding their customers for repeat business and referring their friends.
Restaurants with an active loyalty program have recorded more than a 35% repeat rate from their regular customer. They have noted that these loyal customers spend 39% more on an average and are 3 times less expensive to market to.
With stats like these, who wouldn’t want to have a great customer loyalty program?
But restaurants often fail to provide this simple solution or highlight it on their websites. That’s not the case with Starbucks!
This winner of our best restaurant website award boasts an easy to navigate and fun rewards program. And consumers love it! They even add extra rewards weekly and additional games for the chance to win more drinks and food.
Best Restaurant Websites Award for…Mobile Friendly
Ancient are the days when consumers would have to learn about a new restaurant only after passing by or reading about it in the newspaper. There are multiple sources of information available to today’s tech savvy consumer. Social media, user reviews on Yelp, and Google search to name just a few. We call this ancient because it makes searching on a desktop computer even more old.
No one has the time to sit on a laptop and search for their favorite restaurant. In this day and age of instant gratification, most (if not all) of restaurant transactions are completed through a mobile device.
- Mobile ordering
- Calling in orders
- Catering orders
- Paying your bill
We love technology, don’t you 😉
Restaurant businesses invest resources behind services like SEO, social media marketing, and email to increase visibility online.
Imagine a scenario where a user is browsing through his phone. He sees a picture of his friend eating pepperoni pizza posted on Instagram. He has an immediate craving for pizza. He opens Yelp and sees the best rated pizza place nearby. With one click he can now go to the website, see the menu and order for delivery. All this just happened with a few clicks on his smartphone without ever having to leave the comfort of his couch.
This scenario shows how important it is for restaurants to have a mobile friendly website that allows consumers to use for their transaction. That’s why it’s essential for your restaurant website to have a functional order or reservation button, clickable phone numbers, easy-to-read menu items and so on.
You see, most users now prefer browsing on their smartphones than on a desktop computer. In fact based on a recent study, mobile searches made up 49.2% of website traffic worldwide in the 1st quarter of 2020. So, it’s really imperative for businesses to not just look good on mobile devices, but to also ensure that it functions the same as the desktop version. Google, Yelp, and Foursquare would agree to this.
And one restaurant website that we love in this space is SusieCakes located in California and Texas.
Best Restaurant Websites Award for…Showcasing Testimonials & Reviews
Word of mouth and reviews contribute to as much as 82% of online purchase decisions. Who better to understand this than restaurants? The greater your word of mouth and online reviews, the less of your advertising budget you’ll have to spend converting a customer.
One such restaurant that does a good job in highlighting consumer reviews and testimonials is Marlowe in San Francisco. They have a rotating banner on their website’s homepage that talks about all the recognition and awards that the restaurant has been associated with. Not only by consumers but also by the press.
Some International Inspirations…
Gotta give credit where credit is due, even halfway across the globe!
A bar in London called Jack’s Bar uses a simple WordPress theme that has all the important and necessary information about the bar just on one single page. No loading wait time, no distractions.
And for the visualizers out there, their landing page even has an automatic slideshow of images that showcases the ambiance at the restaurant. Without the user having to click anything or do too much scrolling.
The experience is so simple that we had to award them the best restaurant websites award for simplicity and single-page navigation.
Best Restaurant Websites Award for…Kid-Friendly Design
We saved the best for the last. The next one comes to us from the inspirational city of Dubai. In designing fancy websites, restaurant owners often tend to forget about their target audience. Not in the case of Desert Chill. As the name suggests, it is a dessert café that caters to kids to come have fun and enjoy their desserts such as ice cream and ice lollies.
Their website is extremely kid-friendly, from the fonts used to the illustrations highlighted on the page. These features earn it a place in our best restaurant awards list.
A Round of Applause
Let’s round it up with a big award for businesses that got it right! And the ones that will take inspiration from them and strive to replicate it.
Clients often come to us with their frequently asked questions about website design. And we say one thing to them…
If you keep the user experience at the center of your website design, you too can have one of the best restaurant websites for your business. At LYFE, we take immense pride in our work for clients. But don’t shy away from giving a shout out to others when it is well deserved. We even learn a thing or two from it.
And this blog was just one those times when we take a back seat and just let our readers take inspiration from some of the finest industry examples in the restaurant space.
If you’ve seen any inspiring restaurant websites lately, drop them in the comments. We’d love to check them out!
If you were inspired by any of these designs and want a new restaurant website design or just want to add new features to the one you have, just contact us. We’ll build you a site that gets more orders and more customers faster than you can say Bon Appétit!