Recently we created a new website for La Bodega a Spanish restaurant in Merthyr Tydfil that was celebrating its 25th year anniversary of being in business. As La Bodega was our very first restaurant web design we did a lot of research into what a restaurant website should and shouldn’t have.
Here are the top 5 web design mistakes for restaurants that we found in our research.
1. Auto playing music.
Thankfully not many sites had this but I was still shocked to see that some businesses think it’s a good idea to auto play music on a website in 2016. If listening to the A-team in a 1999 style ringtone wasn’t bad enough then imagine the horror when we couldn’t find an off switch.
Playing music on your website slows down your page speed and results in your potential customer having to wait around longer for your webpage to load. But by far the biggest problem that I believe music on a website is that it makes your business look unprofessional.
All websites need to make their respective businesses look professional, but a restaurant even more so. Foodies or potential restaurant customers will take a look at your website and make a decision based on your sites appearance and associate that with your food. Having a poor user experience will mean than your visitors will think that your restaurant serves low quality food.
2. loading / welcome screens
There is nothing wrong with welcoming your visitors to your website but having a separate page that your user needs to click through will cause more bother than the worth of it.
A rule of usability is that your user shouldn’t have to click more than they need to, to get somewhere. So imagine your hungry, your partner is shouting at you because you forgot to make a reservation at your favourite restaurant and you need to make a quick booking somewhere, but the website your trying to use doesn’t want to help you. The website loads, you see a welcome screen, you need to click through to another page, you click through, the page is loading, your partner is shouting, you give up. Beans on toast it is, and you and your partner wont be speaking for the next few hours. You don’t want that, and you don’t want your customers to experience it either.
Your website should be quick, easy to use and easy to find information, which brings us on to our next point.
3. Hard to find information
Quite recently I visited Venice in Italy and one thing that surprised me was the poor quality on every restaurants website. Trying to make a reservation when you don’t speak the language is one thing but trying to make a reservation when the restaurant doesn’t show a telephone number or email address is a whole new challenge.
If you own a restaurant then your website should be one of your most effective sales tools. Your contact information should be easily accessible on every page on the site, if it is not, your visitors may have problems contacting you making you lose out on customers.
4. PDF Menus
Most websites that we surveyed made you download a menu before being able to view it. Now there are a few problems with this, firstly users hate it.
Remember where we said above that you shouldn’t make your users click more than they need to? Well here is another case of it. If I click on a menu link I expect to see the menu, not have to click on another button on the page to download the menu.
Secondly some users are cautious about downloading PDF’s from unknown sources as they have been known to carry viruses.
If you want to get around this then you should have your menu page designed to allow your users to browse your menu without having to download anything.
5. Non Responsive
A website that doesn’t work on a mobile device in 2016 is behind the times. For a restaurant however it is like disobeying one of the 10 commandments.
A restaurant website that doesn’t work on your phone will make you want to pull your hair out.
Trying to navigate around a website that wasn’t built to work on a phone is a nightmare. Opening times, reservation forms, food menus are all hard and sometimes impossible to use. If your website for your restaurant is not mobile friendly then you are losing business. Non responsive websites are also bad for search engine optimisation.
Researching restaurant web design best practices was an interesting process that not only left us hungry but often frustrated. If you want to stop your potential customers from being frustrated then get in contact with us and we may be able to help your business become more profitable.
If you own a restaurant and your not getting enough bookings you may want to check out our search engine optimisation service