The food might be exquisite, the ambiance perfect — but if the website’s sub-par, a restaurant might remain empty. Here’s how to build a restaurant website that’ll fill the room.
Potential customers on your website are trying to make a decision: Do we want to eat here? Presenting information like the menu options, physical address, and business hours can guide them towards answering “yes.”
Of course, the presentation of key details is just as important as the details themselves. To bring customers into a restaurant, learn how to build an enticing restaurant website.
What you need to create the perfect restaurant website
A good website is often the anchor for promotional efforts — such as email marketing pushes and social media posts — making it central to any successful restaurant marketing strategy. Sharing announcements, like from dinner specials or updated hours, keeps customers up-to-date on what’s new.
Here are eight tips to help build a restaurant website:
1. Know your clientele
Creating a great restaurant website starts with understanding your audience. Let the needs and desires of the patrons influence every design choice you make. If your target market has a higher budget, for example, you may use traditionally luxurious colors such as gold, deep purple, and royal blue.
But knowing your audience goes deeper than visual choices. You also want to determine how diners connect with your online presence.
OpenTable, for example, is popular with a younger crowd. The platform reports most of its diners are aged 25 to 34 and often use the app or on-site integrations to make reservations.
The popular review platform Yelp, on the other hand, caters to an older audience. Over 70% of its users are over 35. For a trendy college bar, Yelp reviews take a backseat to meeting your customers where they are. And for 20-to-30-somethings, that’s OpenTable. Put the integrations your customers prefer front and center to encourage conversion.
2. Keep it simple
Whether the business is a small café or a world-famous restaurant, keep the homepage’s content to a minimum. Hungry visitors want to find what they’re looking for quickly.
A restaurant website needs these basic parts:
- Contact information (including phone number)
- Hours of operation
- How to reserve tables or order takeout
- Information about special events
It’s also nice to include the story of your restaurant or information about the founders, but first, make sure everything on the list above is front and center.
3. Use high-quality photos
Eating is a multisensory experience. A steaming bowl of noodles entices our sense of smell, taste, and sight with its warmth, aroma, and colorful vegetables floating in broth. While you can’t convey all that in a photo, high-quality images help get you close.
Include photos of the interior and exterior of the restaurant to let potential customers get a feel for the ambiance, too. Someone looking for a restaurant for an anniversary dinner might prefer an intimate atmosphere, but that might not be appropriate for a business lunch. Showcasing the setting helps potential customers know what vibe to expect.
4. Write a concise and appetizing menu
Keep the menu short and sweet. Focus on using mouth-watering adjectives in the names of menu items, not in the descriptions. A cheese pizza sounds good, but a “thin-crust, wood-fired, four-cheese pizza” sounds really intriguing.
Publish the online menu directly on the site in HTML. PDF menus are harder for search engines to index and might be difficult for hungry customers to navigate. You’re welcome to add both if you use a QR code menu at tables or want the polished appearance — but make sure the HTML option is readily available on its own page.
5. Build on a responsive design platform
Good website design is about functionality and aesthetics. The best restaurant websites are intuitive, meaning site elements are where people expect them to be. Call-to-action buttons with text like “Book a table” or “Make a reservation,” for example, should be front and center. This intuitive experience should be the same no matter what device they use.
The best restaurant website builders support responsive design. Webflow’s site builder, for example, enables you to create fully responsive websites backed by a content management system (CMS).
6. Include social media integrations
Social media and the restaurant site should work together as part of an overall digital marketing strategy. Integrate the restaurant’s Instagram feed, for example, to show clients how to create a positive feedback loop between their website and social media accounts. This helps people move between platforms and increase exposure to the restaurant’s offerings.
Customers might see a daily special on Instagram and head to the restaurant’s website to make a reservation. They could also open the client’s Instagram to see what the menu options look like after reading about them on the webpage.
7. Get serious about (local) SEO
If you’ve ever googled “restaurants near me,” you know what an important role search engines play in people’s decisions about restaurants. To show up in relevant search engine results pages (SERPs), ensure the domain name includes the restaurant name and, if possible, location.
If you want to explore search engine optimization (SEO) further, consider using simple SEO tools such as Google Search Console to identify keyword opportunities. Try to rank for relevant keywords by using these terms in vital places like page titles, H1s, and body copy. That might mean including the location or type of cuisine in more instances to help searchers find the restaurant. These small adjustments help your site rank higher in Google search results.
Adding a descriptive schema — the code describing major site elements like logos, reviews, and contact information to search engines — also helps improve search engine visibility. In Webflow, you can add schema in the custom code section of your CMS page settings.
Make sure the business is also on Google My Business so the restaurant can earn Google Reviews. Google hosts 73% of all online business reviews — which means having good ratings visible on SERPs helps customers find it.
8. Perfect the landing page
The website’s homepage is like the restaurant’s digital front door. Be especially strategic with your design choices here. For example, you could create a delicious immersive experience using a background video of chefs preparing or plating a popular dish to show customers what to expect when they dine. Don’t overwhelm visitors with too much information — guide them with high-quality content and clear branding that communicates the restaurant’s menu and style.
Build completely custom, production-ready websites — or ultra-high-fidelity prototypes — without writing a line of code. Only with Webflow.
7 examples to inspire you
Our template marketplace includes many restaurant website templates to inspire or speed up your design process. You can also spice up the site with animations and interactions that help make it fun for visitors to use.
Here are seven Webflow templates you can adapt to suit a wide range of restaurant types, plus two live sites that use some of these techniques.
Sectra is an elegant restaurant template with a modern feel. The pictured version uses earthy colors that complement the menu’s healthy, natural foods, but the template includes global swatches so you can pick the color palette that best suits the restaurant you’re designing for. There’s also a “See our restaurant” page, where you can show off photos of the restaurant’s interiors and exteriors, an understated menu, and a social media integration. Plus,it loads quickly on all devices.
Ember is a clean template created by the web design studio Medium Rare. It's great for restaurants looking to communicate their brand story because it offers a wide array of elements, interactions, and pages you can customize to show the restaurant off. It also includes a blog that uses the Webflow CMS.
3. Gourmet Burger
If your client wants to maximize digital marketing opportunities and include an online store, you’ll need to create a site with ecommerce capabilities and a CMS like this one. Gourmet Burger is an all-around powerhouse of a template jam-packed with cool web fonts, interactions, animations (like spinning plates of food and a floating hamburger that separates as you scroll down), and symbols. This design misses no details, immersing visitors in a site that clearly demonstrates what the restaurant offers.
4. Easy Times
The Easy Times template is casual and perfect for a café or diner. The customizable reservation form and interactive map make it easy for customers to book a table and find the location on-the-go. It’ll let any interested customers in the area quickly find and learn about your café so they can make up their mind on the spot.
This template is fully responsive and mobile-friendly, so your website will look great on any device, and it includes a CMS-powered blog to keep customers updated on the latest news and events.
The Mooshi template uses elegant typography to create a sophisticated and inviting atmosphere. This mobile-responsive template also includes pre-designed pages for the restaurant’s story, menu, and contact information, so you can easily add and customize content. It also includes dedicated pages for testimonials and social media integration.
Of all the templates featured, this is the simplest, meaning you can include the most important information without cluttering the site.
6. Dear Breakfast Lisbon
The homepage of the Dear Breakfast Lisbon website features a background video with close-ups of food and wider shots of the restaurant’s interior, immediately immersing potential customers in the dining experience. This designer chose neutral colors to match the coffee and a cursive font that gives the site a classy yet casual touch. The font is diagonally placed, like a signature on a letter.
Visitors to the site can browse the ecommerce store that features branded merchandise or check table availability using the online reservation calendar.
7. The Power of Vietnam
The Power of Vietnam website features fun, eye-catching animations interspersed with gorgeous photos of the food and restaurant interior. This gives new customers an early taste of the elegant yet lighthearted restaurant dining experience.
The restaurant’s contact information appears at the bottom of every page to increase the chance of customer’s inquiring further. The footer also includes an embedded Google Map to communicate the restaurant’s location. Viewers can click on this map to see how far the restaurant is from them, which might convince hesitant people to venture out if it’s close by.
Find the right ingredients for your website design
Convincing site visitors to eat at a restaurant requires a careful balance of stunning menu items, intuitive navigation, and clear information. Webflow’s no-code visual web development platform lets you add and remove visuals and track metrics regarding how people interact with them to see what hungry customers want to find most. Choose a restaurant website template and start building your site today.