If you own a restaurant, you may well be planning to take your business online. Yet designing a restaurant website can be challenging, and the number of options may seem overwhelming. If you’re a tech novice and you haven’t built a website before, it’s hard to know where to start.
The good news is that creating a restaurant website doesn’t need to be difficult. In a few basic steps, you can improve your customers’ experiences by offering menus, making reservations available, and even taking orders online. All of this can increase the exposure you receive in your local area and improve your profits.
In this article, we’ll look at the key steps involved in getting your restaurant business online. Let’s jump right in!
Why Your Restaurant Needs a Website
There are many factors that go into a successful restaurant. You’ll need excellent food, quality service, an appealing location, and more. Since the restaurant business is inherently brick-and-mortar, it’s easy to overlook the importance of a dedicated website.
However, customers increasingly expect restaurants to have an online presence. Data shows that 77% of diners visit a restaurant’s website before choosing to visit it. Deliveries have also skyrocketed, and customers overwhelmingly prefer to order food directly from a restaurant’s site rather than through third-party services like Uber Eats or DoorDash.
As with any other product, customers want to know what they’re getting beforehand. A dedicated website enables you to show off your menu, pictures of your location, prices, and more. Of course, it also makes it possible to offer takeout, delivery, and reservations online. In other words, this resource can both improve your customers’ experience and boost your conversions.
How to Design a Restaurant Site with WordPress (in 3 Steps)
If the restaurant business is where your expertise lies, you may be unsure whether creating a website is a task you can handle. Fortunately, it’s relatively quick and simple to set up a fully-functional site for your establishment, and you can easily get help if needed. Built By WordPress.com helps you to build your website. Let’s walk through the basics in just three steps.
Step 1: Choose a Platform to Build Your Website On
There are many ways to build a website. These range from simple website builders to custom-coding a site entirely from scratch (and everything in between). The former is easy but offers few choices, while the latter is time-consuming, difficult, and often expensive.
The best option is typically a Content Management System (CMS). This is a user-friendly software that helps you create online content, and offers lots of flexibility without requiring much technical know-how.
WordPress is by far the most popular CMS, and for good reason. It can enable you to create just about any type of website you can imagine. By using WordPress, you open up endless possibilities for customization.
For example, there are dozens of high-quality themes tailored exclusively toward restaurants. There are also tools you can use to add key features like reservation systems and online menus and tracking systems to your site.
Best of all, if you choose WordPress we can take the work of building your restaurant site off your plate. At Built By WordPress.com, we offer custom designs tailored to the needs of your establishment and patrons.
Step 2: Pick a Theme for Your Restaurant Website
Once you’ve set up your WordPress site, you’ll need to choose a theme. WordPress themes are central to the platform. They provide a unique look and layout for your website, add functionality, and allow you to create elaborate designs with ease.
The sheer amount of options that are available can seem overwhelming, so you’ll need to know what you’re looking for. Any theme might work, but it’s best to narrow down your search to themes designed specifically for restaurants.
While multipurpose themes offer some advantages, restaurant-orientated solutions provide easier customization and frequently come bundled with useful plugins. Functions you might find useful include reservation systems, custom page templates for menus, testimonials, and Google Maps integration.
You can get started by searching for free restaurant themes in the WordPress Theme Directory:
While you can also find premium options, there are plenty of feature-rich and customizable free themes to choose from. Plus, since they don’t cost a thing, you can install a few on your site and play around with them until you find the right fit.
Step 3: Add Key Functionality to Your Site Using Plugins
A plugin is a piece of software that extends the functionality of a WordPress website. There are over 50,000 free plugins available, plus many premium tools. Just note that if you have a WordPress.com site, you’ll need a Business plan in order to install plugins.
Here are some of the types of plugins that can come in handy on a restaurant website:
- A menu builder. You can create your menu with a basic WordPress page, but a dedicated plugin like Restaurant Menu by MotoPress can make it really stand out. This tool offers built-in e-commerce capabilities, and allows you to showcase your menu in widget areas.
- An ordering system. If you want to let customers order online (takeout, delivery, or both), you’ll need to add that functionality to your site. Your theme may include the tools you’ll need, but if it doesn’t, you can add this with a plugin such as RestroPress.
- Reservations. If you want to let customers reserve tables, you can check out a plugin like Five Star Restaurant Reservation. It allows you to accept reservations and table bookings, confirm and reject reservations, send email notifications, restrict booking times, and more.
Your restaurant may have unique needs we’ve not mentioned here (for example, a way to showcase reviews and testimonials). We’d suggest first making a list of all the features you want on your establishment’s website, and then searching for plugins that offer those functionalities.
Taking Your Restaurant Site to the Next Level
Now that you’ve taken your restaurant online, you’re ready to promote your business and show off what you have to offer. Remember that for many new customers, this will be their first impression of your establishment, so it’s important to treat your restaurant website design as a shop window and stay on brand throughout.
Let’s recap the main steps required to get your restaurant website up and running:
- Choose a user-friendly platform like WordPress.
- Shop around and find the perfect restaurant theme.
- Use plugins to add key features and functionality to your website.
Do you have any questions about designing a restaurant website? Built By WordPress.com can help you build your website.