Squarespace for Restaurants & Foodies
Running a restaurant is not for the faint of heart! We know that it takes long hours, lots of hard work behind-the-scenes, and dealing with the (sometimes) ungrateful public. With already full plates, we can understand how some restauranteurs choose to forego a website altogether or, if they do have one, let maintaining it fall to the bottom of the priority list. If this sounds like you, don’t worry - you’re not alone. We recently contributed to an article talking about this very phenomenon and the number one reason why small business owners didn’t have a website is that they felt that it wasn’t relevant to their business(). For people in the food industry, this is likely because you think like word-of-mouth and local advertising are enough to get people in the door. Unfortunately, this isn’t Field of Dreams. You can’t just build it and hope they will come.
Regardless of industry, having a website is an important place to set the first impression, but for a restaurant, food truck or cafe we feel that it does even more than that. Your website is the place where you can establish your branding and set the tone and expectations about the experience your customers will have when they dine with you. They can immediately understand things like the mood of your establishment, the price point, the menu, and the specials. They can have quick access to things like reservations or a map of your locations, freeing you up to focus on more important things than answering phone calls. Speaking of, if you’ve tasked your host with updating your social media or website in addition to their regular duties, you may be doing yourself (and your customers) a significant disservice. Updates that take pros like us minutes can sometimes eat up hours of their time, and when things aren’t updated quickly or correctly, customers can quickly become confused or unhappy with the service in person. Fortunately, getting online is easier (and way less painful) than you think with lots of benefits for your business.
Benefits of Having a Website for Your Restaurant
Aside from having a place online where customers can check out your menu and drool over amazing pictures of your food, your restaurant website does a lot of other hard work for you as well:
Menus that are featured on your page (not as PDFs or JPGs!) using actual on-page text help tell search engines like Google know what type of cuisine you offer and may help improve your search ranking. Squarespace has a specially formatted menu block that turns your menu into SEO-friendly text that’s also beautiful for human readers.
Having a website that shows a map of your location and your hours helps visitors and search engines alike. People will easily know when you’re open for business and Google will be able to use that information to serve your business up to the answer to questions like “What’s the best dinner near me?” or “Where can I get a bagel nearby?”
Adding features that allow customers to place an order or reserve a table online are an easy way to boost your bottom line immediately! Diners are used to getting what they want when they want it and restaurants that offer online ordering and reservations through apps like ChowNow or OpenTable make sure that your website works as hard as you do!
Tips & Details
Invest in great photography. You know as well as anyone that people eat with their eyes first. Beautiful plating, great lighting, and an enticing atmosphere are an essential part of the experience, and it’s worth it to give people online a preview of what to expect in person. Find a local photographer whose style you like and talk with them about doing several, small photoshoots throughout the year instead of one, big shoot only every few years. This way, your photos always look fresh, you can show off updated menu items, and you’ll always have a few new pics to share on your website and social media.
Put the announcement bar to work. Remind people about special events happening at your restaurant that may require reservations or of things like holiday hours or closures that may be different than your normal opening times.
Connect Instagram to your site. Make sure your Instagram account is connected to your Squarespace website and post frequently. You may not need to update your actual website too often if your menu stays mostly the same year-round but posting weekly specials and events on your Instagram is a great way to keep people coming back often to see what’s new.
Consider blogging. Not only does blogging help your website stay fresh and current but it gives people a reason to keep coming back for more. Your blogs can be anything from behind-the-scenes takes on procuring the freshest ingredients to simplified make-at-home versions of some of your signature dishes. Pair your blog content with ongoing social media activity to regularly keep your name in front of customers.
Whether you’re just getting started in the food biz or are a long-established local institution, having a website for your business is essential. If you’re not sure about the best route forward, our team can help guide the way, and tools like our Squarespace Guide can help you understand all the potential in working with a pro to create a home on the web for your business. Whatever you do, just don’t do nothing… and don’t try to turn your hostess into a web designer!