Looking to create a great site for a restaurant? Struggling to find the best WordPress theme for it? Basic restaurant sites are not difficult to build, but there are some very important best practices to understand before you create an effective restaurant site. It is easy to slip into design-hell for a restaurant site. The restaurant features unique and creative food so it should have a unique and creative site right? Not necessarily. In fact the simpler the better. A word to the wise: a restaurant site does many things, but its primary purpose is filling that restaurant to capacity as often as possible. That means a site should convert a visitor to a customer entering the door.
Often a restaurant owner wants their site to be a reflection of the experience their customers will have when they come to their restaurant. Like a work of art instead of what their customers actually want: access to their menu, location, hours and a reservations link. Resist the temptation to make a restaurant site a work of art.
In fact, building a restaurant site can be largely formulaic and straightforward. Your primary job is to create a site that gets just the right amount of information in front of a prospective new customer and gets that customer interested enough to try the restaurant out.
The look and feel of a restaurant site is different for the varying kinds of restaurants. For a high end restaurant, the site does need to have a little more flair to give the visitor the best example possible of what it would be like to actually be sitting in the restaurant. Casual restaurants need some flair, but mainly customers just want quick access to the information they are looking for.
Restaurant Sites Must be Simple
Potential customers need a way to easily get to the information they want in order to decide if they want to eat at a particular restaurant or not. For this reason, a restaurant site doesn’t need to be extensive. Customers want fast access to the information they need about the restaurant, so you really only need these pages: Home, Menu, About and if appropriate, Reservations.
This is where you can get a little creative but not too much. If the restaurant owner knows that customers are just looking for fast information, this is an easy page. Give it the look and feel of the restaurant without sliders and special effects. The simplest home page is the best. Don’t overwhelm a visitor with trying to simulate the ambiance of the restaurant itself. The customer often wants an idea of the ambiance of course, but most really just want the basic information about the restaurant so they can make their decision about whether or not to visit. Simple is best.
This is the first thing most visitors are looking for. It's an opportunity for the restaurant to show the menu quickly, while maybe giving just a feel of the ambiance. Don't index. Just show the whole menu. Backgrounds are key here to give the feel of the experience, but again, keep it basic. The best WordPress restaurant themes make this simple.
For some restaurants the menu is static, for some it changes often. Some restaurants change their menu seasonally and some higher end restaurants change it every week or even every day. Once the current menu page is created, you can give the restaurant owner access to the page by using the Pro content builder which enables them to edit their menu at any time with just a few clicks and no coding knowledge. This makes it abundantly easy for the restaurant admin to change the menu as often as needed.
Many customers do want to know more about an eating establishment. This is where you can be a little crazy with the design and UX and let the restaurant tell their engaging story. But keep this off the home page. Insist on that. Some restaurant owners want to tell their whole story on their home page. Don’t let them do it. If the customer wants to know the background of the restaurant, they will look for it. You just have to make it accessible via navigation.
For higher end restaurants you know that the reservations page is the conversion objective. Of course the simplest way to deliver this function is simply to front-end Open Table, Resy or any other reservation system. But if a restaurant doesn’t use one of these, it’s still very easy and effective to create a simple reservation system on your own. See the “Make it Effortless to Reserve a Table” section below for recommendations about how to do this.
The Importance of Good Photography
The customer first eats with their eyes and that’s why we can’t overstress the necessity of good photography. If the restaurant owner has not already invested in professional photographs of their plated meals, convince them to do so. This is an investment that pays for itself almost immediately. When customers see mouth-watering food, they respond. Good photographs create profit-producing cravings. :)
A quick check of local photographers’ sites will net you the right professional. Any photographer who knows close-ups will usually do a great job, even if they do not specialize in food photography. It’s not rocket science. Getting the lighting right is most of the battle.
Websites can be created with many different software systems but there is a reason why WordPress is the most popular platform by far. The ability for restaurant owners to easily make small adjustments and updates on their own is a big win. In addition, WordPress is highly customizable and extendable so that nearly any look and feel of a site can be accomplished. WordPress marries the world of professional website building with simple content management.
To cater to the ever growing demand of professionals who want to create highly optimized and converting websites we've built Pro. Pro is more than a page builder, it's a suite of tools that give you the power to create any website without the hassle of looking for additional plugins or themes. Pro is highly efficient, a pleasure to build with, and includes an abundance of pre-designed elements and resources that you can drag and drop into your design.
Bamboo Restaurant Demo
To give you an even quicker start we’ve created a unique restaurant demo just for Pro called Bamboo that you can use as a base template for your business. With a few quick customizations, you could use the Bamboo demo and have a new site up in an afternoon. This first rate demo is effectively a great restaurant WordPress theme all by itself.
Bamboo may be the fast start you’re looking for. It features everything we’ve talked about already pre-built for you. A home page that highlights the restaurant’s great food and a bit of the look and feel of the restaurant. An about page that covers the history of the restaurant and/or the owner’s vision and passion for great food. It also has a ready-made and easy-to-read (and edit) menu so customers can quickly grasp your food selections and prices and a reservations page that makes it easy to get in touch and reserve a table.
Pro Tips (no pun intended) for Making a Beautiful and Effective Restaurant Site:
Showcase Your Menu
When it comes to presenting the menu for the restaurant, it’s all about simplicity, easy-editing and making sure the menu looks great on any device. Thanks to our easy-to-use page builder you can create a customized menu like you would a document. Our builder enables you to edit text while previewing any changes so you can play around with formatting and wording and instantly see the results. Thanks to the smart logic of our columns and rows the menu will look great on any device.
Promote Your Offers
Making the restaurant’s potential customers aware of great deals or special events is a key, but often overlooked conversion element on the restaurant’s site. Pro comes with a wide range of extensions which you can check out here. One of them called ConvertPlus lets you create modals and popups that get triggered when someone visits a page or clicks a button or text. It also registers whether the customer is a new or returning visitor so that you can show them the modal only once to keep the browsing experience a pleasant one. In addition to ConvertPlus, the Pro theme features an abundant array of extensions that enhance the visitors experience and engagement with the site. You can see a quick demo of each one here.
Make It Effortless To Reserve A Table
If the restaurant does not use Open Table or another external reservation system, creating an easy-to-use contact page that collects the necessary information for a reservation is simple. We officially support Contact Form 7 and Gravity Forms which are the two most popular contact form plugins. Each lets you create custom fields and collect data easily. Surprisingly, many restaurants wimp out on this feature and it’s just not difficult to do it right. A contact form plugin solves this problem and allows the restaurant to also add the client to an email or follow-up list as appropriate. With one of the contact form plugins in conjunction with Pro you will have the ability to define unique fields for any information you need to gather on the reservations page.
Building Pages With Ease
There are many page builders around but only a few are easy to use and still powerful enough to provide you with great customizability. With Pro you’re only limited by your imagination. Thanks to an innovative header and footer builder in addition to the content builder creating simple restaurant pages that only consist of one page or sites that have dozens of pages and unique functionality is possible without any limitations.
Speed That Matters
Thanks to the revolutionary resource management of Pro, only resources that are actually used get loaded. This makes the site fast and streamlined, allowing for a great amount of functionality without being bloated. Only the specific assets you need get loaded and delivered. Speed is of utmost importance as websites with slow loading speed tend to have a significantly higher user drop off rate. The last thing you want to do is to bore a hard-earned site visitor.
Support You Can Count On
When building a site sometimes you might need a little help. With Pro you get access to a support team that is around 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We’ll help you with anything theme related and thanks to our extensive knowledge base most of your questions can be answered with a quick search.
Due to the fact that all our demos are highly customizable and options are endless we want to give you a glimpse into what’s possible with Pro. The Bamboo demo is immediately deployable and can get you most of the way to the end of your site project. But by dedicating some time and creativity in creating your restaurant theme, you can have a significantly unique and beautiful restaurant site with Pro. To inspire you, here’s a short list of sites using the Pro theme for their restaurant:
What are you waiting for? Give Pro a try today!