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Posted on Thursday, 3ʳᵈ December, 2020

Many consumers now expect restaurants to have a website where they can read more about the food and book online, making for a more convenient customer journey. But where do you start? Setting up a website doesn't have to be complicated. Here we outline 7 steps to guide you through setting up the perfect website that will help boost your business visibility and increase your bookings!

Why set up a website?

Websites offer a good return on investment and go hand in hand with advertising. If you're planning to grow your Foodservice Business, a website should be your first priority. Over time the relatively low investment of having a business website will pay off by driving your new orders and reservations for your business. Find out exactly How to Set Up a Website, for Foodservice with these 7 Steps!

The steps to success
1. Pick a website builder

1. Pick a website builder

The first step in setting up your website is to choose the correct website builder. There are many to choose from, however, so evaluate your requirements before choosing the right website builder for you. Your expected budget and level of technical knowledge will likely play a role in which platform you choose.

Popular website builders include:

  •  Wix: https://www.wix.com/restaurant/website
    An extremely flexible and easy-to-use platform that lets you pick a template of your choice, add text and
    images to it, and move elements to any place on the page. You don’t have to start designing from a blank slate.
  • Squarespace: https://www.squarespace.com
    If you’re looking for beautiful customisable templates, the freedom to blog and showcase photo galleries, and
    also add a fully-integrated store to your restaurant website, this platform is perfect for your business.
  • WooCommerce: https://woocommerce.com
    An intuitive platform which will help you create an online checkout system and provide you with unlimited
    delivery options with its host of e-commerce features using interactive widgets and functions.
  • Wordpress: https://wordpress.com/create-website
    You can choose from a wide range of themed layouts and customise according to the vibe of your restaurant.
    While you need a bit of technical assistance, you're sure to get exactly what you want with the easy-to-install
    add-ons.

2. Choose a Domain & Hosting

2. Choose a Domain & Hosting

After you have signed up at one of the above website builders, you'll need to purchase a domain name and hosting plan as well as set up your email account.

  1. Your domain name should be your business name. If this name is taken, try adding a local element to it to differentiate you, like your city. Generally, it is better to own the .com version of your domain, so try and avoid country domains.  View the Best Food and Hospitality Domain names!
  2. Now you need to choose a hosting plan. Again, find a hosting plan that has a dedicated Wordpress, Squarespace, or Wix service.
  3. Finally set up your email account! This is of course a domain-based email account. Best practice here is to include a branded email account like hello@restaurant.com or book@restaurant.com.

3. Choose a Theme

3. Choose a Theme

Choosing a theme is like designing your menu or finalising your restaurant interior. Your website is an online representation of your business and choosing the right theme is important for ensuring a great customer experience. When choosing your theme, consider the following questions:

  1. What is your objective? To drive orders? To facilitate online bookings? To promote your business? Try and find a theme that already offers an online ordering service or can integrate with one, like WooCommerce.
  2. What is your style? Dark and moody or fresh and bright?
  3. Which cuisine do you offer? Usually, your cuisine should be evident in the theme you select. This will ensure website visitors experience the authenticity of your offering.
  4. Guest Experience: Use a theme that is easy to navigate and has plenty of space for large imagery to feature your dishes. This includes bold call-to-action buttons for ordering and booking. Try and find a theme that includes a dedicated section for customer reviews.

4. Add your Food-service Information

4. Add your Food-service Information

Now that all the basics have been set up, you can configure your theme to best represent your business! Some of the common information required for a Restaurant or Food Delivery business include:
  1. Menu: Upload a digital version of your menu to your website. Also, include a pdf version that customers can download and keep for future bookings.
  2. Gallery: People eat with their eyes right? Make sure you include lots of pictures (in a gallery or carousel format) of your dishes! Also feature photos of your physical foodservice location that best illustrates your ambiance.
  3. Location: Everyone needs to know where you are located! Even if you only deliver food online, consumers base credibility on basic information like address and contact details.
  4. Contact: Include a contact number as well as your newly created email address. This way guests can also contact you if they have questions about bookings, dishes and more.
  5. Reviews: Consumers trust fellow diners more than they trust brands. Reach out to a couple of loyal guests asking them if they're willing to write a great review for you in return for a complimentary drink.

5. Set up Ordering & Booking

5. Set up Ordering & Booking

If your primary objective is to drive orders and bookings, make sure you have everything set up for convenient online ordering.

For online bookings/ reservations, make sure you have a system in place that integrates this with offline bookings. Nothing technical is required! You can simply ensure that all online bookings are filled in your reservation book or system. Dedicate one person to check online reservations daily.

For online orders, have another system in place that ensures neither online customers nor physical in-house diners are delayed. Since most kitchens have an allocated "Food Delivery" or "Online Ordering" section, make sure that this section of staff only prepares online orders. This just streamlines the process and prevents customers from getting annoyed and staff from being overworked!

6. Sign up for Google My Business

6. Sign up for Google My Business

Every business needs to be listed on Google for maximum exposure and legitimacy. Find everything you need to know about optimising Google My Business for your restaurant with our free guide.

7. Market your Website

7. Market your Website

Finally, without marketing who would know about your new website? To get started with digital marketing in the hospitality industry, check out these articles.