In this digital day and age, restaurants need to have great websites that provide customers the information they want and need to draw them into the dining experience.

Restaurant Engine and SEO Aware have given some tips for what every restaurant website needs to bring customers into their unique dining experience.

To illustrate some of these elements, we'll use San Antonio's own Bella On The River as an example.

Mobile Optimization

According to Google, more people search on mobile devices than on desktop computers. If your site looks great on a desktop but does not provide a full interactive experience on a smartphone or tablet, customers on the move won't be able to get the information they need from your site.

As you can see below, several elements are adapted from the desktop to make it user friendly on a mobile device.

[caption id="attachment_5575" align="aligncenter" width="625"]Desktop Desktop[/caption] [caption id="attachment_5574" align="aligncenter" width="537"]Mobile Mobile[/caption]

Simple Navigation

When you design your navigation, think about the most important information. Restaurant Engine says, "Your menu bars are not the place to get super creative." Menus, directions, reviews, and contact information are the main reasons people will be visiting your site.

Include other pages that will convince people to choose you, but make sure that your navigation includes a simple, easy-to-use menu of items that are important.

Online Menus

SEO Aware recommends including at least your lunch and dinner menus online. Make sure they are readable and that they have pricing information. Giving potential customers more information up front means they'll be more comfortable choosing your restaurant over one they know little about.

It is also recommended that your online menu mimic your physical menus so that customers can easily find their favorite dishes. Bella's website does a great job of offering you just the menu that you're looking for, including special diet and upcoming event versions. The text is easy to read and includes prices, even on the mobile version.

It is recommended that if you put prices on your menus, you should add a disclaimer. Including “prices are subject to changes” cuts down on upset customers if your prices update before your site.

[caption id="attachment_5573" align="aligncenter" width="625"]Desktop Desktop[/caption][caption id="attachment_5576" align="aligncenter" width="427"]Mobile Mobile[/caption]


It is also recommended to include reviews and testimonials by happy customers or even reviewers. This will give your customers the confidence to choose your restaurant based on the fact that others have enjoyed your dishes and the experience themselves.

Map, Hours, Parking, and Directions

Once your customers are wowed by your site, enticed by your menu options, and won over by your reviews, they have to know how to get to you. A map, directions, and parking instructions are also essential. Especially if your restaurant is located in a larger, urban area, knowing what parking is available can help save your guests frustration and time.

Make sure you embed a Google map so that they have the option of clicking the "directions" button to get step-by-step instructions.

[caption id="attachment_5567" align="aligncenter" width="625"]Desktop Desktop[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_5568" align="aligncenter" width="376"]Mobile Mobile[/caption]

Phone Number

You will always have customers who prefer to call instead of looking through your site. Include your phone number on every page in an easy to find place, "so whether your visitor landed on your site's homepage or pizza page, they'll find important information quickly."

Also, don’t forget to make it clickable on mobile devices so that customers don't have to memorize your number to re-enter it into their phone.

BONUS: Have an Easy-to-Update Site That You Own

Make your life easier. Have your site built on a easy to use platform, such as WordPress, and on a domain that you own. The last thing you want is a site that is hard to update or could be taken down if you decide to work with another web company.