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From a competitive angle, online restaurants have a lot more benefits than establishments operating purely offline. However, for ideal results, restaurant website needs to offer excellent visuals and user experience, all in one package.
With so many food businesses currently having their own websites, the diversity in restaurant website design is palpable and a sight to behold. The use of visuals, support plugins, third-party services, and interactive features provides an endless array of conveniences geared toward the benefit of guests.
And sure enough, while some have room for improvement, others pretty much hit the mark in terms of online marketing and branding that packs a punch. No two websites are alike, but some weaponize their various facilities and features to a uniquely influential degree.
Obviously, if you are reading this thinking that you too should jump on this bandwagon, that’s a great idea. However, while you will likely have to forge your own online identity and branding, the following examples of web design for restaurants can help inspire or inform you into making the right decision for your digital food place.
What Restaurant Websites Must Features
While different food places have different preferences, the best examples of web design for restaurants have a few things in common as we shall learn.
Like an actual restaurant, restaurant sites must make an inviting and lasting first impression to first-time and returning visitors. With themes, the best choices are those with simple yet striking color palettes that are complemented with bold text. That is just the branding side of things.
In terms of marketing, impactful web design for restaurants recommends the use of high-quality photographs of their establishment and menu items in order to attract hungry diners. And from a user-friendly perspective, menus and slideshows utilizing smooth animations are always welcome.
Booking Options and Promotions
Less online traffic does not necessarily mean that the actual restaurant will not be fully booked. Online booking allows users a more accessible path to reserving a table at the right date, time, and for the party size of your choosing.
Interactive, customizable booking allows staff to remove already booked tables from the list until the next vacancy. In case of any undue development on either side, bookings are easy to cancel, postpone, or move as is convenient to both parties. Developments in online bookings are much more easily notified in such events.
Moreover, restaurant websites are a great way for businesses to offer discounts or other promotions to visitors. Gift cards are always a welcome resource for customers looking for budget-friendly fine dining, or as a suitable last-minute gift.
Web-based platforms should grant a greater scale of flexibility and diverse service options to prospective visitors, including:
- Online Mapping
- Payment Gateways
- Engaging, Informative Menus
5 Examples of Web Design for Online Restaurants
1. KOI Dessert Bar
Based In: Australia
This Asian-inspired dessert business is a masterclass in showy, eye-catching website design.
The first thing you will notice as you visit this site is a straightforward webpage where all the navigation options appear front and center. In the background, you are met with an animated slideshow of the restaurant’s various establishments captured through stunning photographs. At the bottom are the business owners’ social media links.
As you visit each page, you get a glimpse of what is on offer if you’re interested in knowing more. This enterprise holds a reputation for its flagship artisan confectioneries and baked goods which are as visually stunning as they are sumptuous to the taste buds. Through breathtaking snapshots, popular and new dishes are arranged in galleries for easy ordering.
Customers receive the option to pay for orders via a number of gateways like Google Pay, Mastercard, Visa, and more. There is even a page where you can avail gift cards for a special night out with the company of your choice, or as a gift for someone who really deserves it.
Other site conveniences include a search option, restaurant locations with opening hours, contact information, and the chance to subscribe to a newsletter. On the “About” page, you get a chance to know more about the Poernomo siblings who, along with their mother, started this business through humble beginnings and how this business venture came to be.
Based in: Boston, Massachusetts
If you are craving Japanese cuisine while in the Northeast US, look no further than O-Ya. Just visiting their business website will give you an idea of what you can look forward to.
The landing page shows a slideshow of their most delectable dishes, each with an example of why remarketing is such a great tool for online businesses. Each frame contains a redirect to other official sites promoting O-Ya with rave reviews and favorable rankings.
Scrolling down, you are met with even more amazing photographs as well as a mission statement, by which time the choice of font and color scheme alone are as tasteful as they are easy on the eyes. On the top right are well-highlighted options for seeking reservations, viewing openings, and keeping track of events.
In general, the design uses a combination of warm yet sophisticated colors, stylish fonts, smooth front-end features, and spectacular visual promotion. While the menu is not extensive, it still features a compelling range of top-quality sushi, fragrant soups, small plates, and other tempting Oriental dishes that earn the restaurant its stellar reputation.
Curious visitors can enjoy other features like detailed press features, gift cards, email letters, and a chance to view more mouthwatering options and deals through the company’s Instagram profile.
Based in: Brussels, Belgium
Compared to the last two choices, the official site for this café-turned-fine dining joint exhibits a more minimalist web design while maintaining a visually classy yet user-friendly interface. Run by chef Grégoire Gillard and sommelier Barbara Hoornaert, Barge has a lot going for it if the website is any indication.
For a start, the use of elegant background and chic contrasting fonts is made even better through the results of what one can only describe as a well-planned and expensive photoshoot.
Apart from the visual storytelling, the call to action and business objectives feature in an equally impactful layout that is easy to read and understand. Clearly, the message that this design is trying to send is about the passion of the people involved in running this business.
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Diners enter a menu filled with food prepared with locally sourced ingredients and cooked by talented hands. There is even a page discussing wine pairings in detail for visitors that are really looking forward to a memorable night out.
Not only is this site well-crafted, but it also prioritizes user experience. All the location details, contact information, job offers, social media accounts, and other info are presented at the bottom of each web page. The menu and submenus are easy to locate, open with smooth movements, and offer seamless navigation across the website.
When you go to book a table, you are redirected to a page where you can book a reservation for either lunch or dinner and confirm the size of your party. The availability of seats depends on how full the place is, but the options to choose the ideal spot will most likely be available on the date and time of your choosing.
4. Reign Toronto
Based in: Toronto, Canada
Located in the Fairmont Royal York luxury hotel, this French-inspired fine dining establishment welcomes guests looking to book a private evening or a fun night out with friends. The site homepage makes it clear that this is no ordinary brasserie. The Reign offers visitors to try the restaurant, resident bar, or bakery for the dining experience of their choice.
Despite the limited color palette, the regal color pattern, luxurious font, and prime use of photography signify that this place promises a full course meal fit for a king. Whether you are interested in breakfast, lunch, fine beverages, or if you wish to skip right to dessert, this should be the place for you.
The “About” page features the site’s signature use of smooth graphics, only this time with a slideshow. And the choice of theme is as clear an indication of the pristine, high-brow environment awaiting them at the restaurant.
For reservations, you are once again redirected to a page where you can enter details as you please. Up to 20 guests per table are allowed the time of their choosing, pending availability.
The menu is divided into several categories based on course type and weekly preferences, and the opening hours for each establishment are in a concise list. Meanwhile, privileged guests can peruse opulent private suites for intimate nights out, supplemented with beautiful snaps and accommodation details about each room.
Based in: Downtown Portland, Oregon
First established in the late 1870s as a bar and sandwich shop, Huber’s has become known for its flagship caffeinated beverages and turkey-based dishes, among many others. But the truly remarkable feature of this long-running business has to be the official website. For a casual eatery, it is indeed a pinnacle of user-friendly web design.
Huber’s webpage utilizes pastel backgrounds and bold writing for an impactful first impression. But to really sell the experience awaiting them, visitors are met with a video montage of guests enjoying ale, close-ups of freshly prepared dishes, and bartenders mixing flaming cocktails, set to light, jazzy tune.
Upon scrolling down, you are met with even more mouth-watering images of food flanked by descriptive texts in stylish layouts. A slideshow with carefully arranged call-to-action invites visitors to explore the menu, specials, and view catering services.
This website displays just about everything including location mapping, contact and networking info, opening hours, and a review section. Reservations allow patrons to book tables per availability for parties of up to 19, with optional VIP recommendations.
Get the Right Service to Power Your Website
Aside from chains, most online restaurants do not have to attract a lot of traffic. But in order to satisfy the customers that do visit, they need to set the perfect examples of web design. A lot of that is achievable by choosing the right content management system for creating and designing web pages.
A lot of food businesses employ site builders that, while they have their benefits, don’t fully unlock the potential that they are capable of. For instance, long-running clients like BentoBox or newer players like SpotHopper are mainstays for online restaurants thanks to their ease of use and specialized service models for developers.
However, being made specifically for restaurants is not necessarily a favorable quality as this fairly limits their usefulness for creative web design. A much better choice would be to opt for a CMS like WordPress. Along with being accessible and more cost-effective, it offers a great deal more advanced features and flexibility to creators.
Some business owners avoid WordPress because they find the learning curve with some of the features a tad intimidating. However, in a competitive food market, it is still important to undertake complex routes as that offer better advantages and more comprehensive site capabilities.
Luckily, e-commerce services have the solution for inexperienced business owners in this area. Agencies that specialize in web design (e.g. WeLoveWeb) possess the framework and trained personnel capable of helping online businesses craft the best interactive, user-friendly web pages for affordable prices.
Plus, on top of fulfilling front-end needs in web development, businesses can also benefit from SEO, social media, digital marketing, OTA listings, and other facilities just through proper website optimization.
From what we have seen, the best websites around the world are using their online presence to their maximum advantage. It is not easy to craft a virtual interface that perfectly matches the environment offered to guests at the actual restaurants. But by mastering it, food businesses can integrate a wide range of features to benefit customers.
In terms of first impressions, choosing a well-designed theme and complimentary font is just a start. To maximize prospects, businesses need to explore opportunities like remarketing, smooth visuals, and breathtaking photography as part of their branding.
But that is just to get users interested. To keep them engaged, newsletters, interactive menus, booking options, social accounts, gift cards, and mechanisms for reserving tables are excellent features. As we have discussed from these examples, web design for a restaurant can accomplish a lot if you know what your priorities are (Hint: it’s the customers).