It has never been more important to perform a website update than it is now. 2020 was tough on everyone; from canceled plans to being stuck at home, everyone has had to find unique ways to adjust to the current situation. Nobody knows this better than small businesses, many of which have had to modify their business practices to stay safe and stay afloat. Perhaps the most difficult of these changes have occurred in the restaurant business. Many restaurants made huge changes in the last year to keep up with sanitation and state-mandated safety protocol. Still, these measures have not calmed the anxieties of customers enough to get them in the door. Restaurants all over the country are seeing lower sales, with walk-in and bar business falling to an all-time low.
Moving into 2021, the challenges are largely the same. To adapt and keep afloat this year and beyond, it’s imperative to have a user-friendly and up to date website. With more and more orders being placed online, consumers will often pass on ordering from restaurants with clunky or outdated websites. Making changes to your website can feel daunting (and expensive), but having numerous benefits and services is more affordable than you may think.
Functional Ordering Platforms
When analyzing whether it’s time for a website update, it’s important to understand what constitutes a “good” website for a restaurant. The main function of many of these websites is ordering food, especially in our post-COVID world. Many members of the younger generations prefer to order food online anyway, to ensure that there are fewer communication errors, and they can take their time to decide what they’d like. Therefore, your restaurant website’s first priority should be to include an easy-to-use ordering system. The menu should include ingredients and allergens. The ordering system should allow substitutions, modifications, and notes on each item (if your policies allow such things); a central concern for many customers is food allergies and special diets.
Pickup and Delivery Updates
Many customers enjoy the peace of mind of real-time updates to their order status. Including a widget that shows them how long until their food is ready allows them to plan their meal time properly. If they’re doing pickup, real-time updates ensure that they can time their trip accordingly and won’t be stuck standing in the foyer waiting for their food.
With the restaurant industry’s saturation of options, it’s important to stand out. However, customers ultimately seek authenticity these days. To blend the two, make sure your restaurant’s website reflects your business’s brand and mission. Updating your website often ensures that your page’s aesthetic is trendy and eye-catching while playing up your strengths keeps your business feeling authentic to customers. If you have one particularly popular dish, highlight that. Using eco-friendly packaging and ethical business practices recently? Make sure users know that. If your restaurant is woman or BIPOC-owned, scream it from the rooftops. These are the elements that catch customers’ attention and keep them coming back.
User Experience Is Key
Though articles on user experience, or UX, often center around tech and commerce websites, they’re equally important for restaurant sites. UX encompasses the user’s entire experience with the site, including ease of use, loading time, functionality, and access to information. This means that all the pertinent information should be easily accessible from the landing page for a restaurant. If any part of your website is glitchy or takes a long time to load, users will likely get frustrated and go elsewhere. It may seem like a snap decision on their part, but these things do matter.
Lots of customers order food from their phones rather than on a computer. It’s helpful to have a mobile-friendly site to go with your regular one to capitalize on this. This ensures that you’re not losing customers because your UX efforts were geared toward a device they’re not using. Generally, the mobile site will look the same as your standard website; it’s just formatted to look better on a small screen.
Get Help From a Professional
As a small business owner, it’s normal to feel bombarded with options. It often seems that everyone has something to say about running your business and ways to improve sales. For restaurants facing a pandemic, truly the easiest and most effective way to boost growth and sales is by updating your website. At Imagine Monkey, we know that many businesses don’t have lots of money to throw around at the moment, and we are proud to offer affordable website design services to help you. A functional, aesthetically pleasing website doesn’t have to be expensive, and you shouldn’t have to go into debt while trying to keep your business afloat. Reach out today for a free quote, and let’s get your restaurant on the road to post-pandemic recovery.