Restaurant website design, like any kind of business website design, is critical because a restaurant’s website is often the first encounter a potential diner has with the restaurant. Think about it: when you’re deciding where to go to eat, how do you narrow down your decision? Proximity, price, the kind of food offered… all information you find on the restaurant’s website.
For a restaurant owner, effective website design sells a restaurant’s food and the experience it offers, promising a delicious experience to everyone who comes to visit. If you’re a restaurant owner, a soon-to-be restaurant owner or a designer tasked with creating a restaurant website, check out how the restaurants below are showcasing their goodies.
What great restaurant website design does
It doesn’t matter if you’re the fanciest steakhouse in your city or a little mom and pop breakfast joint that can only seat eight customers at a time. Your restaurant needs a website.
Because your restaurant’s website is its spokesperson, business card and primary advertising engine online. When people are looking for somewhere to eat locally, a great-looking restaurant website design can be the difference between them choosing to eat at your restaurant and going somewhere else.
Effective restaurant website design showcases a restaurant’s brand while providing valuable information. Restaurants can communicate their brands through the same types of design choices other businesses use, like color choices, brand voice, shapes, logo and fonts.
A lot of restaurants go beyond simply showcasing their brands and offerings and make their websites interactive. This is often the case with fast casual websites set up for mobile ordering, like Chipotle.
Online ordering is just one of the functions that set restaurant websites apart from other business’ sites. On a restaurant’s website, common functions include:
- Reserving a table
- Checking order status
- Seeing the current wait time
Creative UX and UI design can make your website not just appealing, but fun for visitors. Give them a way to build their own pizza on your website instead of just clicking ingredient buttons. Make it possible to listen in on the night’s live music via livestream. Build a fun widget for your website that gives visitors a chance at winning a coupon once per day. These are all ways to build engagement with your audience and make your restaurant come up first the next time they’re trying to decide where to go to eat.
Building this kind of overt branding and engagement into your website design also gives potential diners a preview of your restaurant’s look and feel. Communicating your vibe before they walk through your front door is important—there are few things more disappointing than walking into a restaurant for a first date and finding it’s more of a sports pub than the cute neighborhood bistro it looked like from its exterior.
Key restaurant website design elements
A well-designed restaurant website has a lot in common with other well-designed websites. No matter what kind of business a website is for, it needs to have legible text, big and engaging images and a clear visual hierarchy, among other design elements.
But there are also key ingredients to designing a successful restaurant website, and these ingredients are:
Focus on the food
The most important part of any restaurant is THE FOOD! The food needs to be front and center on your website. That’s why big, high-resolution, visually appealing photos are a must-have in any restaurant website design.
Of course your website should feature everything that makes you unique, like your unparalleled ambience, your location inside a historic building, your second-to-none banquet facility or your innovative use of tech, but even with all of these offerings, your food is the real star. Don’t sell it short with boring images, low-quality photos or a focus on anything other than the food.
Make navigation a piece of cake
Navigation has to be simple and intuitive. A visitor should never wonder how to get around your website and find the information they’re looking for.
When it comes to navigation, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Add a navigation bar along the header, footer, or either vertical edge of your website. Or if you really want to indulge in some foodie fun, try a hamburger menu.
The point is, no matter what type of navigation you use, it’s got to be clear and obvious, and it’s got to make sense to users immediately.
Serve up all the vital information
As a restaurant owner, you probably answer all of these questions frequently, possibly even daily:
- Where are you located?
- How can I order?
- What’s your phone number?
- Where can I see your menu?
- What are your specials?
- How can I make a reservation?
- What’s on your menu?
When somebody calls just to ask one of these questions, that’s time you’re spending away from the kitchen, the dining room and the diners currently ordering, eating and picking up takeout. That time adds up.
Your restaurant website design can save you a ton of time by making all this information immediately available. You can do that by putting the information that doesn’t change, like your address and phone number, in the header, and putting information that does change, like your daily specials, in a scrolling banner, homepage slide or a popup on the homepage.
Your website should also feature your menu in a prominent spot.
We can’t guarantee this will stop all the calls with questions…but ideally, it will cut down their volume.
Feast on these restaurant website designs
Bar Isabel’s website keeps it simple and focuses on the food. All the information you need is right there on the short homepage: where the restaurant’s located, what’s on the menu, options to reserve a table and order takeout and most importantly, a slideshow of artful photos showing the restaurant’s interior and exterior, the food and the team at work. It’s a clean look; no distracting backgrounds or animations here. Just a simple website that covers everything a visitor needs.
The simplicity is the great thing about Michi Ramen’s website. After scrolling past the mouth-watering photo of a bowl of ramen, you get a quick graphic on how to order your bowl. If you’ve never had ramen before (or if you’ve never had ramen that didn’t come in a freeze-dried block before), this graphic makes ordering from Michi Ramen super simple.
And those photos! There aren’t a ton of photos, but there doesn’t need to be. Check out the About page for some appetizing ramen ingredient knolling.
Your visit to the website starts with watching the protagonist select a bottle of wine from the thousands that line Bâtard’s shelves. You follow him into the restaurant, where he sits across from a woman, swirls his wine and twirls his fork in a serving of spaghetti.
It’s a brief story, but a compelling one. Bâtard’s website showcases the brand they’ve built on offering up a gigantic range of wines in a cool, intimate setting. Scroll down and you’ll see photos of the dishes and options to book private wine tasting events. We love the storytelling aspect of it and how Bâtard shows, rather than tells, with exquisite videography.
Going to this website is like watching a movie. You see everything: close-ups of delicious dishes, behind-the-scenes shots of the team hard at work in the kitchen, candid captures of diners laughing and enjoying themselves and action scenes of the bartenders shaking up custom cocktails. Laid over the movie is cool white text, with different sets of info in different sections of the screen.
Every page has a full photo background, and the gallery page is a camera roll of deliciousness. Throughout the website, Claro; gives visitors a sense of the restaurant’s look and feel, communicating the atmosphere they can expect when they visit as well as the food.
Like the other restaurant websites in this list, Kikunoi’s website puts the food front and center with big, colorful photos. The photos alternate between shots of the food and shots of the main restaurant’s lush surroundings. We also really like how this website instructs you to move through it. It’s simple, but that little “scroll” heading feels like a nice bit of conversation with the restaurant.
An ice cream parlor is a kind of restaurant, right? We really love how this website makes use of color and movement. Scroll down the homepage and you’re treated to warm contrasting photos and text blocks moving in opposite parallax as a white mandala in the page’s center spins.
One cool feature on Malai’s website is their Recipes section. Here, you can find recipes for all sorts of treats, like french toast and brownies, that either incorporate or pair with Malai’s unique ice creams.
Web design so good, you’ll eat it right up
No matter what kind of business you operate, a well-designed website is a must. There are many ways of getting a website. A great website designer can create a restaurant website design that is both effective and beautiful. Work with a designer who has experience cooking up delicious restaurant websites that get visitors’ mouths watering.