I grew up in the restaurant industry. I started working at my parents’ Chinese restaurant since I was ten, cleaning the dishes, serving as a cashier, picking up the phone to take orders, and even delivering orders with my bike. Running a restaurant is no easy task, and I’ve experienced first-hand. If you’re a restaurant owner, you know how much a digital presence can make a difference in orders and sales. During the start of the pandemic, there was no other way around than helping them ramp up our restaurant website and invest in local SEO. Thankfully, my parents had me to help and support them.
If you’re a restaurant owner figuring out how to attract more customers through your website or SEO, or if you’re looking to refresh your website, you’ve come to the right place.
As a women-led, Asian-led, and Latina-led digital marketing and design agency based in SF with over 10 years of experience, we've helped numerous restaurant clients improve their online visibility and attract more customers through effective small business SEO strategies. We’ve helped companies 20X their traffic. Going from a couple hundreds of searches a month to 100,000+ a month.
In this article, we'll be diving into the world of restaurant website design and SEO, and how these two elements can work together to create the perfect pairing for a successful online presence.
We’ll be walking you through:
- How to design a restaurant website that works for you
- Share our restaurant template, used by restaurants across the world
- Dive into the best restaurant web design examples
- Local SEO tips for small businesses and restaurants
So grab your favorite snack and join us to design the best restaurant website optimized for search engines.
Restaurant Website Design 101
When you create and design a restaurant website, you want to start with your goals. Here are the questions I ask our clients when they think about doing a website redesign:
- What do you love and really dislike about your site?
- Why was your restaurant website built that way?
- What are the top 2 call-to-actions you want on your new restaurant website?
- What are the best designed restaurant websites in your opinion? Why?
- What’s your budget?
- What’s your timeline?
These are simple questions you want to ask when getting started, so you can choose the right partner for your project. Do you want to hire folks to help you, or do you want to purchase a template and edit it yourself, or do you want to buy the template and have someone make the edits for you?
Once you’ve picked and made your choice, you’ll start building your site!
How to Design a Simple & Modern Restaurant Website
Designing a restaurant website can be as fun and creative as preparing your signature dish! With just a few simple steps, you can whip up a website that perfectly captures your brand, style, and functionality.
Start Sketching Out a Basic Site Plan
This will help you visualize the structure and flow of your restaurant website, ensuring that your customers can navigate it with ease and click on the things you want them to click on.
Create a sitemap is helpful. A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your website that you want search engines and users to be able to access. It's like a map that shows the structure of your website, including all the pages and how they're connected to each other.
The usual sitemap for a restaurant website is the following:
- Order Page
- Menu Page
- Catering Page
- Locations Page
- About Us/Team Page
- Reservations Page
- Contact Page
- News/Blog Section
Choosing the Right Inspo: Direction, Colors & Logo
Next, it's time to spice things up with your restaurant's unique logo and colors. Think about the vibe you want to convey, and incorporate those elements into your site design. Whether you choose a pre-made template or customize your own, make sure it showcases your restaurant's personality and sets you apart from the competition.
At Slam, we usually ask our partners to complete a brand discovery guide, where we ask our clients:
- What websites do you love or dislike design-wise?
- What websites do you love or dislike structure-wise?
- What websites do you love or dislike copy-wise?
- What illustrations do you love or dislike?
- What social accounts do you love or dislike?
- What print materials do you love or dislike?
- What are the most important values you want to communicate with your brand?
- What are the feelings you want your users to experience when they first land on the site?
Once we have the answers to these questions, we create a mood board of inspiration to share the direction we’ll take of the website, from color palette to font pairing, to site architecture and photography & video style.
And now that you have the visuals down, it's time to dish out some great content that speaks to your audience.
Looking for a secret weapon to SLAM your next web build? Check out our restaurant website template!
Content Structure & Internal Linking for Your Restaurant Website
Great content writing is key for any website, especially for restaurants.
You want to structure your content in a way that is easy for both your customers to navigate and search engines to index. Start with your sitemap and ask these questions:
- How do they all connect to each other?
- What do you think your customers care the most about?
- Are they trying to find the menu, your hours of operation, or your different locations?
- Do you want them to reserve a spot at your restaurant?
- Do you want them to order online directly from you?
Creating a clear structure of your content before the design stage will give you peace of mind when designing your restaurant website or for your agency. If you need help designing your restaurant website, we got you! Book a free 30-minute consultation below:
For SEO, you’ll want to make sure that all your pages “talk” to each other. This means that no page should live on its own. They should be linked throughout your restaurant website in some shape or form, whether it’s the nav, homepage, or footer. That page should never be standing on its own.
Why? Because if Google can’t find it easily through these pages, it’ll not index it as fast.
In the content outline/wireframe below, you’ll notice that the Catering page is linked in the navigation and footer.
After you map this out, it’s time to work on the copy and spring in some SEO magic! For the copy, let’s make sure you have the right keywords in each page. Often times, agencies and designers forget this step. Not us, we always want to make sure your metadata and website is optimized for SEO from day one.
If helpful, we’ve made a couple guides to small businesses and restaurants like yours to rock SEO!
- Most Used Small Business SEO Guide [Resources, Tips, Examples]
- Small Business SEO Tools
- SEO Terms Explained
- SEO ROI Calculator
- SEO Keyword Research Template
Let’s dive in the next section.
SEO for Restaurants: Design, Keywords, On-Page Optimization
Designing a website for SEO is a lot like preparing a signature dish. You want flavor, ingredient, method, and quality all to be top notch. To ensure this, you want to ensure that your on-site SEO fundamentals are properly optimizing your website to ensure your business is found through Google.
Most new customers come from either Google (Maps, Search, Yelp) or word of mouth/referrals. This why we highly recommend starting with SEO when creating your restaurant website.
For Google, there are a lot of things you can do to optimize your restaurant website, including:
- Writing meta titles and descriptions: Meta titles and descriptions are snippets of text that appear in search engine results pages (SERPs) and give users an idea of what your page is about. They should accurately reflect the content of the page, include relevant keywords, and be enticing enough to encourage users to click through to your site.
- Ensuring the right target keywords are included in the right areas: Keywords are the words and phrases that people use to search for information online. By including relevant keywords in your restaurant website's content, you can increase your chances of appearing in search results for those terms. It's important to include keywords in key areas, such as the page title, headings, and body content, but it's also important to avoid keyword stuffing (overusing keywords in a way that makes the content sound unnatural).
- Including relevant images (compressed properly) and alt text: Including high-quality, relevant images on your website can improve the UX and make your content more engaging. It's important to compress images properly to ensure they don't slow down your site's loading speed. Alt text is a description of the image that appears if the image can't be displayed for some reason (e.g. if the user has a slow internet connection or is visually impaired). Including descriptive alt text can improve the accessibility of your site and help search engines understand what the image is about.
- Creating internal links: Internal links are links from one page on your site to another page on your site. They can help users navigate your site more easily, and can also help search engines understand the structure of your site and the relationships between different pages.
- Setting 301 redirects: If you change the URL of a page on your site or delete a page, it's important to set up a 301 redirect to ensure that users and search engines are directed to the correct page. A 301 redirect tells search engines that the content has moved permanently to a new location.
- Including a sitemap: A sitemap is a file that lists all the pages on your site and helps search engines understand the structure of your site. Including a sitemap can improve your site's crawlability and indexability.
- Making sure that the blog articles are optimized: If you have a blog on your site, it's important to optimize the blog posts for SEO. This includes including relevant keywords, writing high-quality content, and including internal and external links. Adding breadcrumbs and a table of contents will be helpful, too.
- Creating a mobile-friendly website: With more and more people accessing the internet on mobile devices, make sure you don’t forget this step. This means using responsive design, ensuring that your site loads quickly on mobile devices, and optimizing your content for mobile users.
Remember these as you’re building your restaurant website! By following these SEO tips for small businesses & restaurants, you can improve your website's visibility and ranking in search engine results pages from day one.
Tools to Build The Best Website Restaurant
It's time to design and launch your restaurant website! Fortunately, this part is the most fun. You’ll get to see live what you’ve been envisioning. As far as which platform to use, our favorite pick is Webflow.
What Platform Should I Use to Launch My Website Restaurant?
Why? Because Webflow offers a user-friendly platform for designing and launching a website for your restaurant, with plenty of customization options and built-in tools to help optimize your site for SEO. Compared to WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace, Webflow offers more:
- Customization: Webflow allows for a high degree of customization, giving designers more control over the layout, design, and functionality of the website. This can be especially important for a restaurant website, which may have specific design and functionality needs that are not easily met by other website builders.
- Speed: Webflow has a streamlined interface that makes it easier and faster to build websites. This can be especially important for restaurants, which may need to launch a website quickly to take advantage of time-sensitive promotions or events.
- SEO: Webflow allows for custom meta tags, page titles, and descriptions, as well as easy integration with Google Analytics and Google Search Console without having to use third parties or plug-ins, which can slow down a website.
- Security: Webflow employs multiple layers of security to ensure that websites built on its platform remain secure. This is important for restaurant websites, which you may need to store sensitive customer data (i.e. credit card numbers & purchase history)
Integrating with a Restaurant POS to Your Website
Integrating your restaurant website with your point of sale (POS) system is one of the best ways to increase your online orders. If you already use a system, integrating it to your restaurant website can help you earn more money because it’ll discourage your users to order from third parties like DoorDash or Uber Eats.
If you don’t have one yet, we highly recommend using Toast, one of the best POS solutions in the market. We’re big fans of it at Slam and have heard from many of our clients how much they love it! We even wrote a guide on Toast web design in case you want to learn more.
By connecting your Toast POS account to your Webflow website, you can streamline online ordering, enable contactless payments, manage menus and inventory, and access detailed reports and analytics in real-time. Toast also offers loyalty programs, gift cards, and marketing tools to make your customer base more engaged with your business.
By using Toast, you could potentially save up to $36K annually in commissions, as reported by the company. If you're interested in creating a Toast account for your restaurant, you can follow these easy steps:
- Head to the Toast website and click on the "Get Started" button.
- Provide the required information
- Select the type of restaurant you have, whether it's a full-service, quick-service, or bar.
- You'll then be asked to choose from several payment processor and hardware options.
- After completing these steps, you can schedule a demo with a Toast rep who will set you up with an account.
- Get ready to make more $$$.
Now that you’ve integrated your favorite POS, let’s get you set-up with all the Google tools for your restaurant.
Google for Restaurants: Google Search Console, Google Analytics, & Google Business Profile
Google is the #1 platform where new customers can find a restaurant. That’s why it’s so important to set up:
Google Analytics for Restaurants
Google Analytics (GA) is a free web analytics platform provided by Google that enables restaurant business owners to track their traffic, sources, user behaviors like how long your users spend per page, and the effectiveness of your marketing campaign.
For a restaurant owner, some of the key metrics to pay attention to in Google Analytics include:
- Traffic sources: You can look at where your traffic is coming from, whether it's from organic search, paid search, social media, or directly. This can help you understand which marketing channels are driving the most traffic to your website.
- Top pages: Check out what pages are getting most traffic. This can help you understand which pages are the most popular with your customers, and which pages may need more attention.
- Time on site: Need to see how long your customers are spending per page? You can see it through GA. You can see how they’re engaging with your site, or if you’re losing them too quickly, because they can’t find a button, or the information they need.
- Conversions: Want to know how many people are actually doing a reservation, clicking the menu or ordering online? You can track this too. This can help you understand how well your website is converting visitors into customers.
To set it up:
- Sign up for a Google Analytics account: If you haven't already, create a Google Analytics account by going to the Google Analytics website and following the sign-up process.
- Create a new property: Once you've signed up for Google Analytics, create a new property by clicking the "Create Property" button and following the prompts.
- Get your tracking code: After creating a new property, Google Analytics will provide you with a tracking code.
- Copy this code to your website CMS/platform clipboard. If you use Webflow, go to the Integrations tab in the Webflow Designer and click on the Google Analytics integration. Follow the instructions to connect your Webflow site to your Google Analytics account.
- Once your account is connected, you'll be able to track visitor data and behavior on your restaurant website, including traffic sources, visitor demographics, and which pages on your site are most popular.
- Use this data to make informed decisions about your restaurant website, such as which menu items to highlight or which pages to promote on social media. You can also set up custom goals and events in Google Analytics to track specific actions on your site (i.e. someone making a reservation).
- Regularly review and analyze your Google Analytics data to identify trends and opportunities for improvement on your restaurant website.
Google Search Console for Restaurants
Google Search Console is a free service provided by Google that allows website owners to determine how their site is performing in search results. It includes features such as reporting on crawling and indexing errors, monitoring your site’s traffic and performance, and testing your robots.txt and meta robots files.
To set it up, you have to:
- Go to the Google Search Console website and sign in with your Google account. Click on the "Add a property" button and enter your restaurant website URL.
- Verify your ownership of the website by selecting one of the verification methods provided by Google. The recommended method is to add an HTML tag to the homepage of your website or upload an HTML file to your website's root directory.
- Once your website ownership is verified, you can start using Google Search Console to monitor your website's search performance, index coverage, and other important metrics.
- Set up your preferred domain version (www or non-www) by going to the "Settings" section and selecting "Site Settings".
- Submit a sitemap of your website to Google to help with indexing and crawling.
- Go to the "Sitemaps" section and click on the "Add/Test Sitemap" button to submit your sitemap URL.
- Review the "Coverage" section to ensure that Google is indexing your website's pages and identifying any errors or issues. Use the "Performance" section to track your website's search performance and identify opportunities to improve your search rankings.
- Set up Google Analytics to link with Google Search Console for more in-depth website analytics.
Google Business Profile for Restaurants
Having an active Google Business Profile for your restaurant is a great way to increase search visibility and attract new customers.
With a Google Business Profile, customers can easily find your restaurant's location, contact information, and website.
In order to set up a Google Business Profile, you'll need to create a Google My Business account and fill out the form. This includes:
- Your business name
- Contact information (email, phone)
- Hours of operation
- Type of business
- A description of your restaurant
- Pictures or videos of your business
Once your profile is set up, Google will verify your address. Once verified, your new and potential customers will be able to search for your restaurant on Google and navigate directly to your website or leave reviews. Make sure to encourage your customers to write a 5-star review, so you attract more people!
Now that you have all the tools you need to grow your restaurant website, let’s look at some of the best restaurant website design examples!
10+ Best Restaurant Website Design Examples & Inspiration
When it comes to designing your restaurant website, you want to make sure it stands out from the competition. Here is a list of the top restaurant website design examples & inspiration we love to help you get started:
- Sprig & Sprout, a Vietnamese restaurant in the Washington DC area (designed by Slam)
- Nando’s, a national chain known for its Peri-Peri chicken featuring all their locations
- Shouk, a restaurant that makes innovative creations made exclusively from fresh vegetables, beans, grains, and lots of spices.
- Roll Play Grill, a fast food Vietnamese restaurant showing how playful street food can be
- Cotogna SF, a SF-based Italian restaurant known for its fresh pasta and elegance
- Izakaya Rintaro, an Izakaya with a simple but colorful website
- Broderick, a local burger chain with bold statements and colors!
- Limon Restaurant, a Peruvian restaurant chain in the Bay Area show how yummy their food is!
- Single O, an Australian Japanese coffee chain. The vibes match
- Tsujita LA, one of the best tsukemens in LA. Keeping the design simple and fresh!
- Red Rooster - A modern design with interactive maps, photos, and events listings
- The Clove Club: Minimalist design with simple yet effective photos of the restaurant’s dishes
What do these restaurant websites have in common? They stand out! They have clear call-to-actions, beautiful and intuitive design, and a restaurant website that makes you hungry!!!
Ready to Launch a Great Website for Your Restaurant?
Now that you’ve seen some examples of amazing restaurant websites, start designing your own site. By following the steps given above, you can create a website that reflects your restaurant’s values, attracts customers and stands out from the competition!
Remember, when designing your site, always keep in mind the needs of your customers and how you can make their experience with your restaurant as fantastic as possible.
If you’d like to partner with Slam, reach out now for more information! We’re usually booked 1-2 months in advance, but are always doing free 30-minute consultations. Fill out the form below!