Design Lessons for Restaurant Food Websites

You may the best restaurant in town but if it has no online presence then you could be potentially losing out on new customers every single day. That is a lot of revenue to slip out of your hands. While other companies may have the luxury of time as well as allow for changes on a regular basis with their websites getting tweaked according to customer preferences and responses, restaurant websites more or less have to get it right from the get go. They have to make sure that the customers are able to navigate their way successfully to the menu and also to the reservation section before they get bored and lose interest. Here are a few design lessons to ensure that your restaurant website looks the best it possible can.

  • Images are Powerful

Foods_(cropped)As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and when it comes to food, that saying is definitely true. People are visually stimulated and a well photographed image of a dish can induce a person to want to sample that dish. If you are concentrating on the content of your website but don’t pay attention to the photography of your food, then your website could be doomed for failure. Photographs sell the food to the viewer first.

The thing is taking a good picture of food isn’t a simple job. There are trained stylists who know how to enhance the look of your dish and how to bring out the best in it. A poorly taken shot of a poorly dressed dish in a bad layout can make a world of a difference in enticing customers. Bad food photography can drive away clients.

  • The Ambience and the Atmosphere

Not only should the food be the primary feature, but you also have to sell the ambience to the visitor. What makes a restaurant unique and special is its ambience. New restaurants have different themes to make them stand out from the crowd. With so much competition, it is not enough to only sell awesome food. Now you must also have an awesome atmosphere. This means that you have to convey the ambience of your restaurant to your website so that visitors who are curious about your restaurant can get an idea of what makes you different and what to expect.

This also gives an idea about various things – like how exclusive is it, do you need to dress up or be yourself. Remember, it is always the visuals that can draw people, so you need to communicate the ambience on your website too. For example, if your restaurant is a railway theme, you could come up with some clever photo shoots that convey this theme on your website as well as use certain design elements.

  • Exploit texture & Color

Good_Food_Display_-_NCI_Visuals_OnlineIt’s great to have a very visually tactile design on your website. This means use texture to your advantage. Many website designers use a variety of realistic textures as backgrounds for type of even in standalone pictures. This gives an added dimension and breaks away from the solid color theme layout that many websites follow. Be smart about your color usage – it’s a key element in drawing in visitors.

  • Create Custom Web menus

Don’t be lazy and upload a scan of your actual menu. Firstly, the text will be hard to make out and frankly, it’s annoying. Your design element shouldn’t be focused only on the images and layouts – the way you structure and design your menu is equally important. Try breaking it down into breakfast, lunch and dinner and then further section it out with your various dishes offered. This gives your menu clarity as well as presentability.

My friend Bobby and I decided to open up our own restaurant company while we were still in college. Things seemed easier back then – with the wind beating down on your balcony, a drink or two in the hand and of course the attitude.
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