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Having a good website is essential for any restaurant. It’s often the first point of contact a potential customer will have with your business and should illustrate your brand identity and drive traffic to your location.

It should display your menus, testimonials from satisfied customers, and food provenance and ethos, where suitable – e.g. if you’re dedicated to sourcing local produce and sustainably caught fish, or to using only compostable packaging, or to supporting community initiatives, then make sure you get that message across on your website. Customers will respond to a business that feels individual and responsible.

As a takeaway that does deliveries or order/collect, you will probably want to enable online credit payments; this requires payment security and protecting customers’ data.

What Steps to take

1 – Get your domain name – this has to be the name of your business! You pay an annual fee to a registrar for the right to use that name.

2 – Choose a Web Host – A web host is a company that provides a home for your website. You create an account with them to host your page.

3 – Designing your web pages – now you have your name and host, the next step is to design the website itself. One option is to hire a web designer and get them to do all the work. Another cheaper option is to do it yourself using one of the free online website builder sites. These will often help with your domain name and serve as a web host. Popular ones for small businesses include Wix.com, Squarespace, Weebly, 1&1 and GoDaddy.

Whichever way you do it make sure that the look of the website matches the rest of your branding – particularly colours, logos and fonts.

4 – Testing the website – make sure to test it out on all the major internet browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. It’s also important to test it on different devices from PCs to phones to tablets.

5 – Collecting Credit Card Information – If you have an order and collect or deliver option, you will probably want to enable a payment function.

6 – Get it noticed – putting your website on all your branding and advertising material is essential to direct traffic to your site. You can also employ a web optimisation business that will help your website show up on web searches.

 Top Tips

Look Professional – Ugly, messy or homemade-looking websites are a visitor turnoff.

Be Secure – If you accept online credit card payments for products or services, your site must comply with all regulations. Protect your customers data!

Use the same name – Make sure that your website uses your business name, when a customer types in the restaurant name they should be sent directly to your website.

Click to call – With many people looking up websites on their phones it makes sense to have a button on the website that allows them to call the restaurant.

Keep it Simple – the customer should be able to get what the business does at first glance. Have your signature dish displayed on the first page. Promote your USP!

Use Customer Testimonials and Invite Feedback – visitors will see happy, well fed customers and inviting feedback will create interaction with the business.

Keep it up to date – it’s important to regularly update the website and introduce limited time offers through it to show a dynamic side to the business.

Keep it Connected – make sure that all your social media links back to the website. Have your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook buttons prominently displayed.

Images are Everything – Make sure the photographs are amazing. They are what is selling your food. If you don’t have access to a good camera, hire a professional to make your food look great.

Make Payment Easy – make sure that you’ve done everything possible to make it super easy for your customers to pay for your food – a simple checkout system is all you need.

 What to avoid

Complexity – don’t have a complicated and difficult to navigate website. Don’t have a cover page that you have to click to enter – Just show them your best photo of your best menu item! Avoid automatic flash animation, distracting music and text that jumps around annoyingly. Avoid anything that slows down the loading time.

Errors – Don’t have dead links on your page or links that leads to error messages. This will give your website the feeling of being unattended or worse abandoned.

Continuous scrolling down – Don’t list every single item on your menu in one long continuous scroll. Where possible, group sections together.

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