How to Make a Website for a Restaurant for Free
Running a restaurant business is an advantage in itself. You do what you like and you make profit, while working on your business development. Can there be anything better than that? However, when you just start your business, you don’t even think about the problems you will encounter on your way to success.
If you really wish your restaurant flourish and stand out from the crowd, get ready to solve the problems the sooner – the better. One of the most burning issues you’ll have to solve is your business development and promotion. This can e a daunting and time-taking task, considering the amount of competitors.
To make your restaurant thriving and popular, you won’t go without launching a website. It will not only present your business to the advantage on the web, but will also help grow customer base. The better you present the info, special offers and other restaurant-related data – the more clients will be encouraged to visit ir or place online orders.
A website is the best visiting card of your restaurant. Even if you are not a web design pro (and you don’t have to be that person), website builders will help you create and manage a full-featured restaurant website with almost no hassle at all. Let’s have a look at the most popular and functional web building tools you can use for this purpose now.
Best Website Builders to Create a Restaurant Website
The list of website builders you can make use of to start a restaurant website is quite impressive. Let’s analyze the most advanced and feature-laden services, which are really worth your attention and can ensure high end and long-awaited result in the long run.
#1. Wix – The Best Restaurant Website Builder
Wix – is an all-in-one website builder, which works great for web design pros and newbies, who have a clear understanding of how their restaurant websites should look like and what features they should encompass. The service has everything you need to bring your web design ideas to life – this is what you need to launch a website that will engage customer attention. Wix is easy-to-use and comes with intuitive dashboard that doesn’t take much time and skills to be properly mastered.
Wix Restaurant Website Features:
Wix unveils multiple advantages for everyone, who intends to launch a quality and functional restaurant website. These include:
- Restaurant Templates. The website builder offers a special category of mobile-optimized restaurant and cafe templates, where you can pick and customize the one, which will present your restaurant in the most favorable light.
- Exclusive Menu Design. The system allows adding and managing your own menu directly at the website, specifying the prices and selecting the design that works best for your restaurant website style.
- Wix Restaurants Orders. The app enables your clients to place their orders, organize the delivery and make the payments (cash or credit cards) online with no commission rates. This is also the place, where customers can divide the bill, if they place group orders, which is also very convenient.
- SEO Wiz Guide. The tool contributes to quick and effective promotion of your restaurant website by improving its online visibility.
- Online Table Booking Option. Your clients will be able to book tables in a restaurant by using such apps as OpenTable Reservations or Wix Reservations.
- Social Network Integration. You can promote your restaurant website in the social networks, while your guests will be able to share their comments and reviews there.
Wix has moderate yet user-focused pricing policy. The website builder currently offers separate plans for standard and eCommerce/business websites.
The system additionally provides a free never-ending subscription that makes it possible to test the feature set of the service at no cost at all. This is not to mention an opportunity to improve your skills, while creating standard non-complicated projects for personal use. Wix free plan, however, won’t work for professional restaurant creation as it requires deeper functionality.
Standard Wix plans encompass the following subscriptions: Combo ($13/mo), Unlimited ($17/mo), Pro ($22/mo) and VIP ($39/mo). eCommerce/business plans, in their turn, include Business Basic ($23/mo), Business Unlimited ($27/mo), Business VIP ($49/mo) and Enterprise ($500/mo).
Whatever subscription you will go for, it will include a certain amount of storage space, online payment option, custom domain connection, multiple payment feature, absence of Wix ad banner and commission fees and other privileges.
Additionally, the website builder frequently offers discounts, bonuses and special offers that let you save big, while launching your restaurant website.
#2. WordPress – The Best CMS for a Restaurant Website
WordPress – is a free open source Content Management System that has gained worldwide popularity due to high end performance and advanced design customization options. The service makes it possible to start, manage and update contemporary restaurant/cafe websites, providing convenience and exceptional integration options.
WordPress Restaurant Website Features:
- Integrable Restaurant Templates. The CMS comes with built-in and integrable templates that work great for the development of restaurant websites. You can choose from free and paid themes, with latter being designed by third-party experts.
- Table Reservation Plugins. Among a variety of integrable plugins you can choose for your restaurant website, table reservation plugins (Open Table Widget, ReDi Restaurant Reservation, WooCommerce Product Table, Restaurant Reservations, ResRes, Restaurant Manager, Booking System PRO etc.) should be the first to mention. They make it possible for your clients to book tables directly at the website, which saves their effort and time.
- Online Menu Plugins. With WordPress, you have a perfect opportunity to create impressive and visually-appealing menus via plugin installation. Some of them are as follows: Responsive Menu, Hero Menu, Floating Menu Pro, UberMenu, Max Mega Menu, Superfly, etc.
WordPress is a free CMS, which can be easily downloaded and installed. To enhance the functionality of the system and boost your restaurant website performance, through, you won’t go without integration of extra plugins, templates and add-ons. Additionally, you’ll need to invest into hosting and domain name choice as the system does not offer them by default.
#3. Weebly – The Simplest Restaurant Website Builder
Weebly – is a simple yet feature-laden cloud website builder, which is used to create different types of websites. Its eCommerce focus has made it possible to launch professional restaurant websites without writing a line of code. Due to the convenient drag-and-drop editor of the system, abundance of customization tools and a “box” model structure, everyone can use the service for business website building purposes.
Weebly Restaurant Website Features:
- eCommerce Engine. The website builder comes with the integrated eCommerce engine that lets you give your restaurant niche features, including online payment options, order placement, booking and many more.
- Restaurant Page Layouts. When adding very new web page, you can pick a certain layout for it with regard to the type of restaurant/cafe you run. Apart from such layouts as homepages, about us sections, contacts etc., you can also pick creative menu designs for your restaurant website.
- Video Hosting. Weebly come with integrated video hosting that lets you upload all kinds of restaurant-related videos either from YouTube or directly from your computer.
- Weebly App Center. The website builder encompasses a collection of applications and extensions you can choose and add to your restaurant website with a single mouse click only. Some of them that might be useful to you include LiveChat, Event Calendar, PinPoll, Call-out-Box and many more.
- Form Builder. With Weebly, you can now create online forms to let users create RSVP lists, surveys, custom contact forms and other website elements. This will especially work great for restaurant websites, which target specific customer types.
- Restaurant Templates. Weebly offers a stunning collection of restaurant templates, which are responsive by default and allow for CSS code editing options.
Weebly is a moderately-priced website builder, which has separate plans for standard and eCommerce projects. There is a free plan, while the cost of the paid subscriptions (Connect, Starter, Pro and Business) starts with $4 and reaches $25 per month for ordinary websites. There is a separate eCommerce Performance plan, the cost of which constitutes $38 per month.
#4. Squarespace – The Most Contemporary Restaurant Website Builder
Squarespace – is a cloud website builder, which covers a broad variety of users’ needs and allows launching restaurant websites with abundance of features and services offered. The system is a great pick for entrepreneurs, who are just about to start their restaurant business and wish to go online. Squarespace is not quite difficult to master, although, newbies may need time to explore all the system nuances.
Squarespace Restaurant Website Features:
- Comprehensive Marketing Campaigns. The website builder lets you reach and grow your customer base via the use of comprehensive marketing tools. These include social marketing features, email marketing campaigns etc.
- Responsive Restaurant Designs. Squarespace boasts one of the most award-winning industry templates that are responsive and fully-customizable to come up to your requirements.
- eCommerce Engine. The system lets you add a fully-integrated web store to your restaurant website to sell gift items, merchandise, special courses, popular menu foods etc. You’ll be able to use and manage inventory tools, accept and process orders, send emails and complete other steps.
- Special Restaurant Features. Squarespace provides you with the entire feature set needed to start and manage restaurant websites. These include impressive menus, event calendars, OpenTable reservations etc.
- Logo Maker. If you can’t create a logo for your restaurant website, the website builder allows using the advanced Logo Maker to help you design the one, which will make you stand out from the crowd.
- Advanced Image Editing Tools. As far as Squarespace is also known for its portfolio-building focus, it comes with an amazing assortment of image editing tools and options. This allows creating stunning restaurant menus with high-res photos of dishes you serve. This is one of the features users frequently find attractive about restaurant websites.
It’s quite difficult to call the website builder moderately-priced, but its paid subscriptions are definitely worth the investment. Squarespace doesn’t have a completely free plan. Instead, it offers a free trial that extends for 14 days. Paid plans are as follows: Personal ($12), Business ($18), Basic ($26) and Advanced ($40).
#5. Let’sEat – A Specialized Restaurant Website Builder
Let’sEat differs from the other website builders reviewed in the post. This is a specialized restaurant website builder, which can be used solely for launching this type of websites. The system is easy-to-use and deserves the attention of cafe and restaurant owners with little or no coding skills at all.
Let’sEat Restaurant Website Features
As a specialized restaurant website builder, Let’sEat comes with a broad range of features that will become a nice contribution to this website type. Let’s have a look at some of them now:
- Menu Builder. The system makes it possible to design your restaurant or cafe menu, which may differ a lot from that of your competitors.
- Industry-Specific Templates. The system has over 45 niche-specific templates, but their quality leaves much to be desired.
- Coupon Generator. Let’sEat allows designing discount coupons to be either displayed at your website or printed out for better client generation.
- Let’s Eat Marketplace. This is the collection of third-party apps, which can enhance your restaurant performance (Online Ordering, Job Management, Reservations, Social Media, Email Marketing and more)
- Calendar. This is where you can add, update and schedule the upcoming events to keep your clients informed about them.
You won’t find a free plan in Let’sEat. What you will be offered instead is the only paid plan, the cost of which constitutes $10/mo ($99/yearv). The price will be reduced, if you decide to pay annually. In this case, it will be decreased to $8.25/mo. To test the plan, you can use a 14-day trial period, which is enough to explore the entire feature set of the website builder.
Building a Restaurant Website: The Ultimate Guide
The launch of a restaurant website (just like that of any other business) implies several must-have steps. Here is what you should to make your restaurant website a success:
1. Pick the Domain Name
When choosing the domain name for your restaurant website, keep in mind that it should initially reflect its niche specialization. Thus, the domain is just unthinkable without your brand name mentioning. Sometimes, though, popular brand-related domains are already taken and unavailable. In this case, you can add any specification to it, be it a location, specialization, type of a restaurant and what not.
2. Select a Trusted Web Design Service
There are several variants to choose from here. These include CMS, custom made websites ordered from a web studio / a freelance designer or a DIY website launched with a website builder.
- The first variant implies web design expertise and advanced coding skill level.
- The second option works best for business owners, who are ready to invest into their restaurant website development.
The use of website builders, in its turn, is the best alternative to the previous two variants as these services are easy-to-use, convenient, affordable and many of them don’t require any web design skills, providing a rich feature set instead.
3. Choose Website Design
Proper design choice is one of the most time-taking, challenging and responsible steps of the entire website development process. This is because the way your website looks is what initially drives the attention of potential customers and makes it stand out from the crowd, especially when compared to niche competitors.
A restaurant website should not only be visually attractive, but it should also display your restaurant specialization and related info in the best way possible to encourage customers to keep browsing it. Website builders mostly offer responsive niche restaurant and cafe templates you can further customize based on your needs.
4. Develop Website Structure
Are you done with design choice? Then it’s high time to proceed to the development of its structure. With this purpose, you may have a look at websites of your niche competitors not to overlook must-have sections, pages, categories and elements.
Don’t add too many pages or sections as this may puzzle first-time users. Likewise, don’t forget that all the most important website elements should be at hand so that your customers won’t spend their effort and time browsing website pages and looking for them.
Make sure to include the most important points most users are interested in, such as the About Us page, Menu enlisting the dishes, their photos and descriptions, Special Offers, Price List, Customer Reviews and, of course, Contacts. If your restaurant has any special highlight, you can add the missing points to the website menu or even a separate section as well.
5. Fill Website with Content
Now that your website structure and menu are ready, it is high time to fill it with content. Make sure it unveils the most important aspects of your restaurant and provides the detailed info about it.
Browse through the samples of restaurant websites available on the web and see what they offer and how they structure the content to engage client attention. Content is the most crucial part of your website. Keep that in mind.
Take Care of SEO Promotion
Creating a website is only a part of the business. The next aspect you should be concerned about is its further promotion. How else will your visitors find out about your restaurant and will be ready to reach it online? Your website should be well-optimized for the search engines to get to the top positions.
The success of your SEO promotion frequently depends upon the web building option you have selected as many services have different offers. Website builders, for example, are mostly SEO-friendly, which eliminates the necessity to hire professional SEO companies to promote your restaurant website.
5 Must Have Elements For The Best Restaurant Website
As soon as you decide to build a restaurant website, you should think about the elements that will not only enhance its visual appeal, but will also contribute to its performance. The combination of these two factors affects the impression the website will create upon the guests. The must-have elements for a successful restaurant website are as follows:
- Effective Menu. Make sure your restaurant menu is logically-structured, well-designed, easy-to-navigate and understandable. Provide the descriptions of dishes, high quality images and prices.
- Table Booking Option. Your clients should have an opportunity to book a table in your restaurant in advance so that they wouldn’t have to wait. This boosts their comfort level and contributes to positive impression.
- Meal Order and Delivery. Most clients will value an option of ordering meal delivery from your restaurant directly at the website. This will speak in favor of your business credibility and client orientation.
- Call Back Feature. By adding this feature to your website, you will let your clients leave their call back requests, specifying the time when they will be open for a conversation.
- Client Reviews and Comments. A restaurant website will look incomplete without client reviews and comments. This is the first section many newcomers visit to get an impression of your restaurant.
Having a restaurant website is a must for every owner of this place, who intends to grow customer base, make profit and promote the business with maximum efficacy. The more successful the website development process is – the more chances you have to withstand niche competition and make your endeavour prosperous.
What you should realize is that building a website is the first and, probably, the most important part of the entire process. However, you should also know that boosting its online popularity matters a lot as well. To get outstanding result, you should successfully ad wisely combine these two factors.
When it comes to website development, it’s quite clear that the prevailing amount of entrepreneurs don’t have a single notion of what this process includes. This is not to mention the awareness of coding skills.
Using a website builder is a surefire way to make this process quick and effective. These systems are specially meant for users with different web design skills and allow creating decent restaurant websites with no hassle and serious investment of time, money and effort.
Specialized website builders like Let’s Eat come with the full feature set needed to build restaurant websites, but these features are somewhat limited and do not allow unveiling the entire potential of your website.
Content Management Systems like WordPress are somewhat difficult to master. They imply the preliminary knowledge of web design basics. Website development expertise is also desirable here, if you wish to reach the high end result. Using WordPress is unthinkable without plugin and template integration, which also requires certain coding awareness. If you are not a web design pro, it makes sense to give preference to website builders.
All-in-one website builders like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace can cope with restaurant website creation much faster and more effective due to their powerful options and design customization tools. They also come with restaurant-specific features and templates, which will give your project desired functionality and impressive design.
To get the most out of the web building process, you’ll frequently have to use a paid plan, which provides access to the advanced features. They can maximize the effect, bringing your restaurant website to the new level. May your restaurant be profitable and popular with clients!