How to Make a Website for a Restaurant for Free
As soon as you decide to start a restaurant business, you should be ready to encounter multiple problems you’ll need to solve the sooner – the better. One of the most burning issues is business promotion. This frequently becomes a challenge, considering the number of restaurants that make up serious niche competition. This is what makes a website a must for any restaurant or cafe.
A website will help you reach several goals at a time. It will boost your restaurant credibility and customer trust, providing exhaustive information about it. It will also make your potential and existing clients aware of special offers, thus encouraging them to give preference to the place and recommend it to their friends and relatives.
Finally, it will make your business stand out from the crowd, giving it credibility many other similar businesses lack. Personally, I cannot imagine a popular restaurant without a website, which seems to be the best visiting card of it. Now that you realize the importance of having a restaurant website, it is high time to find out how to get the one for your business.
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. These include:
1. The Choice of a Domain Name
Mind that the domain name should be the reflection of your restaurant specification and, thus, it should initially include its brand 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. Selection of a Web Design Service
There are several variants to choose from here, such as CMS, custom made website from a web studio or a freelance designer or a DIY website made 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. Design Choice
Design selection is one of the most painstaking parts of your website development as this is the first thing users pay attention to, when visiting the resource.
A restaurant website should be visually appealing and it should display your restaurant specialization and related info in the best way possible to engage customers to keep browsing it. Website builders mostly offer niche restaurant and cafe templates you can further customize based on your needs.
4. Website Menu Development
As soon as you are done with the design choice, you should proceed to the development of its menu structure. Don’t make it too long and bulky.
Instead, 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 as well.
5. Filling 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.
6. 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.
Best Website Builders to Create a Restaurant Website
The list of website builders you can use to launch your restaurant website is pretty extensive, but let’s focus on the most advanced services that are really worth the attention and can ensure decent result.
#1. Wix – The Best Restaurant Website Builder
Wix is a universal 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 offers affordable pricing policy, which encompasses five paid plans. There is also a free never-expiring plan, but it works for testing the system and improving your web building skills only. If you really intend to build a professional and profitable restaurant website, then you won’t go without choosing a paid subscription.
The plans currently include Connect Domain ($4.50/mo), Combo ($8.50/mo), Unlimited ($12.50/mo), eCommerce ($16.50/mo) and VIP ($24.50/mo). While Connect Domain plan is not quite what you need for your website because of its limitations, the rest of the plans provide multiple options that will boost your website performance, bringing it to the brand new level.
#2. uKit – The Easiest Restaurant Website Builder
uKit enjoys the utmost popularity as a small business website builder. This is what makes it a pretty good choice for launching restaurant websites from scratch. The system is built with the needs, requirements and skills of newbies in mind, but it can equally be used by web design experts involved in the development of custom made projects for clients. The WYSIWYG system works great for building websites of catering services, small cafes, online food delivery services and other suchlike projects.
uKit Restaurant Website Features:
Just like Wix, uKit also offers a set of features that allow launching decent, alluring restaurant websites with superior performance and in almost no time. If you are right about to get the one for yourself, mind the following advantages:
- Exceptional Ease of Use. uKit is really the easiest website builder, which aims at non-techies and provides a broad range of options and customization tools that allow creating a restaurant website in less than a few hours, even if you are not a pro.
- Cafe & Restaurant Templates. The website builder has a collection of responsive themes pre-designed specifically for building cafe and restaurant websites. What you need is to replace the ready made content with your own and go online.
- CRM Integration. The tool allows keeping track of your potential clients and discounts, which lets you control and boost business performance and ensures the best user experience.
- Widget Integration. It’s easy to integrate the system widgets (LiveChat, Call Back option, MailChimp, SoundCloud, social network buttons) into your website to give it advanced performance.
- Promotion Tool. The service also contributes to the effective promotion of your restaurant website, allowing you to integrate a SEO widget and make use of the benefits it offers.
uKit is not only the easiest website builder, but it’s also the cheapest one. The system doesn’t have a free plan (even though, it has a 14-day trial period), but it offers 4 paid plans, the cost of which will be a pleasant surprise for everyone. These include Premium ($4/month), Premium+ ($8/month), eCommerce ($9.6/month) and Pro ($12/month) plans. You can use any of them to launch your restaurant website, depending upon your preferences and needs.
#3. IM Creator – A Free Restaurant Website Builder
IM Creator is a free state-of-the-art website builder, which is easy, user-friendly and intuitive. It is a perfect choice for creatives and small business owners. This means that the service can be used to build restaurant websites in a blink of an eye, even if you are not skilled in web design.
IM Creator Restaurant Website Features:
IM Creator encompasses a set of merits, which make the system a nice choice for the owners of restaurants, who wish to go online. The most remarkable features are listed below:
- Responsive Niche Templates. Just like Wix and uKit, this website builder also offers a pretty nice selection of responsive and highly customizable cafe and restaurant themes, which are absolutely free.
- Advanced SEO and Web Design Standards. The developers of the system have made it possible for website owners to take full SEO control of their performance and content. Your restaurant website will be fully optimized for Google crawlers.
- Stripes & Polydoms Technology. This unique feature simplifies the web building process by using content blocks (Stripes) for different functions that perfectly match each other and can be chosen with regard to the functionality you’d like to see in your restaurant website.
IM Creator is 100% free for students, creatives, artists, small businesses and non-commercial organizations. However, if you wish to avail the entire feature set the system offers to make your restaurant website profitable, then it makes sense to upgrade to the Premium subscription, the cost of which ranges between $5.95/mo for a 3-year plan and up to $9.95/mo for the Biannual plan.
#4. 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 a paid Pro Plan, the cost of which constitutes $10/mo ($99/year). 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.
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.
Launching a restaurant business is a challenging and responsible task. Making it successful and prosperous is much harder than that. Building a website to establish online presence for your restaurant or cafe is the first step to its advancement. 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.
Universal website builders like Wix, uKit and IM Creator can cope with this task much faster and more effective due to their powerful options and design customization tools. To get the most out of the web building process, though, you’ll 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!