How to create an engaging
restaurant website design

A practical guide of what to throw at your friendly designer upon hiring

There are many useful articles out there about creating a beautiful and user-friendly restaurant website design that sells. So ours will be a little different.

We’re taking a deep-dive into what makes the user tick, color schemes and how to design the structure of your website so that it’s easy to browse and intelligently structured.

Disclaimer: No designers were harmed in the making of this article.

The brand color trap

It can very tempting to opt for a restaurant website design in your brand’s color palette, we know. But, just as your interior design needs to give off certain vibes to your customers – spacious, relaxing, welcoming, etc. – so does your website. It’s your identity card for those folks who maybe haven’t crossed your door just yet.

For example, say your logo is a bright red… did you use the same shade of red on all of your walls, floors, tables and staff uniforms? Of course not! It’s one thing to integrate it in your design’s elements, and completely another to turn it into a bull fight.

Try to blend that color into your website design, instead of making it the main focus. The story is about your cooking and service skills, not just the color of the logo. So make sure that people who land on your page will be able to focus on what you do without being distracted by a blinding color or 12 distinct shades of it.

And don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone - your logo might be red, but that doesn’t mean elements throughout your page should stick to it alone.

Choose your color scheme

Aside from the “color trap” mentioned earlier, choose a color scheme for your website that will make your food and menu items pop without distracting the user.

There’s also an entire philosophy behind colors and we usually associate them with a certain feeling. You’ll notice that a lot of restaurants have red logos – again with the red – and for good reason. Red and orange make us think about food and can trick us into a sensation of hunger, which means we’re willing to spend more.

Yellow and green are also good options as they are colors naturally found in the world of foods. This is why, for example, we don’t get the same effect if we see blue or purple as these are not as prevalent in our normal dishes.

Pro tip:
When photographing your food, see if you can add some red/orange accents – maybe choose plates or napkins in this color. Try to find a good contrast; for example, avoid photographing stew in a red plate as this would not bring enough contrast. For this, you can throw it in as an accent color, maybe for the table cloth or some decorative arrangement.

Images really sell

Hire a photographer to take professional, appetizing images of your dishes. It might seem like an extra expense but it will pay off in time, we guarantee it. Ask for their advice as well in regards to the color accents we just mentioned.

Make sure you include these images in your menu – customers enjoy seeing what they’ll get and they’re more likely to buy something they can visualize.

It’s also a great idea to use images when upselling an order and trying to convince the user to go for that extra dessert. Who could resist it they actually see it?

For background images throughout your website, if you’re on a budget, you can find free stock images websites like Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash or Stockvault. We also provide a free range or professional stock photos to choose from.

However, when it comes to the restaurant menu and your photo gallery, we highly recommend using real pictures of your food in order to avoid misleading customers.

Catch their eye

Web users have a tendency to scan pages instead of reading them, running their eyes over a page from left to right, usually in an F or Z shape, depending on the page/website type. For example, if it’s a content-rich page, users have a tendency to skim through the texts in an F shape. We normally use Z shapes when designing websites that are focuses heavily on visual elements.

This means that it’s highly important how you structure information throughout your website and make sure people grab the information you need them to see.

Try to avoid hiding your most important information (like where’s your location) within large blocks of text – there’s a big chance your website visitors are not going to read that. The trick is to place the most important content in visible places, where the user will normally skim over.

Tips & tricks:

  • Create “hot spots” where you can draw the attention over an element of the page where you need the user to look;
  • Most users only read headlines, bolded words and look at the pictures; it might seem sad for the effort you invested but truth is, they just don’t have time. So make sure your headlines are descriptive enough;
  • Include your address somewhere visible, where it stands out;
  • Keep the basic information (who you are and what’s your specialty) as light as possible; stay clear from long descriptions and just mention at the beginning of your page your name and cuisine and it’s more than enough. You can be more descriptive lower in the page;

Make it easy to find information

When it comes to structure, make sure that the most important information is easily accessible – who you are, what you do, where are you located and when are you open.
Read our guide about structuring your content here.

Aim to reduce clicks

Make it so customers can easily find what they need in 1-2 clicks.

Have you ever browsed a website and looked for something specifically but ended up spending too much time searching and ended up being frustrated?
Try to limit the effort your visitor makes so that you keep him engaged and focused.

For example, in your physical location, do you create a labyrinth and place the salt & pepper in the middle of it? No? Then why should your website be any different?

Try to understand what the user want to do on your page – usually see the menu, place an order or check out your whereabouts – and make it so even a child could access those. You can even place them in the navigation bar.

Contrast, consistency & devices

Your website visitors will check out your website from a wide range of devices so make sure your design works on anything from laptops, tablets and mobile phones.
Smartphones have already surpassed desktops as users’ favorite devices for accessing the web [1] so make sure the experience is flawless on smaller screens!

This also means that, while your design might look ravishing on your screen resolution and color calibration, it might look faded or overly saturated on someone else’s monitor.

While you cannot control the color settings others make, you can still make sure that you have a nice contrast for your content. Avoid using white texts over light background images for readability.

Tips to instantly improve your website:

  • Special fonts are nice for logos and maybe a headline, if it’s just the name of your restaurant; for the rest of the page, try to choose a font that’s easy on the eyes;
  • Speaking of, Google Fonts includes a nice selection you can simply import and use – see if you get inspired;
  • Pay attention to font hierarchy; bigger font sizes emphasize something more important and will immediately draw attention;
  • Be consistent! If throughout your page, your subheadline is 34 pixels, try to stick to it;
  • Adapt the font sizes for mobile devices; a large headline looks nice on desktops but it might take up the whole screen on a smartphone;
  • White space is important so don’t be afraid of “empty” pixels; these create a sort of breathing room for the eyes;
  • Be consistent with spaces - try to have the same distance between sections on your pages;

Optimize images for performance

Be mindful of your customer’s mobile data plan and optimize for the smallest of screens. For example, try to use an online file compressor for images to decrease the file size of your photos. Free online tools like Optimizilla or TinyPNG should do the trick in no time!

Not only will your customer’s KB stay in place but it also means your page will load faster.
And you need your website to load in a flash, without keeping the customer waiting in vain.

If all that seems like a hassle, don’t worry – we got you covered. We can easily generate you a website that’s already organized, optimized and looking dashing.

Restaurant website design with ready-made website template

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