Design Considerations for Restaurants
Restaurants need certain things out of their websites that aren't required of other businesses. For example, many websites exist as extensions of a business but also function autonomously in some regard. A customer, for instance, may be able to order an item off of the website or buy it in person at the store. The website can bring in business all on its own in such cases and the brick-and-mortar location doesn't even figure into such a transaction. The situation is much different for restaurant web design.
The Local Edge
Absent its brick-and-mortar location, a restaurant simply makes no sense. A great deal of what a restaurant sells is the experience of coming in and dining and, because of that, restaurant web design has the specific task of bringing in customers to the establishment. If a restaurant website fails in this regard, it's not worth the price of having it built. There are some design considerations that play directly into making a website that attracts people to an establishment that any restaurant owner needs to be aware of and to make certain are considered in their own design.
Mapping can be done via free services such as MapQuest, Google Maps or Bing Maps. There are plenty of other ways that a restaurant web design expert can add a map to your establishment to your site, as well. Having a map to your establishment on the site ensures that potential customers know where to find you and, with the features on most mapping systems, they can take a look at the street where you're located and be sure they know where to park and so forth.
Your contact information has to be more than an email link or a contact form. You'll need your phone number on your site and you'll need to make sure that it's displayed prominently and on every page. People are likely to call a restaurant for directions or parking advice, so you have to make sure your restaurant web design makes that as easy as possible for them. The phone number should be on the top of the page, easy to read and impossible to miss!
You can add reservation forms to your restaurant web design if you want to offer a way for people to reserve a table without calling. The caveat is that the reservation form has to give them information about whether or not their reservation is booked. If they send in a form and assume that the reservation is made but a table is not available, the establishment ends up looking bad. If you're adding this sort of technology to your site, be sure you have it done right and be sure that the feature can instantly let someone know if the table they wanted was already booked.
Menus are the most important parts of websites for restaurants. Your menu presentation needs to be done in a way that makes it as easy as possible for customers to read but that also has a lot of style. Menu creation is one of the most complex restaurant website design tasks.