Today, everything about a restaurant has to be perfect — from the moment someone lands on the web page until the moment they tip the wait staff. Restaurateurs realize that while their food must be wondrous, their brand must be also.
Most restaurants do have websites, but so many of them are sad and neglected because of the time and expense involved in maintaining the constantly changing food menus or events pages. Until recently, restaurants had to rely only on Facebook, Yelp, and other review platforms to bring in hungry, new customers.
Today, with a user-friendly platform like WordPress and our complementary website training, we can design a gorgeous, food-inspired website that a busy restaurateur can update all by themselves.
A Foodie Website Study
The Hideaway in Ridgefield, CT is a classic example. They are a gastropub that opened in 2012 and spent the first few years establishing their food reputation. They made do with a dated, template website featuring only a few pages of badly displayed content. The website was only about 3 years old, but it looked kinda’ tired as many restaurant websites do.
So, when word of The Hideaway’s great menu started spreading throughout the region and hungry patrons started lining up to get a table on weekends, they decided it was time for a website upgrade.. and came to us for help.
We think they made the right choice. Things change quickly in the website world – both in visual style and in functionality and we pride ourselves on keeping up to date with the latest and greatest plugins and features. Our website design toolbox is perfect for many types of businesses including growing eateries. Plus, helping a business get to the next level is something we know a lot about. Here are a few of the things we brought to The Hideaway’s table… Get it?
We started with some photo shoots. Heidi, one of the owners, hired a local photographer for the general interior shots and we spent a few hours shooting The Hideaway’s historic building, once a dynamite shack for the early railroad and later a strip joint. Later, she brought in a food photographer and food stylist as this is a very specialized field.
The chef brought out dish after dish of beautifully plated food — sumptuous items like grilled corn with their husks still attached, a fresh, tuna burger covered with sesame seeds, and a gorgeous chicken pot pie baked to a golden brown. Drinks were photographed too and everything came out so fabulous, we couldn’t wait to get them up.
Copywriting and visual content
The second step was all about the website’s copywriting. For restaurants, this task is often challenging because the unique personality of the established must be clearly articulated. We interviewed the owners and the chef so we could add their perspective to the mix. We also wrote a page about the history of the establishment featuring old photos and before-and-afters of the current renovation.
All this is was well worth the time because lots of well-written content on a website is very important for SEO (search engine optimization).
It was time to begin the design!
The Home Page
The decision was made to feature a dramatic, black background to show off the splendid colors of the food photography. We then added a rotating slideshow on the homepage to make their website visitors very hungry. Romantic photos of the bar and dining room, with fireplace blazing, were also featured right up front to show potential patrons the incredible ambiance of this restaurant. Also, we added four sections below the homepage slideshow which were introductions to other important features of this particular restaurant… food, drink, events and history.
(This website was so much fun it was almost building itself!)
The owners emailed us their new menus for the fall season. These included all their categories including starters, salads, entrees, brunches, lunches, kids fare and much more. The bar had its own separate menus and included descriptions and pricing for every kind of wine, beer, cocktail, and specialty drink offered. These details are very important for both palate and pocketbook… and must always be accurate and up to date.
User-friendly websites make for very happy patrons… even before they show up to be seated. All of our websites are mobile-friendly because many people locate restaurants while in the car or on a tablet. And, because the owners can update their menus themselves, the visitor will always be able to trust that what they see is what they will get.
Events & Entertainment
As we said earlier, The Hideaway has music on the weekends that they wanted on an events page. This was easy to do until we decided these events had to auto-disappear off the website when the music ended and the late-night crowd went home. Showing off our technical abilities is fun and this worked out very well. Now the owners can upload an event schedule for the next few months… and never have to worry about taking it down!
Every good restaurant wants to feature their excellent reviews because reviews are the most important marketing a restaurant can have (and they’re free to boot). The Hideaway, with their lines out the door, had plenty of great reviews scattered all over the internet and social media sites. All we had to do was track them down and create a special page to feature them on. Take a look!
Complimentary WordPress Training
After a smooth launch, we offered the owners our customary round of WordPress training and now the proprietors can make routine changes to their menus and events on their own. The owner told us that their new WordPress website is absolutely gorgeous and the very best tool to grow their business! This self-maintenance aspect will help them keep it that way.
We loved this website project and will absolutely search for more local establishments that want to update their online presence. Let us show off your craft beers, marinated oysters with our mouthwatering, homemade menu bars.
View the website at www.thehideawayridgefield.com