The Dos and Don’ts of Web Design for Restaurant Owners

Restaurants are very difficult to operate efficiently. It’s one of those high-risk areas where it’s easy to mess up something that seems trivial, only to snowball into a big problem.

While entrepreneurs involved in this business have had many opportunities to learn about the conventional ways of running a restaurant, the same cannot be said for web design.

A good website design has the potential to save your restaurant. During and after the Covid-19 pandemic, several classic restaurants, such as Francesca’s Passaggio the Kenison in Chicago, had to close due to declining sales and revenue.

Many of them had been around for some time, but age didn’t seem to matter. What mattered was the cold, hard truth of sales, and the fact is that a well-designed website could have helped many of them.

With this reality in mind, let’s look at some of the most important dos and don’ts when it comes to designing a website for your restaurant.

1. Make the Menu Easy to Access

This is one of the most important aspects of your website. You want to ensure that when customers land on your website, they can access your menu with a single click directly from the landing page.

For example, look at the Chicago restaurant website Urbanbelly.

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While the landing page is a full-page video of their chefs preparing delicious products, the first button on the top left of the page is for the menu.

Additionally, the site isn’t cluttered with a lot of call-to-action buttons. They provide links to the most basic information, and that’s it. Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll find more buttons placed neatly away.

Although it looks clean and tidy, this site messes up in one key way.

Don’t side: You want to avoid uploading your menu as a downloadable PDF file. This is a terrific way to present your restaurant. Urbanbelly makes the mistake of doing this for both desktop and mobile sites, which is a bad call.

Instead, you want to ensure that your menu is clearly visible as a dedicated page on your website and is easy to read. Also, avoid the awkward practice of omitting prices as some restaurants tend to do.

2. Take advantage of images and videos

Videos and images are one of the best ways to convey the kind of experience your restaurant offers. Professionally shot content can sell your products much better than ever before. This is one of those niches where good media content is more valuable than well-written copy.

Pizzeria Vetri is a good example of this. Although they don’t use video, their images are high quality and convey the kind of quality food they offer.

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Don’t side: Coming to the other side, you need to integrate the media properly. Most people hate websites that decide to automatically start playing audio and video. They like to be in charge of these things. Sure, it may seem simple, but it can easily turn off potential customers.

3. Optimize for mobile users and other platforms

We already touched on this point a bit when we discussed the importance of your menu not being a downloadable PDF, but there’s more.

When designing a website, you want to ensure that you present a consistent experience to users across different devices and platforms.

Here’s an example of a mobile-optimized website from The Purple Pig, a restaurant on Michigan Avenue in Chicago:

Image via The Purple Pig

If you are considering starting a restaurant or already have one and want to upgrade your online presence, consider investing in a company that has experience with good mobile optimization and web design.

Alpha Efficiency is one such company that specializes in web design in Chicago. Judging from their portfolio, it’s clear that they are skilled at creating ergonomic, mobile-optimized websites that look modern, stylish and fast.

Alpha Efficiency not only helps with mobile optimization, but also offers many related basic web design services such as eCommerce store development, which can be great if you want to build an online ordering system. They also design websites with SEO as one of their core principles.

SEO refers to search engine optimization and allows websites to gain visibility and reach more customers than before.

The emphasis on mobile optimization should not be taken lightly.

Remember, the majority of users are going to access your website from their smartphones. You want to approach web design with this in mind. Instead of seeing mobile optimization as an afterthought, make it your first priority. Once you have a fantastic mobile site, focus on the desktop version.

Mobile optimization also includes ensuring quick and fast loading times, because when people search for restaurants to eat, all it takes is an extra moment to wait until your customer returns and finds another place.

There’s no point in having a beautiful mobile page if it doesn’t load on time. Finding a good balance between load times and aesthetics is key.

4. Choose the right color palette

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The relationship between color and appetite is quite interesting. A website that incorporates the right color palette into its design can be surprisingly effective. There are several reasons for this. First, colors have the ability to evoke emotions and influence, at least a little, customer behavior.

Colors like red and orange can be used to stimulate one’s appetite, while cool colors like blue and green can be associated with more natural-type menu offerings. Think green tea and healthy smoothies.

Don’t side: You don’t want to use too many colors as it ends up being overwhelming. Colors should also be used in terms of website consistency. The last thing you want is to have text that’s hard to read because your color palette wasn’t chosen correctly.


Starting or running a successful restaurant in Chicago or anywhere else can often feel daunting, especially when one reads about how many of them keep closing. However, a closer look at the situation tells us that this is because they are not getting the sales they need.

A stunning website is one of the best ways to find a new set of users who can become potential customers.

This is especially true when your site is optimized for a number of parameters that ensure increased visibility. SEO, mobile optimization, and UX and UI design are all important tools that can greatly impact the success of a website and, therefore, your restaurant.

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