After checking a restaurant’s online reviews, guess where your potential guests head? Over half of them turn to your business’s website. Is it up-to-date and compelling? It you want to stick around in this challenging industry, it’s best to take a good long look at your number one marketing tool. Let’s check out some of the best restaurant websites of 2018 and pick through the pages to determine just what makes them the “best.”
While pouring through Awwwards list of top food and drink website designs around the world, I was impressed, to say the least. Though there were some whose design proved distracting, others demanded that I click the link.
The first one to draw me in was Bathtub Gin of New York City. You know from the first glimpse that it is a modern speakeasy. The site is extremely easy to navigate from entertainment to menus. Pictures of both their food and design leave you wanting to see and experience the restaurant first hand.
From here, I was taken to Lawrence, a culinary destination in Montreal. There was something simple yet intriguing. A picture of a delicate apricot-colored drink, a painting of a fish and muscles, a handwritten menu on a mirror. I wanted to know more. Scroll down the page and one picture after another pops up on the screen, including menu and prices. And guess where their story led me? To Boucherie Lawrence, a butcher shop, and Larry’s, a café—all owned by the four individuals that started Lawrence. I learned a lot from their website. Special mention: A brilliant marketing technique on the part of the website designer—links to Twitter and Instagram are front and center.
Next stop: The Pointe Restaurant in Tofino, Canada. A breathtaking picture with ocean waves and giant pines left little to see of the inn where the restaurant is located. Which is, of course, why it stops you in its tracks and makes you look a little further. What lies beyond the ocean waves? A restaurant that sounds extraordinary, run by people that sound passionate, serving food that is authentic, farm-fresh, organic and local. And I received all that information from the dining tab. Did I stop there? No. I proceeded to the Wine Cellar, On The Rocks Bar, Events, Blog, and Menus. I almost placed a trip to Canada and The Pointe Restaurant on my calendar. Then, I saw Foie Gras on the menu. Oh-well.
I have to tell you, at this point, I was truly excited. I normally only visit a restaurant’s website when I’m considering which business I would like to dine at. I often find these to be fairly basic with too much information that crowds out the finer details. On these award-winning sites, I found an artistic, noble sense that truly inspired.
Which leads me to the final site: Vollerei Restaurant & Bar in Salzburg, Austria. I tend to dismiss most videos, but this one proved too captivating. I watched in awe (and a slight drool) as a view of what I imagine to be the Austrian Alps appeared. The chef picked wild herbs and then proceeded to prepare a meal and drinks that can only be described as beautiful.
What is the unifying theme amidst all of these outstanding websites?
- Easy to navigate
- Stories that stir the soul and excite. I know, by the time I’ve scanned the website, the owner or chef, including what prompted them to get into the restaurant industry and what makes them stay.
- Pictures that tell a story and highlight both food and ambiance. This can be achieved with just a few outstanding, professional pictures, or you can bring your establishment to life with several smaller pictures that catch moments in time.
After looking at these websites, I’ve come to agree with Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince, “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”