3 Typical Restaurant Website Features that are making you lose Customers

If you are thinking about building (or rebuilding) a website for your restaurant, café or pub, you may very well have some questions. More often than not, you’ll try to fit too much onto the website, oftentimes hurting your ability to acquire customers in the process.

One of the largest blockers for business is accessibility. Whilst many website features try to reflect the original ambience of a restaurant, most of the time they don’t carry any real benefits with them. In the worst cases, they simply won’t work on many of the popular mobile devices.

Mobile Restaurant Website

Here are the three typical restaurant website mistakes that owners make when trying to force too much onto their pages.

Flash Animations

Flash elements were pretty popular some years ago, before the smartphone and tablet revolution. With most modern mobile devices not supporting Flash content very well, using it on your website means cutting off many prospects who are searching for a restaurant on the go. Even on a desktop computer or a laptop, you can see restaurant websites with poor navigation. This is called ‘Mystery Meat Navigation’ and is basically a waste of everyone’s time. Flash is definitely not the type of navigation you want to have on your website either.

Test – Does your website work well on a mobile device? Check now.

Autoplay Background Music

There’s no excuse for this. Automatically playing background music and videos just makes visitors close the tab or click the back button. They could be browsing from a shared environment (i.e. an open space office), may already have their favorite music playing or just want to surf the net in peace. A restaurant website primarily serves an informational purpose, entertainment is secondary and should not interfere with the rest of their experience.

Test – Does visiting your website play any sounds or video? It shouldn’t unless you want to lose customers.

PDF Menus

Or even Word Documents (.doc). The point is that there’s no reason to force users to download your menus. It can take very long to load on their device and sometimes comes with a price (think about those who don’t have unlimited data plans). There are, instead, many benefits with a regular HTML page menu: the loading time will be much reduced and you won’t lose search engine opportunities. If you serve local dishes or niche/exotic cuisine, people will be much more likely to find you using google for generic search terms (i.e. “ramen noodles London”) – and, if you use a platform like Happytables, you can update your pasta menu or wine list in no time.

Test – To view your food menu, is a visitor required to download a PDF or a Word Document? Again, you’re blocking customers.

If you can take one thing from this article, is that restaurant websites are all about accessibility and user-friendliness, without too many unnecessary decorative elements. This is especially true given the huge amount of today’s mobile users who are searching for a restaurant from their devices (54% of the traffic a Happytables website is receiving comes from smartphones and tablets).

A modern looking, search engine friendly and mobile optimized restaurant website brings customers in and therefore takes failure out of the options. Happytables takes care of all that for you, so give it a try (we’ll even happily build the site for you).

Noel Tock
Founder / Product Design
Noel leads up Happytables, bouncing between managing it, product design and growing the business. If he's not grilling tuna, he's drinking craft beers.