1. Pick a Website Builder
The first step in setting up your foodservice platform is to choose the correct website builder. There are many to choose from, however, evaluate your requirements before choosing the correct website builder. Your expected budget and level of technical knowledge will likely play a role in which platform you choose. Popular website builders include:
2. Choose a Domain & Hosting
After you have signed up at one of the above website builders, you'll need to purchase a domain name and hosting plan as well as set up your email account.
- Your domain name should be your foodservice name. If this name is taken, try adding a local element to it to differentiate you, like your city. Generally, it is better to own the .com version of your domain, so try and avoid country domains. View the Best Food and Hospitality Domain names!
- Now you need to choose a hosting plan. Again, find a hosting plan that has a dedicated Wordpress, Squarespace, or Wix service.
- Finally set up your email account! This is of course a domain-based email account. Best practice here is to include a branded email account like Hello@Restaurant.com or Book@Restaurant.com.
3. Choose a Theme
Choosing a theme is like designing your menu or finalizing your foodservice interior. Your website as an online representation of your foodservice business and choosing the right theme is important for ensuring a great customer experience. When choosing your theme, consider the following questions:
- What is your objective? To drive orders? To facilitate online bookings? To promote your business? Try and find a theme that already offers an online ordering service or can integrate with one, like WooCommerce.
- What is your style? Dark and gloomy or fresh and bright?
- Which cuisine do you offer? Usually, your cuisine should be evident in the theme you select. This will ensure website visitors experience the authenticity of your foodservice. Check out our World Cuisines articles for great ideas on how to add international flavour to your dishes!
- Guest Experience: Use a theme that is easy to navigate, includes bold call-to-action buttons for ordering and booking, and has plenty of space for large imagery to feature your dishes. Try and find a theme that includes a dedicated section for customer reviews.
4. Add your Food-service Information
- Menu: Upload a digital version of your menu to your website. Also, include a PDF version that customers can download and keep for future bookings.
- Gallery: People eat with their eyes right? Make sure you include lots of pictures (in a gallery/carousel format) of your dishes! Here dish-photography plays an important role. Also feature photos of your physical foodservice location that best illustrates your ambiance.
- Location: Everyone needs to know where you are located! Even if you only deliver food online, consumers base credibility on basic information like address and contact details.
- Contact: Include a contact number (perhaps 1 or 2) as well as your newly created email address! This way guests can also contact you if they have questions about bookings, dishes or more.
- Reviews: Consumers trust fellow diners more than they trust brands! Reach out to a couple of loyal guests asking them if they're willing to write a great review for you in return for a complimentary drink!
5. Set up Ordering & Booking
If your primary objective is to drive orders and bookings, make sure you have everything set up for convenient online ordering.
For online bookings/reservations, make sure you have a system in place that integrates this with offline bookings. Nothing technical is required! You can simply ensure that all online bookings are filled in your reservation book/system. Dedicate one person to check online reservations daily!
For online orders, have another system in place that ensures neither online customers nor physical in-house diners are delayed. Since most kitchens have an allocated "Food Delivery" or "Online Ordering" section, make sure that this section of staff only prepares online orders. This just streamlines the process and prevents annoyed customers and overworked staff!
6. Sign up for Google My Business
Every business needs to be listed on Google for maximum exposure and legitimacy. Find everything you need to know about optimizing Google my Business for your foodservice in this Google Places for Restaurants Guide.
7. Market your Website
Finally, without marketing who would know about your new website? To get started with digital marketing in the hospitality industry, view these articles.