You pour your heart and soul into your food, but as every new restaurant owner or manager quickly learns, that’s only half of the battle in the culinary business. After you spend the time to perfect your menu, you also want to share your food with your friends and the local community. Despite all of the options out there right now, building a restaurant website is still the best solution for creating a centralized location where your diners can view your menu, find your location, make a reservation, and find out about your upcoming events. Restauranteurs can also share photos, video and other media, and share press clippings all from the same place.
Jimdo makes building a beautiful restaurant website easy. Any of our flexible designs can become a wonderful restaurant website template. And our sites have tools to help you land near the top of Google’s results so new patrons can find you. It is also easy to integrate third-party tools like social media feeds, reservation widgets, and event calendars.
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about making your best restaurant website with Jimdo.
Whether your restaurant is poised to open soon, or if you’ve already got a big following, Jimdo is a great solution for creating your restaurant’s website. You can even make a restaurant website for free and then upgrade to JimdoPro or JimdoBusiness when you feel ready to add your own domain name and want to get more serious about improving your search engine results.
Getting started building your Jimdo website is simple. Visit www.jimdo.com/templates and select a starting template. Don’t worry though, you can easily change Jimdo templates at any time without losing any of your work.
Starting your own restaurant website begins with selecting a template. With Jimdo, there’s no one specific “restaurant” template that you have to use — Jimdo’s modern and responsive templates are available for all types of websites. With the right images and text, any Jimdo template can make a great restaurant website that will look great on laptops, tablets, or phones. The template determines where on the page your logo, navigation, content area, and sidebar will appear. You can learn more about how to select the perfect template for your Jimdo website on our blog.
Making the best restaurant template choice for your restaurant will come down to the type of specific features and content you plan on showcasing, as well as your personal taste. Choosing a template with a sidebar is a good way to keep your hours, address, and contact information easily accessible. The content in the sidebar is always visible, which makes it a great place to include this information.
Dublin and San Francisco are good options; or choose Malaga or Barcelona for a more modern feel with a wider content area. If you have a lot of great photographs and want to showcase those, you might consider a template like Rome for your restaurant website. You can select or change your template at any time by logging into your website and clicking Templates in the Site Admin and then selecting one to preview from the alphabetical list. If you like it, click Save—otherwise, choose Undo and try a different option.
To see all the features of different templates and sort them to find ones that will meet the needs of your restaurant website, browse the Jimdo Template Filter, but remember that you can change the color, photographs, and subject matter of the examples very easily.
While anyone can create a free restaurant website with Jimdo, most will want to use JimdoPro or JimdoBusiness so they can hide the Jimdo advertisement on their site and register and/or connect a custom domain name to make it super easy for people to find your restaurant online.
Choosing the right domain name is one of the most important decisions you will make when starting out with your restaurant’s website. Nowadays, many will look for available domain names before settling on the actual name of their restaurant to make sure that there will be no confusion. If possible, the best choice is still to get the .com version of your restaurant name to avoid someone else getting traffic while looking for you, but you can also consider some of the newer domain name extensions, such as .kitchen, .restaurant, or .pizza. Domains are not case-specific and can’t have spaces or characters other than letters, numbers, and dashes.
Selecting the right domain might be challenging if your restaurant name is a common word or phrase, or if your name is long or difficult to spell. In cases like this, consider appending your type of cuisine (e.g. Italian) or a geographic tag to the domain, such as your city or area code. If you still are having trouble finding a good domain name, try using a short phrase that is all run together as one word like “EatAtJoes.” Since domain names are not case sensitive, you can always make them easier to read by showing them written or typed with the first letter of each word capitalized.
Avoid domain names that are too difficult to spell or ones that use hyphens as those will require you to spend extra time explaining how to reach your restaurant online. Another common pitfall is replacing words with numbers - avoid that at all costs.
Most visitors expect to find certain information on a restaurant’s website. As you design your own restaurant website, you want to make sure that you provide all the relevant information for all the different groups of people that will check out your site: patrons who want to view your menu, hours, and location; parties that would like to schedule a reservation or are interested in catering; and press who want to get in touch with you.
Consider adding these pages to your website:
The home page is your chance to make a first impression. Make sure to have the most important information about your restaurant in text on this page, and don’t forget to mention the latest information about new menu items or upcoming events on this page. Update this page often to keep all the news current. Consider using the sidebar or footer area of your template to promote your next event or accept reservations through OpenTable. Content that appears in that area will show up on all pages of the site keeping it always in sight for your visitors.
Include a description of the restaurant and the story behind it on the About page. People love to know the story behind a restaurant, and press can use the information in their reviews and clippings. If the page is well written, many will often quote directly from it.
One of the first things that a visitor will want to do on your website is view your menu. You can easily create your restaurant menu online using Text Elements inside of Columns Elements or embed a PDF menu using the Widget/HTML Element.
Arouse your diners’ appetite with pictures of your food. Upload your shots to Jimdo’s Photo Gallery Element to display them in a slideshow or mosaic on the page. Another great option is to upload high resolution (300 DPI or larger) versions of your most important photographs using the File Download Element. This will allow press to easily get print quality images to use in articles, reviews, or advertisements. If you’ve got videos up on YouTube or Vimeo, you can copy and paste the URLs of the videos into the Video Element.
Many publications revel in the idea of discovering a new restaurant in the area, so creating a page of your website dedicated to your reviews or press clippings can be really helpful. Make a list of some of the best quotes written about your restaurant and then create hyperlinks to the full reviews in case your patrons or other reporters want to get the full scoop. This is also a great spot to add your Yelp Badge!
Whether you have live entertainment, cooking workshops, or host pop-ups, an event page is great for showing when, where, and with whom you are hosting your next event. This list of events can easily be done by hand in Jimdo using our standard elements like Text, Photo, and Columns, but Google Calendar and Eventbrite are also fantastic applications to help you promote your events. They both allow you to easily embed a calendar on your website and Eventbrite allows you to sell tickets directly through your Jimdo website.
Some restaurants also enjoy keeping a record of past events so patrons and press can see what types of events are common for your restaurant, so consider making past events into a section at the bottom of the page or create a separate subpage in the Edit Navigation.
Everyone needs an easy way to get in touch with you, whether it’s to inquire about your food or services, ask about catering information, or to schedule you for an interview. You can easily place a Form Element on any page of your site to make it into a great Contact page. Try adding more resources like a list of important email contacts in case you want people to directly contact someone specific regarding catering or event information. Don’t forget to also include a map with the location of your restaurant!
The Contact page is also a great spot to put links to all of your social media profiles, making it easy for people to find you online wherever they might be. If you can condense the information enough, you could even skip a contact page and put the form, email addresses, and social media links directly into the sidebar or footer of your template which would present the information on every page of the site.
What is more important for a restaurant website than actually placing your menu on the site? Uploading and displaying a PDF menu is easy, but creating a restaurant menu using Columns Elements is also very simple!
Here’s how to create a restaurant menu online using Jimdo: add a Columns Element to the Menu page, add a Text Element with the menu item name and description to the left column, and add a Text Element with the price in the right column; repeat for each menu item. It’s also not a bad idea to upload a PDF version of your menu to a File Download Element on the same page.
Sell t-shirts? BBQ sauce? Creating a store on Jimdo is an easy solution for selling your restaurant’s goods. While Jimdo doesn’t have a built-in solution for online ordering, you can sign up with a dedicated service to handle this. Munch and ChowNow are comprehensive online ordering systems that can easily integrate in a Jimdo website—simply take the script they provide and add to any page of your Jimdo website by pasting it into a Widget/HTML Element.
High quality photos are an important part of your restaurant website. If you haven’t already, consider hiring a professional to take some photos of your food as the better your food looks, the more enticing your restaurant looks. While hiring a professional is ideal, you might also be able to get away with using your smartphone for photos that look professional.
Don’t forget to optimize your photos for the web to make sure they look good on your site and are search-engine-friendly. If you don’t have photos of your food that you’re proud of and can’t afford professional photography, exclude the photos section of the website for now.
Email marketing is a huge part of operating a restaurant today, so be sure to collect email addresses on your restaurant website. The best option for running an email newsletter for restaurants is MailChimp. You can start with a free Mailchimp account that will likely be enough for most restaurants out there.
After you are signed up and have started to build your list, it is easy to embed a MailChimp signup form on your website wherever you would like it to appear. Putting it in the sidebar or footer of your website is a good idea as it will then display on each page of your site.
Once you have all your content on your website, the next step is to make sure you have the basics covered to make sure your restaurant website gets the proper attention from Google and other search engines. The practice of actively trying to make your website more appealing to sites like Google is called Search Engine Optimization. Appearing in all the search results that you want will take time, but by following the advice in this guide, you will be successful.
Start by using the tools that Jimdo provides. Go to Settings > Site Title and entering your name or the name of your restaurant. Next go through each page of your website and click on the SEO button on the Site Admin. For each page, enter a Page Title which will be appended with the Site Title, so you don’t want to make them too long. You will see a handy preview of what your Google result will look like that will tell you if you use too many characters.
Take this opportunity to add a Description for the page as well. Make sure to mention the type of cuisine you serve and the geographic area as well. Both will be important terms that people will use to find you on search engines.
The most important thing to know about search engine optimization is that Google is smarter than all of us. You can’t trick it, so don’t waste your time trying. Make sure you have lots of text on your website that mentions your restaurant name, your style of cuisine, your geographic location, and other noteworthy attributes that potential visitors might search for. It is also important to properly use headings throughout your site.
Put a large Heading Element at the top of each page and use Medium Headings and Small Headings to introduce new sections of pages. Also make sure to update your website regularly. This should be easy to do if you are updating your menu specials or hosting events, but adding news about these things will keep Google (and your diners) coming back to your site regularly.
You can gain further traction for your restaurant website by making sure that you link to your website from all of your social media profiles. Make sure you have a Google Plus page and a Google My Business listing as these are Google properties and usually show up pretty high in search rankings themselves. Then try to find logical web directories that make sense, like Yelp and Foursquare. Also check if your local paper has directories of local restaurants.
By this point, you should have most of the basics of building a restaurant website down pretty well, but it never hurts to get a bit more advice. Here are some more best practices to follow and some pitfalls to avoid:
Building a restaurant website is not difficult, but there are a lot of small details that you need to make sure you take care of. This checklist can be really helpful to make sure you don’t forget any of the steps that will help you be successful with your website.
Additional Widgets: Resmio (for reservations)
Nothing beats using original professional photographs on your restaurant’s website, but that isn’t an option for everyone. If you need some great restaurant photographs for your website, there are dozens of websites with fantastic photographs that are free and legal to use. Here are just a few ones to start with. Click on each image or links to download the example or others from the same source: