5 “Must Haves” for every restaurant website

Online ordering

A restaurant’s website doesn’t need to be complicated; it shouldn’t be. Before almost any other considerations, bending to the expectation of your online visitors is paramount.

Now, more than ever, we’re living in a “screen first” society. Consider the following consumer expectations as you audit, improve, and/or further develop your digital storefront.

1) Mobile First

Over 90% of a restaurant’s website is viewed on a mobile device.

Ensure your website displays appropriately on a mobile phone (mobile responsive) and that the most important information - covered below - is easy to discover.

2) Menu

While I’m sure you have a compelling story, most of your visitors are on your website for your food. Make sure this foundation stone is positioned prominently and displayed optimally.

It’s HIGHLY recommended that your menu is displayed as a page of your site for a host of good reasons:


• A PDF or picture menu is by far the easiest method of sharing your menu, but it’s hampered with immediate and long-term issues; they’re more difficult to read on a phone, forcing diners to pinch and spread in order to read (not to mention impossible for some with vision impairment) and they’ll continue to pop up in random places across the internet long after your menu has evolved.


• A web page(d) menu will be mobile responsive, easier to update on the fly, a more “living document” than a pic or PDF, provide a superior & more customizable alternative for QR Coded links, and provide customer engagement options unavailable with physical, pic, or pdf menus. A beneficial side effect will be a gradual improvement towards your website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) due to the regular traffic you’re directing there.

3) Contact Information

Make sure your site is displaying and linking your address & phone number. Eliminating steps is key to engagement in the digital landscape. If phone-in orders are how people order takeout from you, take it a step further and link an “Order Now” button to your phone number. (If your takeout can only be ordered by Fax, be sure to let your MySpace follower know).

4) Google My Business (GMB)

Over 95% of search queries happen within the Google ‘ecosystem’. Ensuring your GMB listing is current, accurate, and complete is a good idea regardless of the time of year.

To access your GMB listing (or to create one for the first time) start HERE.

Explore the options on this website starting with confirming that your page has been “Verified”. Follow that up with the “Coronavirus (Covid-19)” section; this will link you to a dedicated area that breaks this topic into a multitude of sub-options. Respond to as many prompts as you can, this should only take you 20-30 minutes.

PRO TIP: make sure your GMB access is through an email that you own - NOT an employee’s - too many restaurateurs have been locked out of their business due to related issues of ownership.

5) Online ordering

If you don’t have this, don’t wait. Start looking into your options right away. Not sure where to start? No worries, we’ve helped dozens of NW restaurants of every type onboard this useful tool and we’ll help you too.


The telephone ordering system is loaded with unavoidable challenges:

• You can only take one order per phone line at a time, potentially losing who knows how many orders to a busy signal.

• It costs you the labor to schedule a phone person or take your employees away from their core duties (serving in-person guests).

• Miscommunication is common due to noise on either side of the call.

• The order is rushed, losing upselling and side selling opportunities.

• There’s a higher risk of no-show/no-pay costing you 3 times: Loss of labor on the transaction, product, AND payment.


Online ordering by contrast has immediate benefits:

• Statistically, online orders have 15-20% higher check averages.

• Most have built-in suggestive selling prompts that cover a broader range of food categories beyond entrees.

• Very little labor demands.

• Adjustable estimated readiness times that will allow you to prioritize in person dining (or other circumstance).

• Ability to pre-order scheduled pickup times days in advance.

• EVERY order is paid for before the food is even cooked.

• And more…

Many modern POS systems have an online ordering feature, or a partner provider. These can be feature light but will integrate with your POS (which is great). We’ve helped many operators select the best option for their needs, and more often than not, have landed on 3rd party providers for the additional support, marketing, and business friendly features. An example is with a pre-negotiated generous offering from ChowNow https://get.chownow.com/

All this said, we don’t work for website builders, POS providers, Google, or ChowNow… we work for you and our corner of the restaurant industry. Collaborating with you to find the most appropriate fit for your business is our most defined point of pride and we hope you take that as an invitation to reach out for a fellow collaborator.

Andy Cook
Restaurant Consultant
Harbor Foods Restaurant Solutions Group