7 Critical Factors for Positive User Experience in Restaurant Websites

It's Friday night and you are hungry. You've gotten sick of all your local hangouts and are ready to try something new. You remember an interesting looking spot that you passed on your way home.

Unfortunately, once you've typed the name into your search bar and clicked into the restaurant's website, you're greeted with obnoxious mariachi music and an abundance of dancing tacos.

The one thing you can't find? The menu. Guess where you're NOT going for dinner.

A positive user experience is absolutely irreplaceable to restraunteur's business model, and it's easy to implement on a Joomla! site. 

If you plan on converting site visitors to dinner patrons, you've got to be sure that your restaurant's website is informative and attractive, rather than gaudy and useless.

To aid you and your eatery endeavors, we've compiled a list of the top 7 critical factors for a positive user experience in your restaurant's Joomla! website.

1. Easy Menu Access

You may think that your restaurant's atmosphere is a selling point, and it certainly is, but it's not what you should lead with. More than anything, potential customers want to know if your fare is going to suit their pallet.

Have your menu prominently displayed, either on your home page or as an easily clickable main menu item.

You might even create a module to call the reader's attention to it.

One major misstep people make in menu display is having a redirect to a PDF file. Try to avoid this. It just takes longer to load, and makes your menu more difficult for your visitor's to find.

Not only that, but it limits the aesthetic choices you can make when designing your menu. It's best to just keep the menu on the webpage itself.

2. Include Testimonials

If there's one thing that a hungry consumer (devourer?) respects, it's a good recommendation. Positive customer testimonials are a huge attraction for many successful restaurant websites.

They boost customer confidence, plain and simple. Add a testimonial section and watch the reservations roll in.

3. Hire a Professional Photographer

Isn't it just awful how the food at Mickey D's never quite matches up to the image you see in the commercials? That's because fry cooks are not professional photographers. A lot of preparation goes into making fast food look edible.

So why not put the same effort into your food, which I assume is already aesthetically pleasing?

Use only high quality, well prepared, and professionally photographed images on your website.

To keep it simple on the back end, remember to categorize them in easy to understand folders in your media manager.

Putting your best foot forward is always important, and if you say you don't need to do so on your restaurant's website, you'll have that best foot sticking out of your mouth.

4. Make it Mobile!

Mobile optimization is important for any website, but it's especially needed in the restaurant business.

People are often out and about when they find themselves in need of a bite to eat.

If they happen to be in your neighborhood, and find themselves unable to access your site's full functionality, chances are they'll take their business elsewhere.

Before utilizing a template, check to make sure it's mobile or responsive, depending on your goals.

5. Provide Online Booking

You take reservations by phone, right? So what's the difference?

I'll tell you what the difference is. You automate the process, save your employees time, and allow them to be more productive while on the clock.

That's pretty important if you're trying to keep your overhead low, and I know you are.

Online booking eliminates wasted man hours, helps you stay organized, and allows an added level of convenience for your website's browsers.

So put up an online form that customers can quickly and easily fill out. It'll make everyone's life a little easier.

Check out the Joomla! extension directory to find the best 3rd party to fit your reservation needs.

6. Keep it Simple

So many restaurant websites have unnecessary bells and whistles.

That story about the dancing tacos wasn't just for fun. A bunch of obnoxious graphics and automatic music might seem like a great idea on paper, but it can be very off-putting to your webpage visitors.

In general, it's a good idea to avoid flash players, sites that require a click to enter, popups, and overly busy interfaces.

These things all distract from the main selling point: the actual food that you serve.

Relying on these gimmicky side-shows is basically an admission that your food can't sell itself.
Don't fall into this unappetizing trap.

7. Integrate Google Analytics

If you really want to improve user experience, you need to monitor your site visitor's behavior.

Pay specific attention to bounce rate, page load times, and time spent on each page. You can keep an eye on where customers are losing interests, and from there begin hypothesizing on the reason why.

If you can figure out why you're losing them, you can make the necessary changes to keep them interested and become their dinner destination du jour.

Generally, you'll just need to add the Google Analytics tracking code into your site's main template to get access to audience insights.

Don't let an ineffective website eat in to your profits. Instead keep the customers eating out at your restaurant by providing them with a pleasant experience, while eating and while browsing.

If you need some help picking out a proper theme for your website, you can always check out the custom templates at TemplateMonster.com.