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How 4 Pro Conversion Experts would Design your Restaurant’s Home Page
Your website’s home page is likely to be the first thing people see on your site. But is yours up to scratch?
It’s vitally important it captures your visitor’s attention and responds to their needs.
But it can be confusing planning what needs to go on your restaurant’s home page and what shouldn’t.
To help, I asked 4 professional conversion experts to answer this one question:
If you were designing a home page for a new restaurant, what elements would you include to maximise online bookings?
Hopefully their answers may surprise (and inspire) you.
Let’s meet the panel and see their answers:
Brian Massey – Conversion Scientist
Bio: Brian Massey is the Conversion Scientist at Conversion Sciences and he has the lab coat to prove it. Brian has a rare blend of technical talent and marketing vision and has built a reputation for solving complex problems.
Answer: There are at least two home pages in this scenario.
On the mobile home page, I would make “Get on the List” or “Reservation” a sticky banner at the top or bottom of the screen.
I would make a map with directions apparent near the top of the page.
I would address parking issues at the top of the page. Do they have free valet?
I would add a share button to the sticky header/footer, or make it available near the top of the page for those who may be joining them.
On the desktop home page, I would feature images of the restaurant, the menu and prices. The offer might be something for those who haven’t visited before, a coupon to be delivered by email. Let them make a reservation and share with friends who may be joining them.
In short, the mobile home page is about getting them and their date/friends to the restaurant. The desktop home page is about getting them on the mailing list to encourage multiple visits.
Bio: Peep Laja is the founder of ConversionXL – the world’s most popular conversion optimization blog, a conversion optimization agency and training company. He also runs the annual ConversionXL Live in Texas, arguably the most popular conversion conference in the world.
Answer: I’d focus on location, hours (is it open right now), link to making a reservation and NOT A F***** PDF MENU!!!!!!! The worst thing a restaurant website can do is serve me a f***** pdf.
Bio: Stéphane Hamel is a seasoned consultant and distinguished thought leader in the field of digital analytics. He knows what gets results.
Answer: I would rather put myself in the shoes of a potential customer. What do I look for? Where is it?
Book online, yes – but also, just in case, what’s the phone number for reservations? (Think mobile first! what’s easiest, filling an online booking form or just calling?)
But also, super important, what’s on the menu!
Then of course, there are considerations of aesthetic, UX, speed, etc.
Bio: Lead growth Hacker at RockBoost, Chris has worked in international environments, at big corporations and in fast growing startups. He combines his practical experience with 500+ books of theoretical knowledge to find the nuggets to help your business grow.
Answer: I think the value proposition is the most important thing. What makes this restaurant different? How will you impress your friends by taking them to this restaurant?
I would also get a lot of social proof in as this is a very important thing in this context.
Of course I agree with them all. I also think there’s more to add…
In my opinion, the nature of a restaurant’s home page depends entirely on what stage of growth the restaurant is at.
If it’s a new or young restaurant looking to grow rapidly and attract more custom, there are more rules they need to be follow when it comes to the structure and content of the home page.
Without much of a reputation, there’s a necessity to convey and ‘sell’ the uniqueness of the restaurant, which includes:
How is it different? Why should they book with you over the restaurant down the road? What makes this restaurant special?
We’d answer these questions with:
- Professional photography
- A clear value proposition which clearly differentiates the restaurant and sells the experience / emotion of dining there
- A tantalising description
If this captures their attention successfully, they’ll then have a second lot of questions that need to be answered before they’re convinced to book. These are likely to include:
Will I like the food? Can I afford it? Where is it? Is it accessible? Is there parking?
To help answer these we’d need:
- A ‘sample menu’ with prices
- Social proof maybe in the form of testimonials
- Link or details to location and opening times
If this ticks all the right boxes we then just need to make it super easy for them to book. To do this we must either include a booking form or widget so they can book it there and then, or provide a phone number.
Here’s a visual example of the elements that should be included on a home page for a new restaurant (desktop):
Of course Brian Massey is absolutely correct that the mobile version will have different priorities – emphasis should probably be focused more on addressing the second lot of questions, so it could look something like this:
Already Successful Restaurants
The other scenario involves restaurants that are already very successful and have a solid local or even national reputation. As a result they have achieved a consistent level of 80%+ covers and possibly even have waiting lists.
In this case, we’d have greater artistic license with the home page (to an extent), as there may be less emphasis on finding new customers and convincing them to book than there would be if it were a new restaurant with no reputation.
So the home page’s priorities are more likely to focus on creating an on-brand, immersive customer experience whilst ensuring that it’s still really easy to book, view the menus (no pdfs – listen to Peep!) as well as find the location etc. With so many unique visitors to the site we’d also need a way of collecting their email addresses to start building marketing lists.
So tell me…
Where does your restaurant fit in? How does your home page shape up? If you’d like a free, no obligation review of your restaurant’s home page, you can email me directly now: firstname.lastname@example.org
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