What do you need to access most when you go on a restaurant website? The first answer might be the telephone number of the restaurant. Another key element to restaurant websites: the food menus. I am using the phrase “food menus” to differentiate those menus from navigation; every website has menus and navigation, but not all websites are about food. It turns out that how you set up the navigation menus on a restaurant website might determine whether your website visitor decides to try your food! If it’s hard to access the information or it takes too long to load or the food menu is five years out-of-date, you may have lost your customer.
Recently I had the great pleasure and privilege of building a website for the Sushiana Restaurant, a sushi restaurant in Highland Park, New Jersey. My original thought had been to create what is called a custom post type for each item on the menu. Then the restaurant owner could add information individually about each menu item, including price, description, category and optionally with a photo. In the end, however, we went with a plugin called OpenMenu. With OpenMenu, the restaurant owner can add and edit all the information on the OpenMenu site. I add the OpenMenu menus to the website once, and the website is automatically updated with the new information. OpenMenu also has a mobile version, so if you go to Sushiana on your mobile phone, you will at first see a site that looks just like the site that you would see on your desktop (this is what is known as responsive web design), but if you click on menu, you get the menus provided by OpenMenu.
On the topic of navigation, I added several WordPress menus to the Sushiana website to make your tour of the food possibilities easy and pleasant. In addition to the main menu at the top of the page, there is one pull-down menu for the food.
Also, each of the food pages has a navigation menu at top so you can easily click around to see the variety of menu options. The restaurant owner can edit (change the names, change the links, add or delete links) these navigation menus in the back end of WordPress.
Your Turn, Please
What was your worst restaurant website experience? Your best? Do you choose where to eat based on a restaurant website?