How to Make a Restaurant Website 2024 | A detailed guide


The purpose of a restaurant website in 2024

Ah, the restaurant business – the world of delicious food, satisfied guests, and the never-ending quest to create the perfect vibe. In today's digital age, a mouth-watering menu and a charming atmosphere are only part of the recipe for success. To truly give your restaurant a fighting chance in the hyper-competitive restaurant industry, you've got to have a sizzling online presence, too. In 2024, this first touchpoint is online, making your restaurant's website your modern-day "front door”.

Below is our step-by-step guide to building the perfect restaurant website in 2024 as written by someone with deep roots in operating restaurants and a career in software. Hospitality is more than just food and service; it's the craft of forging a wonderful experience for guests.

This can’t be outsourced to a Facebook Page or an Instagram Profile. While they are valuable marketing tools, they are not replacements for a dedicated website. Relying solely on a platform outside of your control is risky. When they alter rules, algorithms, or terms, it can drastically impact business. This underscores why experts universally recommend businesses always have their own website.

Ready to open the digital doors to your restaurant's future? Dive into these 6 essential steps to create a website that not only mirrors the warmth and quality of your restaurant but also sets the stage for unparalleled online hospitality in 2024.

Step 1 - Register a domain name

This is your website's address on the internet, and it's how people will find your website.  Your domain name is what follows the "www." in a web address. We recommend investing in a paid domain name rather than settling for the complementary ones that many web-building platforms provide (e.g., For example, if your restaurant's name is "Jerry’s Pizza," then you could choose a domain name like Keep it short, sweet, and easy to remember.

Also, while many website building platforms offer domain registration, it's wiser to use dedicated registrars like Cloudflare Registrar or Registering your domain separately gives you complete control and flexibility. This approach prevents potential issues with website providers, who may legally register the domain under their name, leading to complications if you decide to switch providers. By owning your domain independently, you safeguard your online identity and avoid future hassle.

Step 2 - Choose a website building platform

A CMS, or Content Management System, is a tool that simplifies the process of creating and managing websites. Instead of starting from the ground up, it offers user-friendly templates and designs, allowing you to craft a beautiful website without any coding knowledge. Plus, a good CMS takes care of hosting and ensures that your website runs smoothly, making the entire website-building journey a breeze!

Read reviews of different platforms before committing to one. This is the foundation of your website and determines how easy or difficult it is to design and manage. 
Here are 3 of the top platforms for building a restaurant website:

Sociavore - Sociavore is a user-friendly CMS crafted for restaurant owners, providing a straightforward way to manage websites, online orders, events, reservations, waitlist, and more from one place. Developed by fellow restaurant owners, it focuses on simplifying daily tasks and enhancing guest interactions. The platform includes a drag-and-drop website builder with a variety of themes and customization options. Importantly, routine updates like changing hours, menus, and processing orders are made simple, ensuring the website remains current with minimal effort.

Wix – Wix presents itself as a user-friendly platform with its drag-and-drop builder and an extensive selection of customizable templates. It also includes plug-ins for restaurant-specific functions like reservations and online ordering. However, user feedback suggests these features are somewhat underwhelming, and the platform's support for restaurant-specific needs seems limited. This can be a bit disappointing for those seeking more specialized or robust functionality.

Squarespace – Known for its sleek designs, Squarespace helps you build websites using pre-designed templates and drag-and-drop functions. With premium plans, you get access to the ability to embed an OpenTable widget.  Squarespace is a general website editor, so while you can build a beautiful website, you won’t be able to easily hand it over to your staff to keep it up to date as easily as a restaurant-specific platform. It will require the team to learn the ins and outs of editing the pages to be able to update items like menus and operating hours.

Regardless of how or where you end up building your restaurants’ website, the content you need for the website will be the same. Your website content encompasses both text and visuals on every page. Its primary role is to direct visitors towards specific actions, whether it's making a reservation, buying a gift card, booking a private event, or ordering online.

Below, we'll outline the essential elements of your website and the content you need in-hand to successfully build your restaurant’s website.

Step 3 - Design your website

When creating a restaurant website, it's essential to consider it an extension of your physical establishment. The goal is to replicate the experience of stepping into your actual restaurant, where customers feel like they've arrived at your storefront and are warmly welcomed by your host or concierge. To achieve this, carefully curate the website's imagery, colors, and fonts to align with your brand and interior design.

By incorporating elements that mirror your restaurant's atmosphere, the website becomes a seamless online representation of the real dining experience. Capturing the essence of your establishment through visual and design choices ensures that visitors feel a strong connection and familiarity when exploring your website.


When planning colors for a website, we encourage creating a palette of 5 colors to be used in a restaurant website: Lightest, Light, Bright, Dark, and Darkest.  A 5-color palette provides advantages in terms of maintaining consistency, enhancing accessibility, and creating that emotional impact that draws a guest in when they’re on the website. It ensures visual harmony, readability, and influences how users perceive the website, all while streamlining the design process. Additionally, this well-planned color scheme reinforces the restaurant's brand identity and improves usability, leading to a visually appealing and user-friendly website that can be accessed seamlessly across different devices and platforms.

When selecting colors, it's crucial to consider the contrast between the text (foreground) and the background. For text to be easily readable, there should be a significant difference in brightness or color between the two. The standard for acceptable contrast is a ratio of 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text to meet basic accessibility requirements (level WCAG AA standards). For higher accessibility standards (level AAA), the contrast ratio should be even greater - 7:1 for normal text and 4.5:1 for large text. It's a good idea to use a contrast checker tool, like the one offered by WebAIM  to test your color combinations and ensure your content is accessible to all viewers.

Example palette

When incorporating your logo into your website, make sure to use a file with a transparent background. JPEG file types do not support transparency, so it's advisable to choose a format like .png, which allows for seamless integration into different design elements, resulting in a professional and polished appearance. If you don’t have a file with a transparent background, there are free online tools, like this one by Adobe that can remove the background.

Outline the key design elements of a restaurant website, including:

  • Color scheme and branding
  • Layout and navigation
  • Imagery and photography
  • Menu design
  • Mobile optimization

Step 4 - Prepare your content

Creating content for your restaurant website is all about making it easy for visitors to understand and act. Your words and photos should tell your story in a way that makes ordering, reserving, or filling out event forms a no-brainer. It's this compelling content that turns casual clicks into actual covers, driving actions that help grow your restaurant.

We'll guide you through the essential content your website should feature, although it's important to manage expectations as this process can sometimes be more challenging than anticipated.

What pages and elements should be included in a restaurant website?


When your guests put in your domain name into the address bar, the initial page that loads is the homepage. Your homepage is your restaurant's front entrance. This is where first impressions count.

Just like in your restaurant, guests expect service to be fast. Don’t stuff the homepage with a gallery of photos and meandering paragraphs of text that slow down your website.  Your homepage should remain crisp and clutter-free, spotlighting the essential details guests should immediately grasp: the name of your establishment, a short description, address and operating hours.

After these core items, it’s time to hone your hospitality instincts and anticipate what guests are looking for next and make them clearly available - such as sections highlighting the menu, and buttons to online ordering, reservations.
Also, don’t forget the visuals on the homepage, have your best few photos on your homepage to show off your interior and food so potential guests can get an idea of the vibe they should expect when they experience your restaurant.

The restaurant menu is the most visited page on a restaurant's website. Makes sense - it represents the primary product the restaurant offers: its food and beverages. It plays a fundamental role in attracting customers and creating expectations for a satisfying dining experience. Menus should be clear, detailed, and inclusive of dietary options to accommodate various preferences. A well-structured menu also enhances online visibility in search engines and attracts organic traffic from customers searching for specific dishes or cuisines. 

About / Our Story Page

The “About”/"Our Story" section is an opportunity for you to describe what sets your brand apart, offering a window into the heart of your restaurant for both newcomers and regulars alike. To craft a compelling narrative for your About page, consider touching upon these elements:

  • The inception of your restaurant
  • The origins of your ingredients
  • Your culinary practices
  • The muse behind your menu selections
  • The mastermind Chef leading your kitchen
  • The vibrant personalities that make up your team
  • Elaborating on these aspects will help you stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Contact Page

Operating Hours

Clear and accurate operating hours help guests plan their visit without any surprises or disappointments. 


Clear directions and a map help guests find their way to the restaurant easily, eliminating any guesswork with one-click links to start navigating.

Restaurant Details

Including restaurant details such as accessibility, kid-friendly, parking, Wi-Fi availability, accepted payment methods, dress code and other relevant information on the website increases convenience, and helps guests make informed decisions, ultimately providing a seamless and satisfying dining experience.

Reserve and Waitlist

For full-service restaurants, this is a must-have. Offering an easy way to reserve a table or join a waitlist online adds convenience and saves guests time. Ideally, your reservations provider can allow guests to search and reserve on your website. You don't want guests to search for a table at your restaurant, not find anything, then get recommended to another restaurant.

Online Ordering

Online ordering is key for restaurants, enhancing reach and convenience. Avoid linking to third-party services like Uber Eats to escape their high fees. Using a first-party system, such as Sociavore's Online Ordering, is crucial. It offers direct customer interaction, less dependency on external platforms, lower costs, and higher profits. This approach provides a seamless, efficient, and economical way to manage online orders.


Actively seeking feedback and reviews demonstrates a dedication to improving and valuing guest satisfaction. It's about listening and responding to customer opinions, ensuring they feel heard and appreciated. For those less satisfied, provide a private channel for sharing their experiences. Make it simple with a memorable link like

Newsletter & Guest Information

Capture your guests' information through newsletter forms, checkouts, and reservations to build direct relationships and bypass intermediaries. Pair this with robust tools like Klaviyo or Mailchimp for effective marketing. A dynamic website platform should cleverly use pop-ups to gather visitor details, keeping your connection with customers strong and direct.

Events Calendar

Exciting events and special promotions create an air of anticipation and excitement. They make guests feel like they're part of something special and add a dash of fun to the hospitality experience. For extra-special or capacity-restricted events, make sure you can sell tickets on your restaurant website.

Private Events & Catering 

Showcase your versatile spaces and capabilities and utilize forms on your website to effectively generate high-margin catering and event leads.

By incorporating these elements into a restaurant website, hospitality extends its reach, making it easier for guests to access information, reserve a table, leave feedback, and enjoy the overall experience. It's like having a digital concierge that ensures a delightful journey from the moment guests land on your restaurant website.

AI Content Creation for Restaurants

Like many restaurant owners, you find it challenging to carve out long hours to dedicate solely to creating website content. The reality of managing a restaurant often involves juggling emergencies and finding precious moments to relax with friends and family, leaving little room for extended periods of focused writing.

Enhancing your restaurant's website content can be a breeze with the right approach, and incorporating AI can add a creative and efficient twist to the process. Here are tips with example prompts on how to create engaging content, including how ChatGPT can assist you in generating and refining your website's copy:

Craft Relevant Content

Ensure your content directly addresses your visitors' needs and questions. Use ChatGPT to brainstorm or refine content ideas that align with what your potential customers might be looking for. For example, you can use prompts like "Generate a welcoming message for the homepage of a family-owned Italian restaurant" or "Create a FAQ section for a vegan bistro website."

Adopt the Guest’s Viewpoint 

Shift the narrative to focus on the visitor by using "you" and "your" to create a more engaging and personal tone. ChatGPT can help rephrase your content to make it more reader-centric. For instance, the prompt "Rewrite this menu description from the restaurant's perspective to the customer's perspective" can transform your content to be more inviting and relatable.

Utilize Engaging Headlines

Headlines guide visitors through your website and should be compelling and clear. Use ChatGPT to come up with creative headlines or to refine existing ones to be more impactful. A prompt like "Generate catchy headlines for the About Us page of a beachside café" can provide you with unique and appealing options.

Be Concise and Focused

Keep your content succinct and relevant to maintain your audience's attention. ChatGPT can assist in condensing and clarifying long paragraphs without losing the essence of your message. Try prompting with "Summarize the history of our restaurant in a concise paragraph for our website" to create a brief yet comprehensive overview.

Ensure Error-Free Content

After drafting your content, use ChatGPT for a preliminary check on spelling and grammar. A prompt like "Proofread this section for grammatical errors and suggest improvements" can be a first step before using tools like Grammarly or Hemingway for a final review.

By integrating these tips and utilizing ChatGPT as a creative and editorial assist, you can significantly enhance the content on your restaurant's website, making it more engaging and effective in attracting and retaining customers.

Restaurant Website Photography

Photos capture the essence of the restaurant, its food, atmosphere, and overall vibe. They create a visual connection with potential guests, giving them a sneak peek and enticing them to step inside and enjoy the hospitality. Professionally captured images of the restaurant's interior, dishes, and ambiance create a sense of credibility, quality, and attractiveness, which can entice guests to make a reservation or place an order.

Take the time to invest in good photography at least once a year.

While some of us (me included) may attempt to do photography themselves, professional photographers possess the expertise, equipment, and artistic eye to elevate the visuals to a whole new level. They understand how to use lighting, composition, and angles to showcase the restaurant's best features, creating a visually appealing narrative that draws people in. Investing in good photography is an investment in the restaurant's image and can lead to increased customer engagement, a positive reputation, and ultimately, a boost in business. 

How do you find a restaurant photographer? Ask your neighbors for recommendations, search Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, Craigslist, or check freelance photographer networks like Snappr.

Step 5 - Keep your website up to date 

To have a successful restaurant website, honestly, nothing is more important than ensuring your employees can effortlessly keep your restaurant’s website up to date. The importance of keeping a restaurant website up to date cannot be overstated. You can have the most beautiful, artistic, creative, slick website in the world and your guests won’t be happy if it’s not up to date.

A restaurant's failure to maintain an up-to-date website can trigger a cascade of frustration and disappointment. Picture an exasperated guest, fueled by the promise of a mouthwatering meal after viewing a restaurant’s website, only to arrive at the physical restaurant closed for renovations or find their favorite dish absent from the menu. The once-eager guest, now seething with anger, takes to the Internet, leaving scathing reviews and spreading their discontent like wildfire. The ripple effect of an outdated website can tarnish a restaurant's reputation. In an era where information is at our fingertips, a restaurant must recognize the power of an accurate website as a tool to build trust, foster loyalty, and avoid the wrath of an infuriated guest.

So, build a restaurant website with a CMS that you and your team can easily keep up to date.

Step 6 - Supercharge your restaurant website 

Building a distinctive online presence for your restaurant is as crucial as perfecting your dishes and creating an inviting atmosphere for your guests. Here are five invaluable tips to ensure your restaurant's website not only captures the essence of your establishment but also engages and retains visitors effectively and becomes a growth engine for your restaurant.

Leverage Analytics to get a better ROI

Analytics is not just about which pages are getting the most views (which for every restaurant website is always going to be their menus). By adding digital trackers like Facebook’s Pixel and Google’s GA4 analytics into your restaurant’s website, you’ll be entering the world of online analytics that can significantly boost your restaurant's return on investment. 

Let's start with Facebook Pixel. This handy tool tracks how visitors interact with your website after clicking on a Facebook ad.  This enables precise ad retargeting to engage potential customers who have shown interest but didn’t go ahead with ordering or reserving as an example.

Moving on to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). GA4 steps into the realm of enhanced ecommerce by allowing restaurants to monitor detailed interactions, like menu item selections and online order completions, through its enhanced ecommerce events feature. This wealth of data not only fine-tunes ad targeting but also provides invaluable insights into customer preferences and behavior, leading to more personalisation and targeted marketing.

By leveraging these analytics tools on your website, you're not just collecting data; you're gathering insights that can dramatically improve your digital ad campaigns on social media and search engines. This isn't just about getting more clicks; it's about making each ad dollar work harder for you.

Prioritize Mobile-Friendly Design

With more than half of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, it's now a requirement that you design your website with mobile phones in mind.  So as you build out your new restaurant website, keep your phone or tablet nearby to ensure your website is easily navigable on smaller screens. Make sure everything your guests need is front and center on mobile screens - phone, address, reservations, etc - make them one click away! Most website builders offer automatic optimization for various screen sizes, but it's best to review and adjust your content to ensure it translates well across all devices. Website editors, like the one built into Sociavore also let you switch between desktop and mobile views inside of the editor itself.  So keep toggling between them as you build.

Ensure Quick Loading Times

Quick loading times are crucial for maintaining visitor engagement and boosting your online presence. Slow websites frustrate guests, pushing them towards competitors or third-party ordering. A speedy website enhances the guest experience for online orders, increasing cart size and increasing checkout rates. Speed also plays a vital role in SEO, as search engines favor fast-loading websites, improving your visibility in search results and driving more traffic. 

Some easy ways to do this is by minimizing the number of large images you have on your website. Select a few key photos, but don’t drop the full camera roll on the website and make sure you resize them if your CMS doesn’t automatically do that for you.  

Also, stay far and away from PDF menus as the file size on a PDF menu can easily be as much or more as an entire website.  If you do use PDF files on your website - be sure to compress them first. 

Incorporate an Accessible Menu

Incorporating your menu directly into your restaurant's website as text rather than as images or PDFs serves dual purposes: enhancing accessibility and boosting your website's SEO. This ensures that your menu is easily accessible to everyone, including those using screen readers, thereby creating an inclusive online experience. Depending on how big your restaurant is or where you're located - it might already be the law to have your website completely accessible.

Since the menu is often the most visited page on a restaurant's website, it's vital to present it in an itemized, easily navigable format, avoiding PDFs which can be cumbersome for users to interact with, especially on mobile devices.

From an SEO perspective, having your menu in HTML text form allows search engines to crawl and index your offerings more effectively. This can improve your restaurant's visibility in search results, especially for specific dishes or cuisine types. Given that the menu showcases your main products, optimizing this page for search engines will attract more traffic to your website..

Ensuring your menu is accessible, readable, and SEO-friendly is not just about good website design; it's a strategic move to enhance your online presence and connect with a wider audience.

Incorporate Instagram Content Directly on Your Website

Google favors websites that frequently update with fresh, business-relevant content, leading to better search rankings. Keeping your website content fresh can be challenging, but many restaurants already curate engaging content for their Instagram accounts. Instead of merely embedding an Instagram feed—which Google can't index as part of your website's content—consider directly posting your Instagram updates on your website. This approach ensures Google recognizes and indexes this content, potentially improving your search rankings. For those using platforms like Sociavore, take advantage of features that automatically sync your Instagram posts to your website as new content pages.

Wrapping It All Up

Alright, we're at the end of our guide on whipping up an awesome restaurant website for 2024, and let me tell you, having a great website for your restaurant is more important than ever. In an era where the first interaction with your restaurant is likely to be online, your website stands as the gateway to the dining experience you offer. It's the digital embodiment of your restaurant's ethos, cuisine, and ambiance, inviting guests to step through your actual front door.

Embracing the tips and strategies outlined here, from choosing the right domain and platform to integrating mobile-friendly designs and accessible menus, sets the stage for a website that not only attracts but also captivates your guests. Remember, your website is an extension of your restaurant itself, offering a taste of what guests can expect when they visit in person. By ensuring your site is up-to-date, easy to navigate, and reflective of your brand, you're not just building a website; you're crafting an online experience that resonates with visitors and encourages them to become guests at your table. Let this guide be the foundation upon which you build a thriving online presence, one that translates into real-world success for your restaurant.

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