This article first appeared in the Small Business Resource Center blog at

With 84 percent of consumers looking at more than one restaurant website before deciding where to dine, it’s imperative to stand out with a persuasive, attractive, easy-to-navigate site. Keep in mind your target audience and be sure that the type of establishment and the offerings you have are displayed prominently.

Our research shows there are the six ways restaurants can consistently attract more customers:

1) Put the important information front and centre

With the tap of a button, diners expect to find the information they need to decide about visiting your restaurant.  And, your window to catch and keep them is short – just 5 seconds. To give them what they’re looking for quickly and easily, you’ll want to place this information on your home page:

  • Contact information, hours, directions
  • Reservation policy

Specials and promotions (happy hours, trivia night, etc.)

2) Show them your menu

Next to those items, the number one thing diners look for when they are searching is your menu. Your menu should be listed on your website and easy to navigate. If potential customers can’t find or use it easily online, they are likely to try another spot whose menu they could preview. An easy way to include an online menu is through your Yelp listing.

3) Convey the type of establishment you have

Your site is the digital version of your restaurant; use this opportunity to give potential customers a peek inside. Make sure it sends the right message about not only the food available, but the atmosphere, too. Investing in good photography is a great way to showcase your food and your restaurant.

4) Stay current

The restaurant industry is always changing, and your website should as well. Feature seasonally inspired food and align your offerings to potential tourism demands. If you post about dates of certain events, be sure to update the site immediately afterward so that your site doesn’t look neglected. You want potential customers to know that your restaurant is professional and well run.

5) Connect with customers

Ensure your business is top-of-mind by developing a digital presence that your patrons interact with during their free time. Engage with your customers on social media, promote specials to your patron base, and be sure to respond to both positive and negative reviews online.  Another cost-effective way to stay in touch with customers is to implement an email marketing program – statistics show for every $1 invested, email campaigns return $40 in sales.

6) Make sure your website is user-friendly

With Google’s announcement in 2015 that Google searches on mobile have officially surpassed desktop searches, mobile-friendly websites are no longer just nice to have, they are essential, especially for restaurants which are often searched for by people on-the-go. And, 62% of diners are less likely to choose a restaurant if they can’t see the menu on their phone. Fast-loading, easy navigation and prominent click or call options are all important factors in mobile-friendly design.