What’s the Point?

Let’s consider a few most common questions of restaurant owners and try to give rational answers to them.

  1. Creating a website for a restaurant is not cheap, and I already have a bunch of regular customers. So do I still need a website?

    The answer to this question could be “yes” or “no.” If your restaurant is always staffed with diners and you do not wish more, than stop reading this article and go working. But if your goal is to attract as many potential clients as possible, grow big, and become the best, you really need the best website for restaurant.

    It should be said: a solid website is vital for every respectable restaurant. According to statistics, 81% of people have searched for a restaurant prior to going there for the first time. 88% of those looking up a restaurant online will take action the same day and visit that establishment. And nearly 85% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

  2. I do not offer online orders/reservation and do not host events. Why to create a website?

    You may not provide any additional services except feeding comers, but is your restaurant a special place that people are looking for? Do you ever have a diner say “I came here because you have...”?

    Each year, over 57% of people use the Internet to set travel itineraries which always include accommodations, restaurants, and shopping. Do you want your establishment to be among their choices?

    A well-designed, client-oriented website will give you a substantial advantage over your competitors and a nice impetus to the development of your brand.

  3. I have a Facebook page with 2,000 followers. What is the point for me of having a website?

    The first and probably most important reason of having a website is that although Facebook listing has a way of popping up high into Google occasionally, Google still seems to prioritize Facebook pages lower than official websites and local listings. If someone is looking for your restaurant by name, they will easily find your social media pages (if you have such).

    However, do not expect that all the potential customers googling something like “best Chinese restaurant in New York” will find exactly your establishment. And even if they do cope, not all of them will see all your Facebook posts - Facebook algorithm actually does not very favor brands. In short, when you rely on Facebook, the potential visitors may simply not find you at all when searching for your type of restaurant.

    Furthermore, social networks like Twitter and Facebook frequently change their features and Policies and Technical Requirements. Be ready the game rules to change.

    There are some other reasons of why restaurants should not be fed by Facebook alone, but I hope these were enough for you. Summarizing all the written above, I can say that getting on social media does not give you a total control of the process. Facebook page with some basic information about your establishment and a few fresh posts is not the same as having your own website which you control 100% of the time.

Different Strokes For Different Folks or What’s the Different Between a $500 and $5,000 Website?

Okay, we figured out that your restaurant really needs a website. The next logical step is to estimate how much it will cost you to design a website. It may look easier than it actually is.

Due to a tremendous number of web design agencies and different types of web design, the pricing on websites varies as much as on a pair of leather boots. You may buy casual Martins for $500 on Amazon or a pair fancy hand-made jack boots designed by Kanye West for $10000. The same applies to web design - the pricing varies dramatically.

Building a website can be accomplished hundreds of different ways. You can get “something” “for free.” When I say “something,” I literally mean some basic, template website. And when I say “for free,” I mean that you will pay $1000+ for it. On the other end of the scale is craftsmanship. It implies developing a 100% custom design, interviewing customers, employing marketing analytics, testing different design versions on real restaurant customers, writing sticking copies, creating storytelling and creative website concept that may go viral, launching photo production, and so on.

It is important to understand that a website is not a product but rather a service. Viewing websites as service-based will help you to better understand why a one-off price is not simple to give. Web developing takes continued time and effort. That is why there is no average cost of creating a website for your restaurant like there is no average cost for painting.

But perhaps the most important question to consider is how much value can your website deliver? If you invest in a website $2,500 but it ultimately turns away customers, what’s a real cost of such website? Conversely, if you invest in an expensive website $50,000 and it helps keep tables and bars full from night to night, bringing in over $10,000 a night, which site is really the better value?

As Cheap As Possible?

As Eugene Kudryavchenko, founder and CEO of Vintage, says, if you need to pump up a tire, you are likely to use a pump rather than a shovel. The same applies to websites. Universal templates may be a solution for the first time. But if you want to use all the potential of the Internet, you need a complex tool allowing you to do this.

Is your budget close to 0? Any website is better than its absence. Be ready to get some kind of “fast food.” However, it still should be aligned with your brand, reflect the essence and ideology of your restaurant. If your restaurant website is not a template one but custom, the best you can have is a custom-tailored website.

How To Determine Price?

Building a website involves a very, very complicated level of planning. That is why determining the website designing price is a big deal for both a client and web agency. Details are an integral part of the process, and this greatly affects website development pricing.

Case in point: if a client says he wants a 3-page website with good custom restaurant web design, there are hundreds of questions a web designer could ask him in responseю As well as there are nearly the same amount of ways to bring this to life.

Just imagine how many questions could appear while creating a website for a restaurant with responsive design, catching creative concept, smooth navigating experience, stunning visuals, and stuff like that. It is especially challenging for inexperienced restaurant owners who do not fully understand what they want and, at the same time, have a strictly limited budget.

So it makes sense to make some cost estimation, set up your budget, find several web agencies you like and ask them whether they can make a restaurant website of your dream for your budget. Traditionally, the best web design agencies are located in Northern Europe and New York City. For the latter, you will have to fork out. Such agencies are perfect for developing world’s best website which usually cost from $150,000. If you are not ready to spend so much, there are many less expensive but still professional web agencies from overseas. Eastern Europe agencies are considered as the most affordable among world-class level ones.

Website Design Costs Breakdown and Examples

We did some mystery shopping in order to figure out what kind of web design services restaurant owners can have for different budgets. For that, we’ve talked both to agencies from the U.S. (particularly, California and NYC) and Eastern Europe. You may see that although the pricing varies dramatically, the timeline is very similar (that tells us these guys have similar processes).

We described key categories in terms of time and websites which can be developed for that amount of time. There are also some restaurant website examples in each category. To make out the pricing, just multiply the working days by 8 and the hourly rate. Average website design costs are $40 for best Eastern Europe agencies and $200 for best U.S. boutique agencies. Large companies can charge $250+ per hour. India is considered nowhere except “Template Website” due to a lack of professionalism.

To note: the pricing does not include video/photo production.

Examples of Restaurant Websites

I’ve not seen such kind of websites yet. However, I put them here as a demonstration of that the impressive web design could potentially exist. The following are a few examples of the features we can expect from web design in the very near future.

The use of WebGL. WebGL, based on the well-known OpenGL 3D graphics standard, gives JavaScript plugin-free access to the graphics hardware, via the HTML5 canvas element - making real-time 3D graphics in web pages possible.

The use of drones. Stunning photos taken by a drone are likely not to surprise anyone, but what about a restaurant drone flying around the facility, taking photos, and immediately sending them to visitors? A restaurant drone may also take a video of picturesque surroundings, streams into a website online, and takes fascinating photos of guests during a party.

Interactive design. Head of Research as Ericsson ConsumerLab, Michael Bjorn, says about an increasing popularity of virtual reality so: “Beyond real time, I believe we should be talking about reality time. In fact, we can call reality becomes even more personal and subjective. Consumers not only surround themselves with the like-minded or social networks but also are starting to customize the way they experience the world with augmented and virtual reality technologies.” Key trends will inextricably be associated with the fields of machine learning, analytics of big data, and the Internet of things.

Virtual reality and Augmented reality. To drive a higher level of engagement with participating restaurants, NYC & Company embedded Google Map Street View and Business View on its website at their website. As a result, more than half of participating restaurants reported that their diners were more likely to reserve a table at those restaurants. So very soon, every diner could point our smartphone camera on an ordered dish and see how, by whom, and from what it was cooked.

Viral Marketing. Restaurants can use either guerrilla or professional approach as long as the campaign uses creativity and emotions to grab attention and become a focal point sharing and conversation. For example, Starbucks’ professional campaign “Behind the Scenes” featured educational images that show how coffee is roasted, ground, and turned into upscale coffee beverages.Today’s marketing has shifted from speaking to consumers to interacting with them. Viral campaigns are basically built on originality, delight, shock - actually, on any kind of emotions. The future of web design is emotional.

Unfortunately, a great number of restaurant websites continue to suck. Some of them are seemingly based on ugly templates devised more than a decade ago, made by dubious web agencies which are openly preying on the oblivious. Nowadays, online users are savvier than ever and less likely to tolerate a bad web experience, regardless of how wonderful their dining experience might be.

Speak frankly, our Vintage team believes that there should be zero tolerance for substandard websites among restaurateur, that’s why we do our best to create the first-rate websites for our clients. Feel free to share your thoughts on the topic.