Just a while back, we posted what exactly about our favorite restaurant websites helped us commit to a great meal. But there’s a whole world of food and design culture at play, and some of the techniques are pretty consistent between different sites.
In case you want to sample what trends are hot off the food and restaurant design menus, we’ve got a delicious list:
High Resolution Images and Clean Text
It probably seems obvious that you’d want a quality food photo online, but small restaurant businesses and those just starting to carve out their online presence can overlook this benefit. Not only does a photo-based online ordering platform increase average sales by 25%, compelling images tell a restaurant’s story, and we all know how people eat with their eyes before their stomachs. In an industry where sheer food stylization is its own profession, the visual importance of a food option is second only to the taste.
However, this doesn’t mean you should just take a bunch of photos with your phone and post them on review aggregates like Yelp; customers will often do that on their own! Photo-centric design, as on a site like Bentobox, comes with typography choices. Bold, declarative text with enough spacing between other design aspects, like your selective imagery, make a strong testament with less descriptive flair. Don’t feel the need to overload your website with hundreds of photos — just the best ones of what your menu has to offer.
A few more websites that embody these principles:
Explicit Calls to Action
While almost every website benefits from clear prompts about how visitors should navigate, in food service this is fundamental for making reservations, scheduling pickup or delivery orders, and just flipping through a digital menu.
Since most restaurant website visitors aren’t there to browse as much as choose an often common service, these CTAs should be right on your front page. Here are a few sites that make their visitor actions easy to see and even fun to perform:
Food by Type and With a Brand-focused Menu Design
It can seem visually concise to list all of your food in the same part of the menu, but we’re so trained to draw distinctions between what sorts of food we prefer that customers naturally look for categories. Keeping like foods together, like pasta, salads, and burgers, speeds decision-making up by letting your customers know where to look. Even just general categories, like entrees and appetizers is more appealing than putting everything in the same place.
If you’ve got a really large menu, like Cheesecake Factory’s 250+ dishes, creating general categories is essential so nobody feels lost. You could even make separate web pages for each type of food.
Eating and holding a menu are both tactical things that everyone’s familiar with, so even a digital menu can feel more comfortable when stylistically traditional. Everything about Maialino’s feels old-world, but it works because we’re already trained to read menus in a certain way. It follows all the principles of easy-to-navigate categories and spacing while maintaining a traditional sense of brand consistent with its history.
Some other great online menus: