Did you know that three in four customers will visit a restaurant's website before dining at that restaurant? In an era when enabling online ordering is essential to running a restaurant, having an online presence for your restaurant is critical.
However, relying on your restaurant's Facebook page or Instagram just won't cut it. These social networks don't have the capabilities your restaurant needs to become an online business.
Here's the good news: restaurant website builders are making it easier than ever to create an online presence for your business. You don't even need to know how to code to use them!
Whether you're creating a website for your restaurant for the first time or want to revamp your current site, you'll find everything you need in this guide to the best restaurant website builders.
- The pros and cons of a DIY approach to website design versus hiring someone to build a custom website for you
- The key features of the three best restaurants website builders:
Restaurant website design: Taking the DIY approach vs. hiring a website designer
Should you build your restaurant's website or hire someone to do it for you? There are pluses and minuses associated with each method. Here are a few things to consider:
The pros and cons of the DIY approach to restaurant website design
- Making your own website for your restaurant is much more affordable than hiring professional help.
- Restaurant website builders make your website easy to update and maintain.
- You don't have to know how to code to create a professional-looking website when you use one of these platforms.
- With the DIY approach, you have the freedom to make updates to your website as needed, rather than having to wait for someone to do it for you.
- Creating your website can take up a lot of time out of your busy schedule.
- While restaurant website builders make it easy to create a professional website, having an eye for design will help you avoid branding inconsistencies.
The pros and cons of hiring a professional to make your restaurant's website
- When you work with a designer, you can get a custom website that doesn't look like a template or like anyone else's website.
- A website developer can build in features that you may not be able to add through a restaurant website builder.
- This approach is more expensive than the DIY approach. Hiring a website designer or developer usually starts at $1k to customize a template or $10k to build a completely custom website.
- Outsourcing help still requires your time, since you need to provide your input.
- With this approach, you run the risk of not finding the right people for the job. With so many website designers and developers out there, how do you know whom to trust?
- If you've never gone through a website design project before, you may not know to ask the right questions throughout the process.
Choose the option that works best for your priorities, timeline, budget, and level of expertise.
The top 3 best restaurant website builders
Consider these great restaurant website builders for your project. Some are a hybrid between the DIY approach and an outsourced approach, while others are total do-it-yourself options.
What makes BentoBox a great restaurant website builder?
BentoBox is an ideal option for restaurateurs who want a more hands-off approach to building a website. BentoBox isn't a DIY solution, rather a restaurant website builder service that comes with end-to-end restaurant tech solutions. They create a website for you so that you can easily update critical business information like your menu and hours without having to worry about design.
Unlike other website-building platforms, which were made for businesses of all kinds, BentoBox was made exclusively for restaurants. Thus, the platform has excellent features for restaurants, like online ordering, e-commerce, events management, contactless dining, and catering capabilities. All of the websites BentoBox designs for its clients are mobile-friendly and incorporate SEO to help them stand out in local searches.
Examples of restaurant websites built with BentoBox
BentoBox is responsible for creating websites for New York City restaurants Anton's and Marc Forgione and Vancouver's Disco Cheetah.
How to build a restaurant website with Bentobox
- First, the BentoBox design team creates your restaurant's website, with some input from you.
- After they've built the website, you can go into the Bentobox platform and easily make content updates.
- Every three years, you're entitled to a design refresh.
BentoBox's limitations for restaurants
If you like to be in full control of your restaurant's website, BentoBox may not be the option for you. Because they design your website for you, you don't have complete control over the design process, and you can only get a redesign once every three years.
BentoBox's integrations for restaurants
BentoBox comes with the following integrations that restaurants would find useful:
- Reservations: OpenTable and Resy
- Marketing: Constant Contact and MailChimp
- Payment processing: Stripe and Square
- POS: 30+ partners
- Shipping for e-commerce: Ship Station and Shippo
Click to learn more: Did you know that existing 7shifts customers can get a special deal with Bentobox?
What makes Shopify a great restaurant website builder?
Shopify was built for e-commerce, so it's an optimal choice if you want to sell merchandise on your restaurant's website. It's also a great option if you want to build your own website quickly and easily.
Shopify's restaurant website templates make it easy to create a website in just a few hours. If you're not confident about your computer skills, you can hire a freelance website designer specializing in Shopify to help you customize your template.
You'll love Shopify's restaurant-friendly features for online ordering, payment processing, curbside pickup, delivery, and tipping. This website builder also makes it easy to create menu pages.
Examples of restaurant websites built with Shopify
Metabolic Meals and the Plant Kitchen Co. used Shopify to build their websites.
You can start your website design project with a restaurant-friendly template like Bistro (this one's free!), Vantage, or Lively.
Recommended Reading: Ultimate Restaurant Website Design Guide for Beginners
Shopify's limitations for restaurants
Because Shopify sells its own POS system, integrating external systems is difficult. Generally speaking, the platform has minimal restaurant tech integration capabilities.
Shopify's templates are limited in what they can do for restaurants, so you may need to hire help to add special customizations to make your website more useful.
If you're doing a lot of e-commerce through your website, Shopify's transaction fees can add up.
Shopify's integrations for restaurants
Shopify's App Store offers tools from Facebook and Google, which can be useful for marketing your restaurant. However, if you want integrations beyond marketing, you'll need to use a third-party tool to make this possible.
How to build a restaurant website with Shopify
- Sign up for Shopify and choose your account type.
- Choose a free template for your website or buy a premium template from the Shopify Themes store.
- Customize the template yourself, or hire someone to help you.
- Add integrations using the Shopify App Store or a third-party tool.
What makes Squarespace a great restaurant website builder?
While Shopify's focus is e-commerce, Squarespace has always marketed itself as a platform that focuses on design. It's a suitable option if you want to have a great looking website without spending too much time thinking about design.
Squarespace has e-commerce capabilities that can help you sell products and fulfill orders online. The platform integrates with many marketing tools and comes with SEO features. It also has analytics reporting to help you understand your customers.
Examples of restaurant websites built with Squarespace
New York City restaurants Poco and CATA built their websites with Squarespace.
You can start your website project on Squarespace with restaurant-friendly templates like Vance, Atlantic, Juniper, and Auburn.
Squarespace's limitations for restaurants
Squarespace has very few integrations for online ordering and reservations, so if you're not using ChowNow or OpenTable, Squarespace may not be the best restaurant website builder for you.
Some customers may find Squarespace's customer support options frustrating. They're limited to documentation, email, and online chat, so you won't be able to get live support over the phone.
Squarespace's integrations for restaurants
Squarespace currently integrates with ChowNow for online ordering and OpenTable for reservations. They may add more integrations in the future.
How to build a restaurant website with Squarespace
- Sign up for Squarespace and pick a plan.
- Choose a template for your restaurant's website.
- Customize the template.
- If applicable, add ChowNow and OpenTable integrations.
- Connect your social media accounts.
Restaurant website builders make it easier and faster than ever to get your business online
Gone are the days when your only options for getting your restaurant online were having a Facebook page or paying a developer tens of thousands of dollars to build a custom website from scratch. Restaurant website builders like Bentobox, Shopify, and Squarespace are making it more accessible, affordable, and faster than ever to build the website of your dreams. These platforms also come with online ordering, e-commerce, and reservations management integrations, which are critical in the age of COVID-19.