What are your goals for your restaurant website? Being clear on exactly what you want.
When pursuing any task it is important to setup goals. May restaurant owners create a website with the sole thought that everyone has one and 'it is something you should do'. While these statements are true they don't provide any structure to help with the construction of your site and they also don't provide any criteria to judge the success of your restaurant web site. In this article we will explore common uses for a website, how to ensure these goals are met and give you suggestions on creating custom goals for your individual needs.

There are four things that every restaurant web site MUST provide and that the majority of restaurant clientel will visit a website looking for...

Number one is directions to your restaurant. A street address is essential, a map is appreciated. It is easy to allow a person to type in their address and receive custom directions now a days. Lastly typed out directions from common roads/routes is a good idea.

Number two is hours of operation. These should be very easy to fine and clearly displayed.

Number three is your menu. Again this should be easy to find and displayed clearly. Being able to download it is a nice feature but the high majority will not use it. Being able to print it easily is also important. Showing pricing depends on the type of restaurant.

Lastly is the atmosphere of the restaurant itself. A photogallery with pictures of your restaurant fulfills this task. The overall site design does the same thing but more subtlety.

If these four goals are achieved then you have provided a priceless resource for your current and new customers looking for information. It is recommended however that your goals extend beyond these basic functions. Because every restaurant is different it is hard to provide specific information on what your goals should be. In general, these goals should be concrete and easy to measure. An example of this would be to sign up 20 new members on to your newsletter system every month. This is easy to check, and if the number falls below 20, then you can create a plan to increase it. If you are selling products then measure the number of sales is important. Make sure your goals are realistic and obtainable. Start lower and if you find the goal is getting reached easily then increase it.

The most common goal for a restaurant is to bring in more paying patrons. This unfortunately is very hard to measure for most restaurants. If you create a online coupon, which you send out to your mailing list, you can easily count these coupons and see the results. If you conduct a survey you can ask if they have ever been to your website. If you use a reservation system you can track where the reservations are coming from. Every site comes with statistics to see how many visits are going to your site and what they are viewing. Google analytics provide is a free program that lets you do extremely advanced web site statistic analysis.

It is important to develop realistic goals for a website and we encourage you to communicate with your staff, your customers and your technical providers on how to create and measure these goals.