Saturday, April 14, 2018

What Restaurants Can Do To Be More Accessible

What Restaurants Can Do To Be More Accessible

Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act is only the start.

As restaurant owners, our goal should always be to make people feel welcome. One of the ways to do this is to make subtle changes that can make all the difference for someone with disabilities.

What Does Restaurant Accessibility Mean?

It means taking into consideration the little things that can get in the way if someone has a disability. Disabilities we can accommodate in the restaurant can be grouped as mobility related or vision related.
The standard for basic assessability required by law is the Americans With Disabilities Act, a set of regulations passed in 1990 with the goal of creating a more inclusive society for those with physical impairment.
ADA is not about costly penalties to restaurant owners or to create a financial hardship. The enforcement of ADA regulations considers the practicality and costs of changes to increase accessibility and sites build before 1990 can be upgraded on an as-required basis.

What Are Some Specific Accessibility Requirements?

Let’s look at how to increase accessibility inside and outside the restaurant. Some are required by law as a minimum standard, but others are ways to help improve the guest experience.
  • Improving Outdoor Accessibility for Restaurants
    • Parking – It starts in the parking lot. Reserving parking spaces closest to the entrance helps those with low mobility access the restaurant with the least amount of discomfort. The parking area should be level and provide enough space to exit the vehicle with a wheelchair. At least one in 25 parking spaces must be handicapped accessible.
    • Door Handles – For those with motor issues and arthritis the act of turning or squeezing a door handle to open it can be particularly challenging. You want your guests to come right in, so door handles must be accommodating.
    • Door Widths – Doors must be at least 36 inches wide to accommodate wheelchairs and scooters. A wider door is also more inviting to guests.
    • Automated Doors – Also consider automating doors to open on their own or with a button. Although this is not a requirement for restaurants, it can be an important accessibility upgrade for those in wheelchairs or use canes and walkers.
    • Access Ramps – Although generally associated with wheelchair use, those who have hip and knee issues may also find that access ramps give them less trouble than stairs. Ramps should be at least 36 inches wide to accommodate wheelchairs and feature handrails for increased safety and security against falling.
  • Indoor Accessibility Improvements
    • Emergency Exits – Equip all emergency exits with lights and alarms to aid the disabled in finding the exit should the need arise. This will help to make it clear the location of the emergency exit for those with visual impairment.
    • Bathrooms – Bathrooms are important for accessibility and help guests feel comfortable in your restaurant. The door must have a raised sign, brail can also help the visually impaired. Stalls must be at least 5 feet by 5 feet and with hand-rails installed to accommodate maneuvering with a wheelchair. The central pathway must be clear and at least 36 inches wide. Also, consider sink height when designing an accessible bathroom. Lowering the sink can help those using wheelchairs.
    • Clear Paths For Access – To move through the restaurant from the front door to accessible seating, emergency exits and anywhere the guest must access, there must be a clear, 36-inch wide path through the restaurant, unimpeded by obstacles.
    • Table and Counter Height – Your restaurant may feature different table heights, but for accessible seating, the standard is, no less than 27 inches between the floor and the bottom of the tabletop and a table height between 28-34 inches. Table legs must be at least 30 inches apart.
    • Seating Requirements – Bench seats must be at least 42 inches long with a depth between 20 and 24 inches. Back support must match the length of the bench and extend at least 18 inches up from the cushion.
These are the most basic accessibility considerations you can make for your restaurant guests. To ensure compliance with the most up to date version of the ADA regulations, please visit the official government ADA website.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Take Control Of Restaurant Inventory Management

Take Control Of Restaurant Inventory Management

It may not be the most fun chore but taking stock is key to long-term profits

Inventory Management For Restaurant Success

You can expect to reap the following rewards when you embrace proper restaurant stock counting practices:
  • The biggest reason to manage stock is reducing spoilage – everything that goes bad is money in the trash. Know the lifecycle of your perishables and don’t over-order.
  • Serve your guests fresh food – Besides the liability, you could have if you got someone sick, fresher food just tastes better! If you care about your guests and the food you make, ensure that the kitchen uses only the best ingredients.
  • When you watch your stock levels closely, you’ll find it gets easier to manage – as it becomes a habit, it won’t seem like such a chore.
  • You’ll start to notice patterns – Only through intimate knowledge of your stock levels will you get a real feeling for what’s being ordered. Then you can decide how to change your buying behaviors to save money.
  • Catch the thieves! – It’s not a secret that restaurants suffer an extraordinary amount of employee theft. If you’re taking time to watch closely, you’ll catch the discrepancies before they get out of hand.

Easy Ways To Embrace Inventory Managment

Follow these best practices to improve your experience and results when taking stock in your restaurant
  • Stay consistent – this is really where all the other rules come from. Consistency of action produces consistency of results.
    • Always take stock on the same day of the week – Monday mornings before service is a great time to do this. The reason this is important is so that your reports always show the passing of the same span of time. This way changes become more apparent.
    • Devote 100% of your attention to the task. Oversight in this area can be a problem If double counting is going on it will show up as a discrepancy on the next count and confuse.
    • Do an inventory of stock on hand before delivery. This is crucial. You need to know what you’re starting with first. Then count the new inventory. Your reports should show stock before delivery, new stock, and a total.
    • Keep procedures consistent – Pick a methodology and stick with it. The same forms, the same routine. This will make inventory time go smoother.
    • Start with an organized stock area. This means keeping all like-items together. If the canned olives are always in one part of the pantry, keep them there. Try not to split up like items, or there will be a greater chance of a miss-count.
    • Assemble an inventory team – This is an important step. Leverage teamwork to get the job done faster. Assign the same crew to the inventory shift each week so they can become familiar with the process. Through this familiarity and teamwork, auditing stock levels will become faster and habitual.

Use Technology To Your Advantage

There are many ways you can use technology to help with inventory management for the restaurant. Rather than keeping paper and pencil records of your inventory, enter the values into a system that provides data management like a spreadsheet.
This will make it much easier to view and manipulate the data. With just a little work you can view product sold over time in a chart format that will help you project future costs and ordering levels.
If you’re lucky enough to use a POS with built in restaurant inventory managment make sure to use it! Inventory levels can be updated on the fly and checked against actual stock levels when counted. This gives you the ability to track down issues like portion control and excess prep waste before they get out of hand.

Advanced Inventory Managment Benefits

When you get your head around basic inventory management and your stock counts are consistent each week you can benefit greatly from this information.
Since food usage is tied to sales, you have a greater appreciation for how much it costs you to make your sales numbers. You can now accurately project your future costs and profits.
When you get a handle on stock, you can accurately price your menu items because you have a greater understanding of their true cost. This is called “menu engineering” and its a holy grail for restaurant owners who are serious about maintaining long-term profitability.
This Short guide to basic restaurant inventory management should get you well on your way to implementing a profitable stock-auditing routine in your restaurant.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

How to Drive Restaurant Sales With A Digital Menu Board

How to Drive Restaurant Sales With A Digital Menu Board

What you need to know about digital signage for restaurants

Every year technology becomes more affordable and with this process of lowered prices for computers and LCD displays come new opportunities for independent restaurant owners to market their brand to guests.

Digital displays are popping up everywhere!

Traditional menus and displays in restaurants use backlit printed graphics. They look great, but they’re expensive to change and most importantly – they are static.
In today’s media-heavy environment people are used to something more stimulating and attention-grabbing.
Some of the ways restaurant owners are using digital signage:
  • In-store advertising – Got a new promotion you want to push? Want to get people hungry for more or know about your catering business? No better way to get people to look than to run a personalized mini-advert on a screen where you know customers are going to look. Next to the line is a great idea.
  • Digital Menus – This is the big one even small restaurant owners are looking to implement. The signs are bright, eye-catching, easy to change and can feature video and animations as well. The menu can be changed to feature daily specials, seasonal products and promotions running on an automated schedule timed with period pricing in your POS system.
  • Interactive Kiosks – This is the most advanced technology. Some restaurants use digital display kiosks to allow customers to order their own food. Even if you’re not quite ready to replace your servers with a computer, there are many other features that a kiosk can be used for. Guests can put themselves on the waitlist, sign up for your restaurant guest loyalty program, or check their gift card balance.

Comercial Digital Signage for Restaurants

LCD Displays – You might be under the impression that these screens you’re seeing all over are just regular LCD TVs like you might get during a black Friday sale. And while it’s true that the consumer TVs can provide a very low-cost playback of restaurant marketing and menu videos there are some important differences, you need to consider before choosing between consumer grade LCD TVs and commercial digital signage.
Consumer TV ScreensCommercial Displays
Designed to run 4-6 hours a dayDesigned to run 24 hours a day
Bright enough for a dim living roomBright enough for a well-lit restaurant
90 Day or 1-year warranty typical4-year commercial warranty
Narrow range of operating temperaturesWider range of safe operating temperatures
Lower initial costLower long-term costs
Regardless of the type of display you choose to implement, you’ll likely need additional hardware and software that can manage your digital display.
Graphics Controler Hardware – A consumer grade “smart tv” will have media playback capabilities built in but you won’t be able to change the playback from your computer or run multiple displays as one, also known as a video wall.
To accomplish this, you’ll need some type of controller box that is network connected and powerful enough to drive graphics to multiple displays. There are lots of choices, and the specific hardware is outside of the scope of this article, but a search for digital signage controllers will get you well on your way.
Options range from desktop computers, specialized video boxes and stick-PCs, small computers that plug directly into the HDMI port of the display.
Digital Signage Managment – The next piece of kit to consider is the digital signage software. There are many choices of specialized tools designed to help restaurant owners manage and update the content shown on their menu boards and in-restaurant advertisements.
When budgeting for your digital signage makes sure to include the cost of licensing this software. Always try before you buy, as switching your solution will not be easy once you’ve been using it for some time, as it’s unlikely that the files will transfer directly to a new system. You’d end up in the unfortunate situation of having to re-build all your content.
Mounting and Wiring Another aspect to consider is where you want the displays to hang and how to accomplish this. The good thing is that most LCD displays and TVs use the VERSA mount standard on the back. This gives you many options for how to mount and angle your menu board.
Another thing to consider is wiring, which could include both power and networking cables depending on the solution you choose to go with. Always be careful when running wires and make sure that your installation is up to code.
Graphics and Video Last and certainly not least, you’ll need something to playback on the display screens. This could mean trying your hand at design software or hiring a local designer for help. Creating new videos for your restaurant can be fun and who doesn’t like showing off their amazing food creations in beautiful, mouth-watering high definition?
Budget your resources accordingly. Good photography, graphic design, and video are not something you want to cheap-out on. After all, this is what all your hard work leads to. This is the message you want your guests to see!

DIY Or Hire A Consultant?

Although converting to a digital menu board for your restaurant can be as simple as buying a big-screen TV and popping in a video to play, to go beyond the basics means adapting and learning new skills.
If you want to be able to remotely manage and run multiple displays the costs and complexity of the technology can ramp up quickly. You may choose to take advantage of a local solution provider who has experience with the hardware, software, electrical and graphics design requirements. Many such service providers exist and should be able to take your vision and give you a clear estimate of the costs before you get started.
Now you’re ready to get started working on your restaurant’s digital menu!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

How To Properly Write a Restaurant Schedule

How To Properly Write a Restaurant Schedule

Effective scheduling for restaurants is a core management task

If you’ve just been handed the keys to the restaurant and you’re now a manager, you may be wondering how to write your first schedule.
What inevitably happens when new managers are promoted is that the schedule becomes chaos and staff become rightly upset. No one is getting the days and shifts they are used to or enough rest. They’re moving their personal life around to suit the chaotic schedule so they’ve got other things on their mind when they come to work.

The way you schedule effects the lives of restaurant staff

If your goal is to provide excellent customer service and create an environment where your staff can consistently bring their A-game you need to be mindful of how your scheduling effects overall restaurant performance.
This guide will help you write schedules that keep your restaurant and bar staff happy, which means better a better service and more enthusiastic guests.
As a restaurant manager, what you don’t want to have an ambivalent attitude toward your staff’s scheduling needs. They have lives outside of the restaurant – other jobs, school, family and community obligations, etc.

Restaurant managers schedule despite many demands

The life obligations of servers and cooks should be respected so that when they’re on shift, the only thing they are thinking about is providing the best service they can.
If they are worried if they can find a babysitter on short notice or someone to pick up their dog from the vet, if they can leave their other job early or any of the other obligations people have when they are not at the restaurant, then they are not thinking about service.
This is also the reason that restaurant scheduling is so demanding. Everyone’s availability is different. Some people can work 7 days a week, some can only work 2. We’ll talk about how to resolve these conflicts in the next section.
Be aware, even the best-laid plans of a restaurant manager are subject to last minute changes, and you need to have a backup plan in place should you get a last minute call-in.
You also need to know how much staff it takes to run a good service – not too few people and not too many. Labor is expensive but so is losing guests to poor service. And too many under-staffed shifts will likely drive away some of your workers.
There’s no surer sign to restaurant staff that they are on a sinking ship than poor scheduling that causes them to:
  • Miss important events
  • Puts the kitchen in the weeds
  • Creates a sub-par guest experience

How to do restaurant scheduling right

  • Create a Master List – Get a complete list of scheduling preferences and availability from each member of staff. Tell them that this is what their shifts will be based on so they’d better be sure that they are ready to work these hours.
    Use the Master List to write your Master Schedule. This is the best way to see who’s available to work shifts. Pull your weekly schedules from the options available to you in the Master List when run against the time off requests.
  • Time off requests are only requests – Make it clear to staff that they are expected to be available to work the hours they’ve submitted as “ideal” for them. And if their availability changes they’re supposed to submit their new availability in writing.
    However, everyone does have things come up and need to request time off. All requests should be submitted before the schedule is written. The best way to field requests for days off is to have a request log.
    This can be a paper calendar with a notes section below, that’s left in the back. Why this is important is that other workers can see when requests have been made. If they see that three other servers have already requested the night off, they may not submit a request.
    The main thing is creating one place to contain the requests that is public. The last thing you want is a disorganized request system where you’re stuck with a handful of random pieces of paper, emails and text messages before you set out to write your week’s schedule.
  • Important scheduling considerations – When you set out the write the week’s schedule you need a systematic approach. Take out your Master Schedule and go down the line.
    • Start by scheduling the managers – Since they should be more reliable, you can count on them to work a regular schedule. Also, there should always be at least one manager on shift, so why not start there?
    • Schedule senior staff next – Giving your senior staff their preferences for working shifts rewards their loyalty and dependability.
    • Know how many people you need – This comes with experience and data. Take note of superior services, who was on shift and how many people you had working in the kitchen and in the dining room. Use this information to get a ratio of staff to guests. When you’re able to project future covers, then you’ll be able to schedule staff accordingly.
    • Avoid close - opens – There is no way someone operating on zero sleep is going to be able to bust their backside for a stellar service. Burning out your employees by expecting them to do so is a dangerous game that will cause your service to suffer.
    • You can’t always please everyone – Sometimes you’re going to hit a wall even with the best planning ahead. Do what you can to make it work but realize that it’s a compromise that can have long-term effects on the quality of service your guests receive and can strain your relationship with staff.
By following this system for restaurant scheduling, it will help you organize time off requests, schedule around unforeseen events and maximize the productivity of your restaurant staff. We hope these tips help you have a fantastic service!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

How Restaurant Management Can Fight Harassment

How Restaurant Management Can Fight Harassment

Harassment in the workplace that’s left unchecked can lead to expensive legal proceedings

70-80% of Restaurant Staff Say They Have Been Harassed

That’s an incredibly high number, but according to The Restaurant Opportunities Center’s 2014 report, that was their finding.
A mix of factors play into this situation, but as restaurant owners and managers, it is our legal obligation to create a safe working environment for all staff.
Only a small portion of restaurant harassment is actually ever reported and goes to court. With a turnover-rate approaching 70%, employees often quit the restaurant rather than continue to deal with harassment.
This leaves harassers unpunished for their actions and a false impression that it’s “OK.” It is suspected this is one of the primary drivers of the high rate of harassment in restaurants.
However, if management is found to have been negligent in the prevention of employee harassment the fines can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Are you willing to spend that kind of money, months of legal proceedings and having your reputation tarnished over a lax attitude about staff harassment?

Types of Harassment in Restaurants

  • Co-worker Harassment – NYC law firm Philips & Associates clarifies the definition of workplace harassment, according to the laws of New York.
A hostile work environment typically arises when you receive unwanted verbal or physical conduct that interferes with your ability to do your job, whether that is serving or cooking. However, the New York City Human Rights Law, provides greater protection for employees than its state or federal counterparts. An employee only needs to prove that they were treated “less well than other employees… at least in part for a discriminatory reason.”
As you can see, laws vary depending on jurisdiction. The particular legal definition used in your State is outside the scope of this article, but the concept is clear. If workers are being treated poorly by other staff members and are unable to perform their regular job duties, it’s considered a hostile work environment and management is obligated to step in.
  • Restaurant Patron Harassment – It might surprise you that as a restaurant owner you are also responsible for controlling the behavior of your patrons. If restaurant guests harass your staff members and you turn a blind eye, for whatever reason, you could be held financially liable.
    Take for instance a recent case in Florida where a wings restaurant was held liable for the inappropriate touching and comments made by a restaurant patron to the tune of $200,000.
    No matter who the guest is even if they are a VIP or a regular, they’re not worth the damage to your business caused by a lawsuit for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your employees need to feel safe and know that management will back them up if they experience harassment from their customers.

Create A Firm Action Plan To Fight Harassment

Since your staff will inevitably have varying amounts of experience in the restaurant industry, some may have little work experience and don’t know how serious harassment can be, or they’ve been in restaurants where harassment was tolerated for so long they don’t even recognize their bad behaviors.
By creating a clear-cut anti-harassment policy, you’ll be able to set employee expectations for how they should conduct themselves. Work with your state and local employment policy department to develop an approved anti-harassment training program and make sure that all staff members complete it.
If management observes harassing behaviors between coworkers or with restaurant guests, they are obligated to step in and mediate the situation, even if the staff member says it’s “ok.” They may be trying to downplay the effect that the harasser is having on them.
Most important however is to make sure that your restaurant staff is made to feel that their concerns are taken seriously, and that management will back them up if they report harassing behavior from either co-workers or patrons.
By taking a firm stance against restaurant employee harassment, you’ll be able to create an environment where workers feel safe to report inappropriate behavior, which will cut down on instances of harassment and help to protect you from the potential liability that can happen from harassment in the workplace.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Strike Back Against Restaurant Employee Theft

 Strike Back Against Restaurant Employee Theft

How Effective Management Procedures Reduce Restaurant Theft

Can you Afford to Lose $6M a year?

According to OSU research, in 2004 it was estimated that three to six million dollars a year are stolen from restaurant owners by their employees. Although most staff can be reasonably trusted, as restaurant managers and owners we need to be vigilant in our monitoring of employees.
Restaurant employee theft has additional consequences than just the bottom line; there is a moral implication that left unaddressed creates a culture of dishonesty and corruption that can infect our organization as it spreads.
Other employees who become aware of the theft can either become emboldened to steal too or become apathetic about their work. Because of social pressure, most employees fear being branded as a “tattle tail” or “snitch.” It is our job as leaders to take control.
Employee theft puts the livelihood of everyone working in the restaurant at stake. A restaurant that isn’t profitable can’t hire new staff, may have to cut hours or close entirely. Explain this chain-effect to staff when discussing theft, so they understand that their actions are far from harmless.

Are you Letting Staff Steal From You?

You’d probably say “Of course not!” but gross negligence would be your fault. If you want to increase employee accountability, you have to start with yourself and take a hard look at your management style.
We would all rather have a drama-free workplace, and when balancing the many tasks of restaurant operations, it can be tempting to let some things slide. But beware, it could be a case of willful blindness that opens the door to staff stealing from you.
If you are a lax manager or over-trusting of your employees the type of personalities will rob you blindly will see your kindness as weakness and justify their theft with a sense of entitlement.
However, you don’t want to drive yourself crazy with paranoia or damage relationships with trustworthy staff with accusations. You’ve probably heard the old proverb, "Trust, but verify"

You Need Eyes Everywhere

As restaurant managers, we need to understand how social expectations affect people’s behavior. Because being caught red-handed stealing proves a person to be untrustworthy to everyone, they are far less likely to steal if they know they are being watched.
Place visible and hidden cameras all over the restaurant and let it be known. Strategically place high-resolution CCTV security cameras above each register and periodically review the footage. This is an indispensable tool when it comes to investigating cash discrepancies and will help your case later if there is a legal dispute between you and the employee.
It’s not just cash that is stolen; significant lost profits are from a “softer” sort of theft that younger staff may not realize is stealing. Over-portioning, giving away “free” food to friends, unauthorized discounts and taking food home are all examples of product theft.
The best way to reduce product theft is the same as with cash theft; Increased accountability. Don’t neglect to put cameras by the back door and in the prep area, where staff might hide food to steal later.
Weigh all incoming stock and keep a record. Subtract the weight of prep waste and use a POS with integrated inventory tracking. When you perform weekly or monthly audits, you’ll have an expected volume of stock to compare against existing stock.
Making inventory audits a frequent and visible procedure communicates to staff members that there is nowhere to hide and if food is being stolen, you will get to the bottom of it.

Training and Procedures That Reduce Theft

By holding kitchen staff, servers and managers all accountable for their discrepancies reducing theft becomes a team effort. When everyone’s feet are held to the fire, there will be no tolerance on the part of staff when they observe another employee stealing.
Proper cash management procedures are essential to reducing theft. To increase accountability for servers, assign each to their own cash drawer. This is especially important for bars, where there are many opportunities to short the drawer. Each employee responsible for their own cash at the end of the night reduces confusion and blame-games if there is a shortage.
Other cash management best practices are to audit the drawer after every shift-change, frequently drop excess cash out of the drawer into the safe and confront staff over drawer discrepancies. Mistakes are surely made, but the important thing for them to know is that you’re watching.
Splitting duties helps too. Don’t let employees count their own cash drawers – even managers. Those who are given the most trust are in a position to hurt us the most. Cherry-pick POS permissions using a system that supports per-user granular access so you can control who does what and no one person is given enough control to cover their tracks.
Reducing staff theft in your restaurant requires vigilance, but by reducing the opportunity and the temptation by installing cameras, splitting duties and insisting on procedures that increase accountability you can create a culture of honesty in your restaurant that will keep you from having to suffer the losses caused by dishonest employees.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Do you really need a restaurant website?

Do you really need a restaurant website?

In the era of social media is it worth hassle to make your own restaurant website?

Why you might not want a website for your restaurant

  • You don’t know where to start
  • You think it will cost too much
  • You’re afraid of the cost
If you’re already posting on Facebook and Instagram and have followers there, you may not think the additional trouble of having a website for your restaurant is worth it.

You could be missing essential opportunities

One of the most important things to understand is how people find local restaurants. While your Facebook and Instagram are vital places to “preach to the choir” and build your fanbase, there’s a crucial opportunity you’re missing out on called “Google local results.”
The Google search engine understands where people who are searching restaurants live and when they search for “seafood restaurant” or “breakfast cafe” the top results are going to be tailored to their location.
If your competition has a website that ranks them first in Google and you don’t – guess where they’re most likely to go!

What’s the point of a restaurant website?

The type of website you choose to make for your restaurant has a lot to do with:
  • Your target audience – Your website is another opportunity to communicate your brand message and unique offerings. Just like your restaurant, it’s self, you need to consider how to appeal to the type of guests you want to bring in. Choose a look and style that matches your restaurant’s theme.
  • The kind of service – If you have a big menu, post it online, that way customers know what they want to order when they come in. If you do delivery, there is no excuse for not having your menu online, and taking online orders can be a considerable convenience for your customers.
  • How much time/money you have budgeted --Depending on resources you may choose either to do it your self or have someone do it for you. It’s always better to host your own website rather than use a “free” webpage service, but because having a website is so important, something is better than nothing!
  • Do you take Reservations? – If your restaurant takes reservations, but your dining room isn’t full every service, then online reservations could be the boon to more bookings that you’re looking for. Just make sure to choose a system that is easy to implement and doesn’t charge you extra fees for online reservations. Rezku is a leader in front of house management and has affordable solutions for restaurants looking to start using an online reservation system.

How to Start a Restaurant Website

  • Where to put your website
    • Free Hosting – Yes, there are many free web hosting services but be aware that there may be a catch. Many free hosting services include paid versions if you need more space, have more visitors or wish to remove ads from your page. These can cost
    • Paid Hosting – Paid hosting offers you more control of your website, and due to aggressive competition great hosting can be found for around $10 a month. With these services, there is a bit of an expectation that you have to know what you’re doing and may be a better choice if you’re planning to hire a web developer.
  • How to design your website
    • WYSIWYG – Some of the well known free sites have built-in themes or templates you can use. Sites like and are well known for their ease of use. Using these sites, you won’t have your own domain name. Also, keep in mind you might be required to display targeted ads on your site which may have a “spammy” feel, and the preset templates give your site an unprofessional or amateur look.
    • Templates / Wordpress – If you’re willing to learn a bit about website design a good entry point with lots of learning resources are website templates. Many are built on the Wordpress platform which can be pre-loaded for free with most paid hosting sites. Sites like and even have lower priced Wordpress only hosting available.
    • Hire a Web Designer – If you’d rather not deal with the hassle of learning how to design a website you can easily find a freelance web designer. Important things to look for are a track record of successfully completed projects and experience with restaurant websites. While you may be tempted to find a kid who knows a thing or two, it’s highly advised you pay a little more for someone who’s doing it professionally. and both feature web and graphic designers who work for peanuts but produce professional results. Although, beware YMMV.

Have Fun!

Always remember to have fun with your website and tailor it to the needs of your guests. After all, the whole point is to help new food lovers find your restaurant online and give your regulars an easy way to keep in touch with you.
Now you know why it’s so important to have a restaurant website!