Restaurant Website Builders: Are they worth it?

6 Reasons Not To Use Restaurant Website Builders

We’ve spoken a lot recently about what a great restaurant website looks like and the need for restaurant websites to be mobile responsive. But that doesn’t mean just any website will do. I know that some restaurant owners, for instance, will have started Googling “restaurant website builders” after reading both posts to find the cheapest solution.

While sites like Wix and Squarespace may seem like they offer an inexpensive solution, they do not provide an effective solution. And, in truth, these sites may cost you a lot more in the long run than a website built by a proper web designer.


What are Restaurant Website Builders?

A restaurant website builder is a software tool that allows you to create a website for your business. You can use a website builder to construct a website without knowing how to code. These have a drag-and-drop interface that is simple to use and provides a great deal of versatility and customizability.

Here are some popular website creators used for restaurant websites:

  • Squarespace
  • Wix
  • Bentobox
  • Weebly
  • Webflow
  • Popmenu
  • Spoton

Is it Worth Using a Website Builder?

The primary reason that freelancers and small business owners use website builders is to rapidly get a website up and running without investing a lot of time or money. However, they overlook the crucial fact that the website must perform for the business in order to fulfill the objective for which it was created.

What should be the objective of a restaurant website?

A well designed and “functional” website helps drive customers and revenue for your business. The main objectives of the restaurant website should be:

  • Engagement with guests
  • Attract new customers for your business
  • Conversion: turn online visitors to transactions

Do you want to know how to create an amazing restaurant website? Learn about the main features that make a successful restaurant website.

Read ARTICLE ON “5 must-have features for every restaurant website

Website builders fail to meet the business objectives when it comes to restaurant websites. Sure, some website builders generate some stunning designs, but what good is a website if it isn’t generating revenue for the company?


Why You Shouldn’t Use A Website Builder?

Here are the reasons why you should not use restaurant website builders. Just one of these reasons alone should be enough for restaurant owners to avoid any one of them, all of them combined should send restaurateurs running for the hills.

1. They are bad for SEO

This is perhaps the biggest issue with restaurant website creators. They are terrible when it comes to ranking in Google—even though they sell themselves as being SEO-friendly. There are a couple of reasons why a website built using a website builder isn’t likely to rank well in Google. For one, these builders tend to spit out a jumble of code because of the way they let users customize their sites.

While these may allow users to create the site they want, the masses of code tends to lead to poor on-page structure which can slow the website down significantly. There’s nothing you can do to improve the code of your website to make it faster, either. And there won’t be much opportunity to optimize your website’s on-page SEO apart from changing page titles. That means no structured data or Facebook pixel. In short, you get a good looking website but one that may never rank well in Google. When one of the reasons to have a website in the first place is to get more traffic from Google, a restaurant built using a website builder fails at its primary purpose.

2. Your restaurant is unique; your website won’t be

You pride yourself on the quality of your food and the beauty of your restaurant. It’s what sets you apart from your competitors and makes you unique. But if you use a site built by a website builder, you will be using the same template as thousands of other restaurants.

What does that say about your restaurant? It certainly doesn’t scream amazing unique experience. If anything it says we don’t care about our brand and we may not care about your experience. If you’re an independent restaurant using a website builder, you’re no better than a chain restaurant.

3. Your site may not be mobile-first optimized

If you’ve read the other posts on our blog, you don’t need us to tell you the importance of having a mobile-friendly website. But there’s no guarantee you’ll get one if you use a restaurant website builder. Even if it looks good on one mobile device, it may not be built to look great on them all.

If the code isn’t optimized (as we’ve already discussed it isn’t), then Google and other search engines may struggle to crawl the website. And because Google is putting more emphasis on mobile usability, that could mean even lower rankings.

4. You don’t get the support you need

What happens if your website stops working or part of it breaks? The matter could be resolved in less than an hour if you used a web design agency. But if you use a website builder, you could be the one having to work out how to fix the problem.

Or you could be on hold for hours on the phone. Or you could be waiting for days for a reply to your email. In short, if something goes wrong or you need to change something, you’re on the hook for it. And as a busy restaurant owner, that is probably the last thing you want.

5. Limited functionality – your site may not do everything you want

Do you want to be able to take online orders through your website? How about integrating OpenTable so that customers can reserve a table? If you use a website builder, it is doubtful that your website will be able to have this functionality.

And if it does have it, it probably won’t work well. That’s because websites built using website builders are meant to be basic. They aren’t meant to be used by forward-thinking restaurants who want to get the most out of their website. And because you are just one customer in a million, you aren’t going to get the functionality enabled that you need.

6. You can’t grow or change your website

Build your restaurant’s website with a website builder, and you’re stuck with it. It may not have a Content Management System (CMS), which means you won’t be able to add or edit the pages you create. It also means you won’t be able to add new content such as blog posts to grow your traffic and attract new customers.

7. You do not own the website

Worse, still, however, is the fact that you could be stuck using your website builder for the rest of the time you are in business. Websites built using Wix and Squarespace are notoriously difficult (and sometimes impossible) to migrate. In fact, you won’t actually own the website. You will just be renting it from Wix or Squarespace. These companies do this on purpose so that you have to keep paying the monthly fee. What is the point in paying for a website that you don’t own and can’t change?

Hint: there isn’t one!


What Can Restaurant Owners Do Instead?

Hopefully, you understand why we believe you shouldn’t use a website builder to create your new site. It’s not just us, either. There are dozens of articles on Google that will tell you the same thing. What can restaurant owners do instead, then?

A. Build on WordPress CMS

WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS software, and it powers around 43% of all websites on the internet. You cannot go wrong building your restaurant website on WordPress for the following reasons:

  • It’s free. The WordPress platform is open-source and is entirely free to use.
  • It’s highly flexible and customizable. Many themes and plugins options are available to expand the website functionality.
  • It’s a scalable platform to meet the needs of the business as it grows There’s no need to migrate to a different platform once the website takes off.
  • It’s relatively easy to use to create beautiful, fully functional websites using only the graphical user interface.

B. Hire Professional Website Designer

Use a trusted restaurant web design agency to create your website. You will get a much, much better experience and a much better end product. When you use a proper agency, you will:

  • Actually own your website outright
  • Get a great looking unique website built to rank in Google
  • Support for at least a year and probably a lot longer
  • Have a website that works on all smartphones
  • Get expert advice and support along the way

Conclusion

Restaurant owners who want their website to be a tool to grow their business should invest in a well-designed and fully functional wordpress website built by a professional web designer, instead of going the cheap route with website builders for restaurants.

If you need a new website and you don’t want to use a restaurant website builder, get in touch with a member of our team today. We’ll be able to walk you through the entire process, providing you with expert guidance on what you need and a custom quote at the end of it