Whenever I go to out to dinner, I probably already know what I'm going to order.

Call me impatient, but I just can’t resist checking out the menu online beforehand.

A way to showcase creativity and inspire cravings, a good restaurant website can enhance the dining experience before you’ve even sat down to eat.

Here are eight examples to drool over...

Dinner by Heston

Known for his experimental take on food, Blumenthal's Dinner by Heston website evokes the serious business of gastronomy. 

A full-page background video gives the site a sensory feel, while clever copywriting breaks down the name and concept.

Like with most celebrity chefs, it's likely that people visit the restaurant because of the famous name.

Consequently, the personal voice of Heston is a nice touch, and offers further incentive to visit.

Zizzi

One of the most creative chain restaurant websites out there, Zizzi is a colourful contrast to the above example.

Zizzi is all about family and fun, and these characteristics are conveyed with playful visuals and interactive elements.

Further reflecting the 'social eating' theme, there are also nods to the brand's social media presence.

Like most chains, it also includes nutritional information and lots of calls-to-action on its bright, easy-to-navigate menu.

Bao

Bao's website is beautifully simple - a reflection of the restaurant's humble approach to food.

Instead of a menu, there is merely an explanation of the main dish.

With its less-is-more approach, Bao's website serves to intrigue more than entice.

Using social media to offer more information on the food and behind-the-scenes goings-on, it shrewdly plays up to the 'must-visit' hype.

Pho

Like Zizzi, Pho uses bright visuals to bring its brand to life.

Recognising that chains can feel overly-commercial compared to independent restaurants, it promotes authenticity by telling a personal story.

With the contrasting nature of quirky illustrations and photography, the menu is both engaging and fun.

Dishoom

It's easy to assume that the pared-down nature of Dishoom's landing page is a reflection of the whole website. 

However, the subtle 'All Welcome' button leads the user to a surprising amount of engaging and valuable content.

 

Inspired by the old Irani cafe's of Bombay, Dishoom uses its digital space to bring to life the sights and sounds of the eating experience.

By calling what any other brand might call a blog a 'Journal', it cleverly evokes a sense of history and authenticity.

Using storytelling to great effect, it means the user is likely to get lost in the website rather than check one page and leave.

 

Jamie Oliver's Fifteen

With its understated background and subtle typography, the food is what really stands out on Fifteen's website.

Likewise, the decision to include all information on one-page (as well as the option to click on the header) means that it creates a pleasingly smooth scrolling experience.

A simple design, yet it proves that restaurant websites don't always need to be jam-packed full of content.

Max Brenner Chocolate Dessert Bar

Max Brenner describes its offering as a "chocolate sensory immersion that encourages you to open your mind about how you connect with chocolate".

Unsurprisingly, its website is a similarly indulgent experience.

Chock-full of tantalising imagery, it showcases its main ingredient to great effect.

With an added retail offering, it also promotes its products seamlessly thoughout the site.

The only thing that's missing is the option to actually buy online.

Burger and Lobster

The website for Burger and Lobster is impressive in both design and attention to detail.

With all content built onto just one page, it works by moving the user onto different sections depending on where they click.

While there is no need to include a menu (with just two very obvious dishes to choose from), it replaces it with an FAQ section instead.

It's rare for restaurants to experiment with a humorous tone of voice, so this makes for a refreshing approach.

For more on topics like this one, check out the following articles:

Food & Drink is just one of the sectors covered at the Festival of Marketing 2016, which takes place in London on October 5-6.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 16 August, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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