Shopify for Restaurants: A Recipe for Your Business Success
You may be thinking: Do I even need a website for my restaurant?
After all, social media is the name of the game these days, and delivery apps dominate local delivery markets, so why bother, right? Well, it’s not that simple.
According to Deloitte’s Future of Restaurants survey, 40% of consumers prefer to order food through a direct channel, like a restaurant’s website or app, and only 13% prefer to order through third-party delivery apps.
What’s more, a study of the restaurant industry by PYMNTS found that 62% of consumers discover restaurants on Google and not on social media. This means that a websites have a place in the restaurant business online, alongside other channels like Instagram and Google Business Page.
If you don’t know where to start, this article will walk you through the process of creating a Shopify restaurant website and provide some useful tips on how to be successful with it.
Sounds good? Let’s jump in!
How to set up and optimize Shopify for your Restaurant
Adding a restaurant website to the list of your online assets is a great step that can improve your online food ordering and serve as another channel of communication and revenue - possibly your primary channel eventually. Here’s how you can do it with Shopify.
1. Register for a Shopify account
The first thing you have to do when creating a Shopify for restaurants is register on the platform. When registering, you’ll be prompted to answer a couple of questions about your business.
Based on the answers, Shopify will personalize the features they suggest to you. There aren’t any specific answers for restaurant owners yet - but don’t let that deter you. Simply indicate you’re ‘selling in person’ and skip the rest.
After you register with your email address or another preferred method, you’ll have to choose a payment plan. You can get the first few months with Shopify almost for free — $1 per month for the first three months.
After that, it’s best to start with the Basic plan. It costs $32 per month ($24 per month if you pay annually) and has all the features a Shopify restaurant might need.
The only thing that makes the next tier better for restaurants is more advanced analytics. The analytics page in the Basic plan will show you all the general metrics, like total sales numbers and returns, as well as compare them across different months, POS locations, traffic channels, and more.
But if you need a more detailed sales report, you’ll need to upgrade to the Shopify plan, which costs $92 per month. However, we recommend starting with the basic plan, and then seeing if you need additional features later on.
2. Select a Theme for Your Shopify Restaurant
Once you’ve created your store and given it a name, Shopify will prompt you to add your first product. But it’s best to start with choosing a theme first.
Your website has to look nice to appeal to new clients. This can partly be achieved on your end by adding great photography, but it’s also important to choose the right theme.
Go to the admin panel of your website, then go to Sales Channels > Online Store > Themes and click on Visit theme store.
In the theme store, filter the list by industry to see all the themes that would fit a restaurant's Shopify website.
There are lots of great free themes to choose from. If you want something a little more specific you can choose a paid theme - the average price is around $200 a theme as a one-time payment.
Once you’ve settled on a theme, you can customize it however you want. To do that, go to Sales Channels > Online Store > Themes, and click on the Customize button below your active theme.
In this panel, you’ll be able to change the typography, layout of pages, and more. If you want more advanced customization for your Shopify store, you can hire a developer to create the exact design and functionality you want.
But for most restaurant and food businesses, the free stock themes and paid themes are perfectly capable of covering your needs - with a homepage, product pages, menu category pages, an about us page, a contact pages, blogs, checkout pages and more.
3. Create your store’s pages
Typically, Shopify ecommerce stores create a page for each product that they sell. But for a Shopify restaurant website, that’s not necessary.
Chances are, users won’t be able to find you on the search engine result pages by the names of the dishes you’re serving (the results typically showcase recipe pages for these terms).
Most likely, they’re going to find you by searching for the restaurant name or type of cuisine you specialize in (e.g. ‘Italian restaurant near me’ or ‘Best pizza in Atlanta’)
This means there’s no need for product pages. What you need instead is these pages or sections:
- Brief about us section that explains your history and mission
- Contact information, address, phone, and working hours
- Discounts and promotions
- Delivery/ pick up page
You can either dedicate a separate page for each of these points or combine all of them as sections of a large home page.
However, it’s best to have more than a single page if you want to use the website for SEO purposes and not just as a way for users from other channels to check out your menu.
When you’re creating pages with search engine optimization in mind, it’s important to do two crucial things to improve their search visibility. Firstly, you have to do keyword research and find keywords that are relevant to your restaurant business.
Most likely, those are going to be your business name, local keywords, and keywords focused on the cuisine you serve. You can find these keywords with a specialized tool (such as Ahrefs) and include them on your pages and in your pages meta-data to make it easier to find them on Google.
Then, you need to optimize your pages for search. You can examine the page’s metadata, URL structure, content, images, keywords, links, speed, etc., and spot all the mistakes with the SE Ranking On-page Checker. This tool can scan your Shopify website and assess it for best practices of on-page optimization.
It then suggests a list of things you can fix to improve your website.
If all this SEO talk seems complicated - don’t worry. It can take weeks (or months) for your website to rank in the search engine results. You can always come back to it (or hire an expert) to help you, once your restaurant’s website is up and running.
4. Create Your Shopify Restaurant Menu
Your next step is to create a good-looking menu. This part of your Shopify restaurant determines how well patrons can understand what you serve and may contribute to increased sales if done correctly.
There are multiple ways to create a menu on a restaurant website, but many of them seem to underperform. Some restaurants put their menu on the site as an image or a PDF file.
This method looks great, but large image sizes may slow down your site. And they don’t leave much room for change. If you have to change a menu item, you’ll have to change the whole image. A better way of putting your menu out there is in a text format like this.
This way, you can change menu items with a few clicks in the Shopify admin panel.
To make this even better, you could add photos of your meals to entice customers to order online or make a reservation.
You can have those photos taken separately or repurpose social media photos you might have. Make sure not to use photos taken by customers, as you want the quality of the photos on the menu to be similar.
One way of presenting high-quality photos is by adding a separate page for each menu item.
This, however, might be a bit too time-consuming to manage. You could also add your menu items to a list with small photos like this.
Each menu item can be shown to the users in a small popup.
Apart from the most important parts of the menu, like photos, price, and ingredients, it’s a good practice to add small details like the availability of the dish, allergens, or vegan options.
5. Configure Local pickup and delivery
The Shopify delivery system is mostly geared toward ecommerce businesses. For a restaurant business, you’ll have to configure it a bit to work well.
Go to your store settings, then to the Shipping and Delivery section, and scroll down to local pickup and delivery. Activate the options that you can offer to your customers. You’ll have to add your store location and the zone in which you offer delivery,
If the native Shopify fulfilment method isn’t right for you, you might want to use a Shopify app. There are around 300 apps that help with local pickup and delivery on the marketplace, with affordable pricing and free plans widely available.
Regardless of the method you prefer, be sure to test it out first to see whether it works correctly when ordering food for restaurant delivery or pickup, and educate your staff on how to use the system.
6. Configure Your Payment Method
Now, you’re nearing the final steps of setting up a Shopify restaurant ordering system. The last major component is configuring your payment options. To make online payments available in Shopify, you’ll have to add your billing information and the billing methods.
By default, users can pay with PayPal, and you can activate Shopify Payments to take payments with credit cards or use one of the many providers that work with major credit card issuers.
Note that they might charge fees that don’t depend on Shopify.
While configuring the payment system, don’t forget to activate the Payment on Delivery option for local delivery and add the option to tip. You can do the latter in the Checkout section of your Shopify store admin panel.
7. Set-up Your Custom Domain
By default, your Shopify store will be hosted on a subdomain name like your-restaurant.myshopify.com. Although that’s not a very fitting name for a fine dining establishment, it’s a crucial part of making it easier for users to find your restaurant online.
You can buy a domain name directly on Shopify. To do that, head over to the main page of the admin panel and click on Add a custom domain. An average domain name will set you back $15 per year.
You can shop around on platforms like GoDaddy to find deals for the domain that you want. You can typically get a 50%-70% discount for the first year. When you buy the domain, you can connect it to your site through the admin panel.
The Best Shopify Apps for Restaurants
Once you have created a Shopify store for your restaurant, you can install apps from the Shopify App Store to add more features to your site. Here’s a short list of what you may be interested in.
1. ReConvert Upsell & Cross-Sell
As a restaurant owner, you already know the power of upselling customers. Adding a starter, sodas, fries, a side salad, a bottle of wine or dessert to a customer's order can massively boost the profitability of the order.
ReConvert brings this functionality to your store. For stores on Shopify’s regular plans, ReConvert does this in two ways - with one-click upsells and thank you page upsells.
So imagine a customer has just placed an order for a large pizza for pick-up. Using one click-upsells, you can immediately offer the customer a side and drink for 15% off the regular price.
Then using thank you page offers, you can suggest more complimentary items (for example a 10% coupon for their next order) on the order confirmation page.
This type of post-purchase upsells funnel, can tempt anywhere from 2-15% customers to spend more money in your online store, boosting your average order value and transforming your profit margin. Indispensable in an industry where margins are already tight.
2. Minta AI
As a restaurant owner, you’ve already got so many things on your plate. Social media is one area where lots of restaurants simply don’t have the time or resources to generate meaningful results.
Minta uses generative AI to create 1,000 of fully branded marketing videos for your restaurant. The app syncs with your Shopify restaurant store and instantly generates proven promotional videos that you can post to your social media accounts (Instagram, TikTok etc) and also to your ad accounts - if paid digital advertising is part of your marketing strategy.
Plus, you can use Minta to schedule posts in advance, and have the app auto-post your content at times when it’s most likely to engage your audience. It’s like having an in-house creative and social media marketing team at a fraction of the cost.
3. We're Closed by Garoo.
We’re closed is a simple app that will automatically stop Shopify restaurant ordering when you close your business. This is an easy way to avoid unnecessary refunds. The app costs just $3.99/mo and can save you a number of headaches.
4. Shopify POS
If you want to be serious about migrating to Shopify, you might as well use a Shopify point of sale. It’s a simple app that is free to use and allows you to synchronize in-store orders, deliveries, and pick-ups in one accounting and reporting system.
Shopify sends you out a card reader (costs may apply) - which allows you to take payments in person at your restaurant’s locations. This means you can unify all of your payments under Shopify, keep track of your finances and access their powerful analytics tools.
5. Plobal Mobile App Builder
While a website is one of the main avenues of business discovery, it’s far from the only way to interact with a business. While some restaurant goers might prefer to interact with you through social media or a website, others might prefer an app.
Hiring a team of specialists to create an app for your restaurant business could cost you more than $20,000. For many restaurants, that’s way over budget. But with Shopify, you can cut down on costs and develop an iOS or Android app with the help of Shopify applications.
An app like Plobal Mobile App Builder can help you create your restaurant app with a drag-and-drop builder. It may not be as customizable as an app that costs tens of thousands of dollars to develop, but it will serve all the main functions that you need for serving your clients well.
The pricing for the Plobal Mobile App Builder is $199, and other app builder apps on the Shopify App Store cost around the same.
Marketing Tips for Your Shopify Restaurant Store
Here’s a bonus tip! Apart from creating a website, there are a lot of things you can do to promote your restaurant online. Here’s a quick rundown of the best Shopify marketing strategies.
- Promote it on social media. Statistically, most traffic to your business will be generated from Google searches, but you can’t disregard platforms like Instagram or TikTok. People often discover new places to eat on these platforms, so create tasty-looking videos, and post them. If you run ads, make sure they’re targeted to users from the small area that you serve.
- Get people to subscribe to your newsletter. Email marketing is still the cheapest form of marketing, and all you have to do to get people to subscribe is offer a small discount for the subscription.
- Invest in SEO. A site won’t rank on its own — you have to at least do some keyword research and technical optimization. Then, focus on building links from business directories and review websites to your website.
- Build up your Google Business Profile. If the mentions pointing to your site have the same name, address, and phone number, and your GBP profile has a lot of pictures and reviews submitted by users, you’re likely to rank higher in local search.
The Benefits of Shopify for Restaurants
Let’s explore why a restaurant ecommerce website made with Shopify is a great idea for your business.
1. Improve search visibility
As more than half of consumers use Google to discover restaurants, not having a good website means losing customers on a daily basis. When you can put your restaurant on the search engine result pages, either for organic or local search, you’ll be seen by more people, and your traffic will increase together with the number of orders.
On top of that, depending on your location, running targeted local search ads doesn’t require a huge budget.
2. Boost sales
Since a website is one of the preferred ways of communicating with a business for many customers, it will inadvertently increase sales as well.
Consumers these days aren’t satisfied with only one way to interact with a business. Some people prefer to call, others prefer to browse menus or interactive posts on Instagram, and many prefer to check out the site, and perhaps make a delivery order.
This means having a website or an app developed with Shopify is a necessary addition to your sales channels.
3. Ease of use
Now, we’ve already established that you need a site. But do you need Shopify to create it?
Developing a custom website can cost a lot of money and may be harder to maintain, especially if you have a skeleton crew working in the marketing department. Shopify is just an easy alternative that performs incredibly well.
Starting at $32 per month, you’ll get stable hosting that won’t fail you during rush hour and a drag-and-drop site builder that you can use to build and customize your site however you please.
Shopify is the perfect balance of a ready-made solution and customizability. If you don't have any additional features, you can just develop a simple website with a menu, an address, and a phone number for reservations.
If you want to offer more to your customers, you can include anything from an automated newsletter with the latest promotions, to local delivery options or an upsell app. With hundreds of apps on the Shopify store, you can turn your website into anything you need to achieve your goals.
Besides, there are numerous successful Shopify websites that are worthy of close examination as a further source of inspiration.
Use Shopify for Your Restaurant Business Today!
Creating a website may seem like a hassle, but it’s more than worth it.
Websites tend to gather a lot more traffic than social media and don’t require you to constantly create content to keep your audience’s attention. They can be used to make a reservation online without having to make a phone call and to order local delivery or pickup.
So even if the initial stage of making your website look the way you want takes a few days, you’ll still end up with one of the most potent sales channels in your arsenal.
Shopify for Restaurants FAQ
Let's quickly cover some of the most commonly asked questions related to using Shopify for restaurants.
Is Shopify good for restaurants?
Yes, Shopify is a versatile platform that can be effectively used for restaurants. It offers features like online ordering, menu management, and integration with POS systems.
Is Shopify POS good for restaurants?
Yes, Shopify POS (Point of Sale) is suitable for restaurants. It provides tools for in-person sales, table management, and order tracking, making it a valuable asset for restaurant operations.
What are the best Shopify themes for restaurants?
Some popular Shopify themes for restaurants include 'Ella' by HaloThemes, 'Fastor' by RoarTheme, and 'Foodly' by BuddhaThemes. These themes are designed with restaurant-specific features and aesthetics.
How does Shopify work for restaurants?
Shopify for restaurants enables the creation of an online presence, allowing customers to browse menus, place orders, and make reservations. It integrates with POS systems for streamlined in-person operations.
Can Shopify be used for takeaways or restaurants?
Yes, Shopify is well-suited for takeaways and restaurants. It offers features like online ordering, menu customization, and integration with delivery services, making it an excellent choice for these businesses.