Musings

Web Site For Local Restaurant in Devon: The Montpellier in Brixham

I’ve just finished a web site for a friend of mine who has taken over a restaurant in Brixham, Devon.

The Montpellier Restaurant is on Brixham harbour and offers light meals and drinks during the day and is open as an elegant restaurant in the evening. I felt the web site needed to emphasise the great location and surroundings and needed some good quality photos to entice people in for food and drink.

Many restaurant web sites are disappointing user experiences, with PDF food menus and uninspiring designs. The Montpellier web site design had to reflect the look of the restaurant, which is quite elegant with black, white and gold colours, and the web site logo had to look like the sign hanging outside the restaurant.

I wanted a full background image of Brixham harbour that changed during the day to reflect the changing menu. I used two photos of the harbour and a great photo of Brixham at night. A simple piece of JavaScript changes the CSS depending on the time of day.

The Montpellier Restaurant in Brixham, Devon

What a restaurant web site should tell you

When I visit a restaurant web site, the main things I want to know are:

  • What the food is like
  • Where it is
  • How to contact them
  • Whether it is any good!

The top of the homepage has a slideshow that scrolls through some photos of the restaurant and its food and drink so visitors quickly get an idea of what the place is like. Below that is a personalised, friendly message from the staff that welcomes visitors to the site with clear contact details.

The Montpellier has lots of good reviews on TripAdvisor.co.uk so I created an animated ticker tape that scrolls through some customer reviews. Below this a Google Map clearly shows visitors how to get to the restaurant.

Local mobile searches

With local searches being so important to small businesses like this one and many people using mobile devices to search for places to eat, the site had to work well on different size displays.
The Montpellier Restaurant in Brixham, Devon

I decided WordPress would be a suitable CMS because it is fairly easy for novices to use, allowing restaurant staff to change the food and drink menu themselves if they wanted. I created my own custom theme based upon this OneExtraPixel article that has several CSS breakpoints. These breakpoints alter the display of the page depending on the width of the browser window. This allowed me to move the left hand side menus below the main content on narrow devices and to style the main navigation menu differently on mobiles.

The Montpellier Restaurant in Brixham, Devon

The Montpellier Restaurant in Brixham, Devon

jQuery accordion and photo gallery

The food and drink menus are quite long and different menus are available at different times of the day. I used a sliding vertical accordion to avoid displaying too much content to visitors at once on the restaurant menu page and this also works well on mobile devices where visitors will not want to scroll too much.

The photo gallery page shows lots of great pictures in a Google+ way using a nifty WordPress plugin. Finally, the restaurant needed to promote its holiday apartments and venue hire so I created a couple of pages for this and a contact page form.

Social media for marketing

Social media should be a really important way to promote a local business like this so Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram accounts were set-up for the restaurant. People love to tell their friends where they are going out for the evening and to post pictures of their food and drink so creating a positive image of the restaurant using social media can be a powerful marketing tool. If someone has 100 Facebook friends and posts a great picture of eating in the restaurant then they are doing your marketing for you!

Twitter can also be a powerful tool, for example the restaurant could turn a late cancellation into a special discounted offer with a tweet that their followers could re-tweet.

I also designed a set of business cards with the restaurant logo and address on one side and the web site address and TripAdvisor.co.uk details on the other.

With a web site and integrated social media accounts, business cards, themontpellierbrixham.com email addresses, Google Analytics and Adwords accounts, the restaurant now has everything they need to effectively market their business online.