We at WisdmLabs have encountered many requirements from clients or potential clients who want to set up a restaurant directory website. The one thing that has remained common across all the clients is that while they have a basic idea of what they need in the website ,the nuances – which will make the website a great restaurant directory – are often missed.
In order that you do not miss these nuances while setting up a restaurant directory website it is critical to understand what would be the features various users of the website- (website admin, visitors looking to add a directory listing, visitors searching for restaurants) -will look out for in your website. Once that clarity has been gained from the perspective of these users you could consider half your work done. If a restaurant directory website is what you are thinking of setting up, then the below features – which have been amalgamated from the point of view of the users – are sure to help you….100%!!!!
Must Have Features for Your Restaurant Directory Website
1. Responsive Design
- One must have feature for your restaurant directory website is that it should be responsive. Users should be presented with a refined website experience across a wide range of devices such as mobile phones, laptops, desktop, tablets etc.
- The nature of a restaurant directory website makes it imperative for information to be available to users on the go. Owing to this the likelihood of a user visiting the website from a mobile device is just as much as as that of a user visiting the website from a desktop. If these aspects are to be considered then a responsive design becomes essential.
2. User Profiles
- Users who register to the website should be categorized according to their roles. For example users who exclusively visit the website for information on restaurants should be categorized as visitors. This is essential in order to make pages available on the website based on user level. You wouldn’t want the website visitors to have access to pages that allow you to add listing to the directory right? So for the sake of security which is of utmost importance, user roles should be defined based on access levels.
3. Front end Submission of Listings
- Users should be allowed to submit a listing to the directory from the front end. This is important to make the system easy to use as adding a listing from the front end would definitely be easier than adding a listing from the dashboard.
- Additionally, this attribute will allow restaurant owners to add a listing of their restaurant on their own. This would largely take of the load of adding listings to the website from the website admin.
- A user interface should be developed separately using which users can add listings to the website from the front end.
4. Admin Approval for Listings
- In the previous point I mentioned that restaurant owners should be able to add listings from the front end as this would be simpler for the website admin. But one thing to remember here is that with every pro comes a con.
- Allowing website users to add listings to the directory could sometimes lead to spam listings to be added to the website. Addition of such content on the website could affect a visitors view of the website and thus its popularity.
- In order to avoid such a situation the admin should be allowed to approve a listing before it is published on the website. So, now when a user adds a restaurant to the directory listings, it will be sent to admin for approval. The content will be published once the admin has approved the entry.
- Also there should be a way to notify the admin about pending approval as genuine entries should not be held back for long.
5. Listings Editable by Admin
- In the previous feature we discussed a feature to review and approve an entry to the directory. There might be a possibility that while an admin wants to approve a listing he does not want to do it before he edits the content. If that’s the case then he should be allowed to do so as such a small aspect should not be a hindrance in publishing an entry in the directory.
6. Subscription to Add Listings
- The thing about features in a restaurant directory website is that one feature leads to another. In continuation to the the third and fourth features is the feature of subscription plans to add a listing. While, I am adding this feature 4th to the list of must haves I would like to put this feature in the beginning of this list. The reason that, this is the feature that will help you generate revenue…after all that is the main point of this website right?
- Website users should be provided with various subscription plans to choose from if they want to add a listing to the website. These plans would include the service charge to list a restaurant in the directory for a particular duration. An example of a subscription plan would be – $50 for a duration of 3 months.Well this is just an example you can have subscription plans based on your requirements.
7. Restaurant Review and Rating System
- If Subscription Plans to Add a Listings is something I want first on the list then Restaurant Review and Rating System is a feature I would prefer to have second on the list. But then again I have decided to follow a logical order to keep up the flow for you!
- A review and rating system would allow the users to add a review or rate a restaurant they have already visited. The review will be based on various parameters such as food, service, decor, cost etc.
- Its simple, reviews –> trust –> increased visitors –> increased listing –> increased business for you…..and the process continues!!! Basic purpose has been achieved right. Now you understand why I want it second on the list of must haves?
8. Advanced Search Options
- Visitors who visit your restaurant directory website primarily to search for restaurants should be provided with advanced search options to improve their experience on your website.
- Advanced options such as search based on location of restaurant, cuisines offered by the restaurant, cost of a meal in the restaurant etc.
- Such search options will provide the users with a an improved experience on the website leading to an increased popularity and repeat visitors.
9. Option to Upload Restaurant Menu
- One attribute that visitors of a restaurant directory website are often interested in is the restaurant’s menu. Very often the visitors decide on a restaurant depending on the menu items. Hence, from the point of view of a user who visits the website for the directory listings an option should be provided to add a restaurant’s menu in a directory listing.
10. Payment Gateway
- If while reading the post you had one question on your mind about the means through which you will rake in the moolah then here is your answer. You should have a secure payment gateway such as PayPal, Stripe etc integrated with your website.
The fundamental idea while finalizing on features for your restaurant directory website is to increase the website’s popularity and thereby the business. So with every feature that is added to the website the question you should ask yourself is how will this feature help me enhance the website’s outreach? If you get a positive answer for every how that you ask you could assume you’re on the right path.
Apart from the must haves features there are some Good to Have features that I have on my mind. You can read more about these good to have features in the second part of this article.