Eating into Restaurant & Recipe Web Design: 50+ Mouth Watering Websites

by in Inspiration on 18th Feb 2010 · Comments

The food industry is one of the largest categories of business in the world. While taste is generally the main focus, design & appearance are just as important when it comes to showcasing products, restaurants and recipe websites. There are also an abundance of food bloggers or “foodies” in cyberspace that provide a wide variety of delicious recipes and beautiful photographs of the food.

Here are over 50 examples of successful food focused website designs by category & the trends seen within each.

Eating into Restaurant & Recipe Web Design: 50+ Mouth Watering Websites

Restaurants & Stores

Unique Personality

In the examples below, there is one trend that stands out; personality. Each of these stores and restaurants are entirely different. They may have a completely different atmosphere from fun and family friendly, to elegant and professional. As seen in the Guy Savoy website, you’ll see the simplicity and subtleties of the food displayed when you hover over portions of the site. Elegance is often portrayed in a simple manner without overwhelming the viewer and leaves room for imagination.

The introduction video is another great example of providing your viewer a "taste" of what your business has to offer. It shows all the fresh ingredients that go into the meals, and encourage you to visit the restaurant for the end result and to experience Guy Savoy’s ambiance.

Guy Savoy
Guy Savoy

Photography Focus

The type or category of food often shows in the graphics as well. In the French Meadow Bakery website, you’ll see the use of natural, subdued colors. The products are healthy and organic as such the designer chose colors that are naturally occurring. They also do a great job of portraying the high quality of their products. The graphical elements used to do this are adequate white space, a clean and neutral background and limiting the number of different fonts used on the site. These elements allow the product and photography to take center stage, providing a high-quality atmosphere.

French Meadow Bakery
French Meadow Bakery

Online Reservations

Square One Bistro and Chez Gérard offer online reservations on their websites. A great way to cut back on the amount of calls received in the afternoon and a way to attract customers to your website for easy reservations.

Square One Bistro
Restaurant Squareone

Chez Gérard
Restaurant Chezgerard

More Examples of Restaurant & Store Websites

Souplantation
Souplantation

Silver Hills Bakery
Silvers Hills

Culinaria
Restaurant Culinaria

Carino’s Italian
Carinos Italian

Wolfgang Puck
Wolfgang Puck

Jamie’s Italian
Jamies Italian

Noodles & Company
Noodles

Spring Hill
Restaurant Springhill

Entenmann’s
Entenmanns

4th Street Cookie
4th Street Cookie

Café Yumm
Cafe Yumm

Fast Food Restaurants

Printable Coupons

KFC does an excellent job of highlighting their printable coupons giving their customers another reason to visit their website and their restaurants. This is a great way to attract repeat visitors and compete with other fast food joints.

KFC
Fastfood KFC

Catering

Qdoba and The Villager offer catering and highlights why and how their customers can go about having an event catered. They make it easy to plan a meal online without even having to make a phone call.

Qdoba
Fastfood Qdoba

The Villager
The Villager

Order Online

Can’t leave the office for too long a period of time? Need to put in an order for your whole department and have trouble keeping track of everyone’s orders? Chipotle offers online ordering with ease which is a great asset for any fast food restaurant website.

Chipotle
Chipotle

More Examples of Fast Food Websites

Long John Silvers
Fastfood Long John Silvers

Jamba Juice
Jamba Juice

A & W
Fastfood AW

The Noodle Box
Fastfood Noodle Box

Stearns Coffee
Fastfood Stearn Coffee

Tijuana Flats
Restaurant Tijuana Flats

Restaurant IPhone Apps

The one downside to including interactive and flash in a restaurant’s website is that it can be incredibly difficult to view on a mobile device. App developers for Apple’s iPhone have come up with many apps that help solve the problem of viewing restaurant websites on a small screen. Instead, you are able to view the essential elements, such as contact information, location, menus and customer reviews directly on your phone.

Here are some examples:

Restaurant Nutrition App
Fastfood iPhoneapp

Enter your meal on this app and track calories and view nutritional information from a wide variety of restaurants.

Local Eats
is the perfect app if you’re looking for unique restaurants that are neither a franchise nor a chain. It’s also a great app for those who love to travel and like to try new things.

Restaurant iPhone App

Dinner Spinner
iPhone App All Recipes

The Dinner Spinner from Allrecipes is great for those looking for recipe ideas on the fly.

Foodie Sites and Blogs

Step-by-Step Photography & Simplification

In a few of the examples shown here, there is a focus on step-by-step photography. There are many food lovers with a talent for photography. Mentioned earlier, food based designs are often driven by beautiful, flawless photography. To achieve a focus on photography, the design elements are limited and simplified. Most of the colors are found in the photography, rather than the graphics. Each of the websites below has a white background and utilizes white space beautifully. If the background was anything but white, the photography would lose its punch.

It’s difficult to design with a "less-is-more" attitude, but it is a successful method when featuring food & recipes.

Quite Curious
Quite Curious

Food Gawker
Food Gawker

Smitten Kitchen
Smitten Kitchen

Kitchen Simplicity
Kitchen Simplicity

Bakerella
Bakerella

Cannelle Et Vanille
Cannelle Et Vanille

Food Products

Solve Problems

When viewing these examples, you should have one question in your mind: “How can this product improve my life?” All of these designs are centered on the product and the problem it can solve for its consumers. The difference you’ll see when compared with the foodie website designs is that the photography isn’t the only focus. Marketing the product takes center stage over the photography.

If you take a look at the Stouffer, it focuses on families and how their product is comparable to a home-cooked meal, as lasagna and macaroni are often easy to make in large quantities. Th keyword is easy here. Every element on the website is focused on making meals easier for families. The article search is very intuitive to use and the options are targeting on the ways they can make their customer’s life easier. These types of retailers can’t give their customers an experience like a physical store or restaurant can. Granted their online experience can be fantastic, but it is still different from getting a real-life experience.

Stouffer
Stouffers

Horizontal Navigation

Another trend seen in food product websites is the navigation. A horizontal-styled navigation system is used by nearly all of these examples with a search field in the upper right-hand corner.

Buitoni
Buitoni

Hersheys
Hersheys

Truvia
Truvia

Flash Slideshows

Flash slideshows with fading transitions are often used in food product web designs to optimize the hero space. In a few of these examples, we see a focus on different key elements within each of these slides. Those that are food specific are the showcasing of detailed ingredients, how the products fit into current events (IE: Super Bowl parties, family dinners etc.) and recipes you can make with the product.

Smucker’s
Smuckers

Orville Redenbacher
Orville Reenbachers

Classico
Classico

Planters
Planters

Scharffen Berger
Scharffen Berger

Games & Entertainment

Popsicle’s website is inviting for both children and adults. In the featured example below, they engage with children, their primary target market, by including fun games, similar to what they do with their packaging. Including games, free downloads (screen savers, desktops) and message boards are wonderful ways to interact with customers and keep them engaged and encourage them to come back.

Popsicle
Popsicle

Starburst
Starburst

Ben & Jerry’s
Ben and Jerrys

Tabasco
Tabasco

More Great Examples of Product Website Designs

Hebrew National
Hebrew National

Antoine Amrani Chocolates
Antoine Amrani Chocolates

Snapple
Snapple

Lovin’ Scoopful
Lovin Scoop

Mezzetta
Mezzetta

Recipe Websites

Organization

Organization is the key when designing a successful recipe website. Looking at Cooking Light’s website, there is an incredible amount of information organized beautifully and logically. The navigation system (both the main navigation & the footer) offers different categories, ways to search for recipes and even incorporates the current holidays and events that one might be cooking for.

Beautiful Photography

Photography is very important when viewers are trying out the recipes. It’s good to have an end result in mind when taking on a new recipe.

Product Coupons

One thing I really enjoyed was the incorporation of grocery coupons on a right-hand side bar of Cooking Light’s website (viewable on a single recipe page). This is a great way for advertisers to promote their products while adding value to the website.

Cooking Light
Cooking Light

Searching

These sites also tend to use bright colors to help guide the user. In the My Recipes example, they put a big emphasis on their search bar by using orange to highlight the search button. It is also placed directly above the hero image centered on the page to bring even more attention to it.

Printable Recipe Cards

My Recipes, like many other recipe websites, is very user friendly when it comes to printing out the recipes for later use. You have the ability to automatically print recipe cards in the size of your choosing.

My Recipes
My Recipes

More Examples of Recipe Websites

Cook’s Illustrated
Cooks Illustrated

Allrecipes
All Recipes

Nibbledish
Nibbledish

Eating Time!

What foods make your mouth water? Do you design for clients in the food industry? If so, what are trends you’ve seen on the web? Feel free to share your knowledge and expertise with all of us!

Sarah Lynn is the owner of Sarah Lynn Design. A web designer and creative who digs pixels, paint & blogging. Her day consists of creating & designing email campaigns, soaking up CSS knowledge, building better user interfaces & websites and even the occasional print project.