Eating into Restaurant & Recipe Web Design: 50+ Mouth Watering Websites
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.
Restaurants & Stores
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.
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.
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.
More Examples of Restaurant & Store Websites
Fast Food Restaurants
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.
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.
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.
More Examples of Fast Food Websites
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:
Enter your meal on this app and track calories and view nutritional information from a wide variety of restaurants.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More Great Examples of Product Website Designs
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.
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.
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.
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.
More Examples of Recipe Websites
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!