Learning from the Best Food Websites

Take a look at some of our favorite food websites.

Today we’re going to look at what some of the best food websites have in common. We’ll also look at unique things that certain food websites do uncommonly well. Most of us know that the food industry is massive, and while certain sectors excel at marketing, others have fallen behind.  Having spent a decade as a professional chef, the most common excuse I heard for not having a marketing budget in the food world is:

People gotta eat…

And yes, they’re technically correct. Even in a distant future where for hours or perhaps days at a time we upload our brains into robots, we’ll still eventually have to “unplug” and visit our kitchens. However, if we look at the saturation of restaurants, manufactured food brands, farmers markets and more… It seems like most of us have figured out that “people gotta eat” and just feeding someone no longer makes you special.

What am I talking about? Competition!

There may have been a time that opening a small cafe or selling your grandma’s famous jarred salsa to grocery stores was a fool-proof way to earn a living. In today’s world, 80% restaurants will close within five years of opening and smaller businesses that launch a food product only have an 11% chance of success. For food producers, it comes down to their ability to create an innovative product and to market that product both to grocery stores and to the consumer. For restaurants, location is the #1 driver of success and this next thing may surprise you: When it comes to determining whether a restaurant succeeds or fails, marketing is #2. Service quality is #3. Food quality sits at #4.

When considering the number of factors that can contribute to the success or failure of a food business, let’s keep in mind that even being in the “Top 5” of all factors is a big deal. So, don’t suddenly dump all of your money into #1 and #2 and throw the rest out — That won’t work!

Like anything, it’s about balance. Let’s look at some of the best food websites and identify some actionable ways that we can all emulate their success.

Best Food Websites: Yummly

The Best Food Websites: All About Yummly

Have you heard about Yummly? They’re kind of a big deal.

Not only did they win a 2016 Webby Award for People’s Voice: Best Food & Drink, they’ve created a truly innovative platform for sharing and creating curated collections of recipes. The website features a learning algorithm that suggests recipes based upon individual taste to millions of users. If you’re a food brand or restaurateur, you’re probably saying:

Yeah, great… What does this have to do with my business? How is this relevant?

Since 2010 they have grown beyond 15 million unique monthly users, making Yummly one of the fastest growing and best food websites. If you need to promote your business and you’re in the food world, this should make you sit up and pay attention. If millions of people are flocking to a food-based platform, it’s time to ask the hard question: Why?

  • The #1 selling point of Yummly is individually curated content.
  • It introduces a social element by giving users the ability to promote and save recipes.
  • It has an attractive and easy-to-use design.

If you’re a food brand that needs to build an online community, we recommend keeping an eye on Yummly.

If millions of people are flocking to a platform, it's time to ask the hard question: Why? Click To Tweet

Best Food Websites: Chipotle

The Best Food Websites: Rising From Failure

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Chipotle has had a bit of an image problem recently when it comes to food safety. I won’t bore you by repeating the same details all the major media outlets were talking about in late 2015 and early 2016. Suffice it to say, a lot of people all across the United States got food poisoning. This could have easily been the death knell for their company.

What is far more astonishing is what Chipotle is doing to recover from the bad publicity, including press releases, safety-focused advertising, and a dedicated food safety page on their website. The page outlines their renewed commitment to food safety and the eight major steps they’ve taken to improve safety in their restaurants. Sometimes showcasing what you’re best at even when you fail can be the most effective tactic in a business’s playbook.

The results? Today Chipotle’s not out of the woods completely, but are showing strong signs of recovery within about a  year of the crisis.

Best Food Websites: Jamie Oliver's Fifteen

The Best Food Websites: Keep It Simple, Stupid

If you’re a restaurant, having a simple one-page website can sometimes be enough. Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen made this list of best food websites because (like his menu), it is simple and refined down to what it needs to be at its most essential:

  • Attractive pictures of the food and ambiance.
  • Information on hours and location.
  • Menus with prices. (Don’t put your menu online without prices. Just don’t do it.)
  • Ability make reservations from the website via Open Table.
  • Limited news and events information.

Why does this work? As a restaurateur, Jamie Oliver knows that 99.99% of the users visiting his website are looking for the above information. In my opinion, making it easy for the user to find what they’re looking for is the #1 hallmark of the best food websites. Why bombard people with excessive options and useless information? It doesn’t help the customer and it doesn’t help the business!

Designing a website? The K-I-S-S method still applies: Keep it simple, stupid! Click To Tweet

Need An Overhaul?

Whether you need a comprehensive online marketing strategy, tweaks to an existing website, or a complete overhaul of your online presence, Road Warrior Creative is here to help. There are dozens of clients across eight states coast-to-coast whose brands we have helped to grow and promote. So whether you’re in our hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado or hundreds of miles away, we believe businesses everywhere deserve an innovate and compelling online presence. Don’t hesitate to contact us to talk about your business goals for this year and beyond.

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