If you need a website fast and don’t have a lot of money to invest in development, using a ‘build your own website’ service like Wix or Squarespace makes perfect sense. But which is better for a restaurant? We’ve taken a look at both platforms to give you a quick guide to their best and worst features so you can choose the one that’s right for you and your business objectives.
How easy is it to update menus & special offers?
Anyone who works in the food and beverage industry knows that time is always in short supply and margins are tight. There is very little of either leftover for tasks such as website maintenance and online menu updates which is why so many restaurants tend to post menus seasonally, and in very lean operations, almost annually.
One of the leading factors in deciding to build your own site, aside from saving money, is usually to retain control over content updates with a view to making changes more frequently. However, if the process is complicated or becomes cumbersome during peak times, this is quickly abandoned. So how do our two website builders compare?
Wix is by far the easiest to learn for absolute beginners. The interface is structured in a way that is highly visual, which makes it less intimidating. If you’ve never built a website before and have no idea what you are looking for, you can answer a few questions, and the Wix ADI (artificial design intelligence) will help choose the best format for your business.
Squarespace is relatively easy to use but does require a little more effort. There’s terminology to learn, and the interface has more restrictions. It’s not a typical ‘drag and drop’ editor so you may find yourself trying to move things around only to discover that it’s not possible within the template that you’ve chosen. But on the positive side, these restrictions ensure that your website maintains its mobile responsive design. You won’t have any nasty surprises if you forget to check your changes on a mobile phone – which can occasionally happen on Wix.
So, on the whole, both systems are suitable for beginners, and it really comes down to which you’re most comfortable with. Both sites also offer free trials (Wix offers a free forever version as well). I would highly recommend trying both website editors to see which is better suited to you. It’s far easier to use a system that ‘feels’ more natural than to force yourself to learn a system that doesn’t make much sense.
Does it offer eye-catching templates?
Wix has more than 500 templates to choose from, so you are sure to find something that looks similar to what you envisage for your new website. You can narrow down your choices by selecting ‘Restaurants’ as your category and view their suggested popular layouts with preinstalled features such as menus, table reservations and online ordering.
In comparison, Squarespace has far fewer templates at roughly 100, but the templates it does offer are entirely mobile responsive and far more elegant in design. So, you get more quality vs quantity. Albeit you will have to use more imagination to achieve your own composition within the Squarespace construct.
Does it easily integrate with your existing table reservation and/or data capture methods?
Wix has an entire area and dashboard dedicated to restaurants. The Wix Restaurant Manager gives you the ability to manage reservations, menus and orders all within one place and keep your website up to date at the same time.
The platform isn’t perfect, but it has lots of handy features and is well thought out. If you already have a table reservation system like OpenTable, you can add a Wix app to install it on your website as well. So, there is plenty of flexibility.
On the other hand, you get the sense that Squarespace hasn’t adapted much for restaurant users. Their templates are much the same regardless of what industry you are in, and they don’t offer a bespoke table reservation system. However, they do integrate fully with OpenTable, which is a plus.
Both Wix and Squarespace offer the ability to connect third-party services for analytics, CRMs and newsletter databases. So, they are on equal footing for data capture.
Can customers order online for click & collect or delivery?
Again, Wix has a restaurant orders app which is easy to use and is linked to your menu. The system allows you to collect payments and define collection/delivery times all from your Wix dashboard.
Squarespace also offers online ordering, but it seems more ‘shop oriented’. Menu items are set up as products.
Overall, I think Wix is far ahead on this point.
Can you sell gift vouchers?
Gift vouchers are where Wix stumbles. It doesn’t offer the ability to sell automated gift vouchers with dynamic expiration dates, and unique redemption codes, etc. It seems that they used to have an app, but it’s been removed from their services. And, who can function without the ability to set expiry dates on a gift voucher for last-minute shoppers – especially at Christmas?
Squarespace does offer this ability. So, if this is a deal-breaker for you, Squarespace would be the clear winner here.
Both Wix and Squarespace have their strengths and weaknesses in a restaurant application. However, if I had to choose, at this point, I would select Wix based on its clear interest in making the user experience more comfortable and centralised. That coupled with its built-in table reservation system and other marketing features (not covered here) make it an excellent tool for any business that’s pressed for time.
But Wix really needs to sort out their gift vouchers – that is such an essential requirement for most businesses that it’s hard to believe they have left users without this facility.