Thursday, January 20, 2011

Web in Front

I've really been enjoying one website of late, as it helps point out how much I don't enjoy some others. That site is "Never Said about Restaurant Websites" and it offers gems like:

When an Italian restaurant’s website misspells “minestrone” as “ministrone,” it gives me hope that they might also serve a “maxistrone” for the hearty eaters like me.


I love the sexy background music. That way people think I’m on a porn site, when little do they know I’m checking out tapas.

For as a lover of both food and the web (there are times I even eat while websurfing!), it's mighty easy to be depressed at the state of most restaurant's internet presence. First, it's shocking how many places have none at all, given the least one can do is get a free Blogger or Word Press or Tumblr account and set up a homepage with your joint's name, address, hours, location, type of food. That's just marketing 101, but I guess some places like the exclusivity.  

But then there's the opposite problem, folks who thought their site needed to be a circus of all the web can do. I really don't need a virtual tour of your gorgeously tiled restroom. I don't need music playing (and even worse, as one semi-local and very fancy spot does to you, don't make me turn off the sound on each page separately, as if I might have changed my mind about not wanting to hear your jazzy-muzak). I don't need the sound of hubbub to show how lively your place is. 

But I do need the phone number, and address, and to know if you're on Open Table (which I love, of course, but that's another day's discussion). If I want a map, I've got a phone for that. Or my computer has Mapquest. It's also great if that info can be actual text and not embedded in an image, because cut and paste just doesn't work then, and it means I can't just click on the phone number and have my handy phone call you. You do want me to book a reservation, don't you?

And, then, the menu issue. It's great you're all high-falutin and farmers' market fresh and change your menu daily. Then at least give me a current seasonal sample menu. (One fine dining spot in SB kindly still offers me its menu from Winter 2007--three chefs ago.) If possible, don't make it a PDF, especially since I'm using my iPhone and many others are looking things up mobile too. And, unless you have one of those menus with 300 items (so I guess New Jersey diners and Chinese places are off the hook here), please put it all on one page, if you can. That cocktail list of yours is no doubt precious with its five fine libations, but don't make me open up another page for it on the web. And if a brewpub can post its daily specials every day (hence that daily part), why the heck can't you? Again, it's marketing--if a day's offering sounds delicious, you might attract diners you wouldn't have otherwise.


  1. A web site offender in the Lansing Area. I love the restaurant, but its web site makes my skin crawl.

    Also, for shame, you should be using Google Maps instead of Mapquest. Seriously. Nobody uses Mapquest. You're showing your internet age.

  2. Forget my internet age, it's my real age that's the problem....