A restaurant’s website says volumes about a place, I think. A reader emailed me to say that she was disappointed to learn that a wine bar’s hours weren’t updated on the site. When she and friends arrived at 3pm to find the place opened at 5pm the, place lost customers and credibility with the public. Another restaurant, opened during the summer, still has only an unedited paragraph that waits to be updated.
What do you think about restaurant websites? Does a site give you a feel for the restaurant–good or bad–or does it matter? Do you frequent a site for information such as a menu, contact info, etc? Do you like the flash and splash of many sites? What about the music so many insist on? Give Buzz your thoughts.
A Gaslamp restaurant’s website said they opened at 11:30 for lunch. My party arrived at the same time as another lunch party – the only staff in the restaurant was one non-english speaking kitchen worker who told us the restaurant was still closed – which was clearly obvious. The good news is their competitor (same ethnic food) was open and we had a great lunch!! I have now been to the new place several times, but haven’t been back to the place I originally intended on eating at. I rely on restaurant’s websites and expect updated hours, menus and prices online. I’m disappointed when the information is incorrect or out of date.
I most certainly rely on a restaurant website. We go out to dinner every Friday night and I constantly search websites for menus, times, location so we can sample a new place each week. When they don’t post a menu or list times it gets taken off the list of potential places to eat. I like to keep a file of menus to refer back to places that we still haven’t tried. When you can’t get a downloadable menu from a site, I usually don’t remember that I ever wanted to go there.
Websites are key for me. Not just for the hours and menu, but to learn about the chef and the approach they’re taking in the kitchen. It’s such a powerful tool to keep customers coming back for more, and the smart ones always have a newsletter signup – there’s no better way to reach a willing audience.
As a “professional eater” I can do without the sounds, flash, splash,& e-bling that makes some sites take ridiculously long to load (& sometimes almost impossible when using dial-up on my “on the road” laptop). What I want most is an accurate, up-to-date menu including item prices — no food should be “priceless!” Better yet if the menu is immediately printable and downloadable so I can keep a hard copy in my files (and e-copy on my computer) to consult when planning to go out — that way I can even plan in advance which dishes are “must eats,” how many mouths would be ideal at the table, and which mouths. (Some are more adventurous than others.) A copy of the wine list is good, too — if I can’t buy a bottle for less than $60, I want to know before I go (or, perhaps, not go). These features make a big difference in which restaurants I finally decide to review. As additional possible enticement, I also hope the website will tell me something about the owner/s and the chef and their basic ideas for the restaurant.
i hate it when i’m talking to someone on the phone and “multi-tasking” (i.e, surfing the web) and up comes some restaurant site with that annoying music. it’s the worst way to get busted. and it’s always impossible to find the “mute” icon.
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The restaurant sites that have sound or music are at best obnoxious and at worst in danger of losing customers. It becomes obvious that many site owners have no idea what their potential visitors want. People aren’t coming to a restaurant web site to be entertained. And there is no way anyone can get an accurate feeling for the mood of a place through a web page. People come to get information. Just by reading the comments here, you can see that people want menus (including a printable version), locations, hours, phone numbers, owner/chef bios, food prep info, etc. Throw in a few photos of the place, point to some reviews, and maybe include a discount coupon and you’re good. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone that actually likes the flashy music-filled sites.
Here’s a perfect example of what not to do: http://www.bombayrestaurant.com/ I used to use it as a bad example when I taught a class on web design. Just see how long it takes to get to any of those things above. By that time, I bet you’ll find 4 other places on Yelp that look more promising.