Monday, January 14, 2008

Restaurant Websites

Here's a simple plea to the graphic artists who design the web sites for high end restaurants:

Your graphics are lovely. You make the food look scrumptious and the restaurant seem glowing and seductive. I get hungry just looking at the home page. Nice job. But please, please, pretty please--give Illustrator a rest and think about the poor visitors to your site.

I just spent a maddening half an hour online trying to arrange a dinner for a group of my work colleagues, and I've got a few modest suggestions.

#1: The graphics are sexy, but do we need to watch a fifteen second slide show every time we click a link to navigate to a new page? You already sold me on the food on the animated intro page (which I clicked "skip" on within 2 seconds so I could get on with the rest of my life). Now, I just want to go to the directions page to figure out where the restaurant is. I don't need to wait while more food fades in and out on the screen in funky combinations. I want to see the damn directions!

#2: How come I can't find the menu? As much as I love mousing over little pictures and watching them blur into something else, I'm not here to visit an art gallery. I'm just looking to see what kind of dishes the restaurant serves to make sure it will appeal to all my colleagues. Where the hell is the menu link? Oh, here it is--hidden behind the lovely image of a pork roast. Silly me, I was looking for a picture of a menu!

#3: Why can't I copy the text from your website? All I want to do is copy the address of the restaurant and click over to Google Maps and paste it in and figure out if the restaurant is close enough to our meeting venue to be walkable. So why is the address embedded into the image of your restaurant? I can't DO anything with that!

#4. While we're on the subject of maps, Google Maps (or MapQuest or Yahoo--take your pick) is easy as can be to link into. Don't pop up an attractive but utterly static graphic map showing only the three-block vicinity around the restaurant. This is GREAT if I happen to already be three blocks away, but what if I'm coming from the other side of town?

#5: This is specific only to downtown spots, but if the restaurant you are creating the site for does not have a parking lot, can you please include directions on the nearest public parking garage? Unless you have valet service (and you should indicate whether or not you do), getting me to your front door doesn't do me a lot of good if I can't leave my car there.

Sorry. I feel better now.


chucker said...

Hear, Hear!

Thank you.

LetsEat said...

I work for company that aims to solve the problems you address above. It's called, and it is a free online application that builds websites for restaurants. With an easy to use control panel, they can set up a nice-looking website that has a clean online menu, Google-map directions, mobile-friendly menu/site, RSS feeds of daily specials, and bunch more. It's definitely worth checking out.

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