Things I want to see on a restaurant's website
1. Menu. Prices would be nice but I want to see what types of food they offer.
2. Phone number. To call for reservations etc.
3. Hours and days of operation. If a restaurant is going to close on Mon etc, please say so on the website.
If they really thought about it, putting the hours and days of operations online who prevent a lot of phone calls.
What I don't like to see is the opening that flashes and that tells you that you can skip if you want, I'd rather just get to the info. I don't like when they don't have menus or when they only have the take-out menu available on-line.
hours & days
Nice to have:
current or sample menu
photos of interior and/or food
Should not have:
information in other than HTML or PDF format
email address nobody ever checks
Might kill any desire to patronize:
can't get past front door without Flash player
Example of what not to do:
re: Robert Lauriston
Wow! That must be the worst restaurant website in the entire Bay Area. Did the owner's 10 year old build it?
Only thing I'd add to your list is that it's nice to have a non-wine beverage list. Drives me nuts when I can download a 10 page PDF wine list but I can't even find mention of whether or not they serve beer.
Also, menus posted without prices are a huge turnoff for me, as if they're trying to hide something. I understand prices may fluctuate, but is it that hard to periodically update the online menu?
re: Robert Lauriston
I have to confess - I kind of like it - it gives me the sense that it might be a fun, family run place that doesn't take itself too seriously. Reminds me a bit of the site of an inn on the North Fork of Long Island opened recently by ex-Gramercy Tavern people. In various parts of the website they have stock photos - but with amusing commentary on such photos. But maybe I have an odd sense of humor.
Things I want to see:
-- A phone number for reservations is okay, but online reservations via Open Table or a similar service are even better.
-- If the restaurant does not take reservations, or takes them only for large groups, that policy should be stated clearly on the Web site. Don't make me call just to learn that no reservations are taken.
-- Daily specials. Since many fine restaurants print their menus each day based on what is fresh, it might not be that hard to create a template into which that day's menu might be uploaded.
Things I don't want to see (or hear):
-- As suggested above, splash screens with fancy graphics and thumping music are not helpful. They take the emphasis away from the food and delay my quest for information.