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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.

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  1. 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.

    1. Dash the Flash.

      Extirpate it.

      It is sooooo lame for what people want to view a restaurant site for.

      1 Reply
      1. Must have:
        hours & days
        address
        phone

        Nice to have:
        current or sample menu
        wine list
        photos of interior and/or food
        chef bio
        events calendar
        online reservations
        email address

        Should not have:
        animation
        music
        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:

        http://www.pizzetta211.com

        10 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          I fully agree.

          Absolutely hideous example; they should get a refund from the designer of their site.

          1. re: Karl S

            After seeing that, I would never go to the restaurant.

            1. re: Snackish

              The pizza's actually very good. If I lived in that neighborhood I'd eat there all the time.

              1. re: Snackish

                Seconded! Hachi machi. That was terrible.

            2. 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?

              1. re: Morton the Mousse

                Some restaurant owners hire somebody to set up their Web site as a one-off deal, and never update it. In such cases, I'd rather have no prices than get there and find out they've gone up a lot.

              2. 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.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  That Pizzetta website is the most cloyingly precious thing I've seen all year. Nothing but a love letter to themselves. Gack.

                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                    Please tell me there's something else besides the obvious there.

                    I could have built that website in two minutes -- 33 linked IMG tags on a while background? I hope to God they didn't pay for it.

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Well said! But I think a menu is also a must have, not a "nice to have" unless the menu changes daily or is seasonal or something.

                  3. 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.

                    1. Here's another terrible example:

                      http://www.landmark78.com/

                      Unfortunately, this designer does almost all of the restaurants in Ventura.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Snackish

                        What's wrong with that one? It seems basic and straightforward when I click on the link. (I don't have sound on my work computer, so if that's the problem, I can't hear it.)

                        1. re: DanaB

                          Seems a bit too much, too complicated to me, although the information is there, so I wouldn't say it's the worst example. People are used to getting their information in a quick and concise manner these days and that is not an example of concise.

                          1. re: pescatarian

                            Overdesigned and too many clicks, but you can find what you want quickly, and none of the basic info requires Flash.

                          2. re: DanaB

                            The first page is fine, though the font colors and background could be improved. I don't see the menu, wine list being complicated.