Out of curiosity, what do you expect from a restaurant's website? What works and doesn't work for you?
Personally, when I hear of a restaurant, one of the first things I do is go looking for their website, searching for a menu. After that, I want to know their location, hours of operation, and the parking situation. Contact information is good, too.
But what I don't want is one of these new "flashy" sites with difficult to navigate nested pages, separate pages for the various "parts" of the menu (in fact, I like the menu to have a downloadable option so I can print it and drop it into a folder to have in the car), and I don't want to have to sit through some 45-second Flash intro.
Just wondering what others think.
I couldn't agree with you more. I look for the usual info as well. The menu should be in a pdf with pricing info with a date.
I think if they want to be flashy and show off their "work" a nice photo gallery of their dishes would be a nice as well, especially if it's an exotic dish. You know what they say, eating starts with the eyes.
I don't mind seeing the menu in pdf. format. Keeps it simple. When I see that their "Starters" are the usual and routine things, I skip down to the salads, and if I see that it's more of the same "Chicken Caesar Salad," I check out soups. That's very often where the originality can be found, but if it says "Soup du jour," I then go to entrees.
It's a really fast way of seeing what's creative or new and what's more of the same old same old. I have absolutely no interest in flashy sites, seeing the decor, or knowing that the table I might sat at were once used as doors in the old Trappist monastery that mysteriously went up in flames one winter night in 1918.
I just want it to be right there and simple so I can see what's available. And I want it in simple language.
The first thing I look for is the menu, with prices. I need to know whether there are vegetarian options, and I gauge the menu to see if the restaurant looks open to substitutions.
Then I look for photos, so I can see if the restaurant is group-friendly. (I would love it if restaurants said how many seats they have...)
Location - and proximity to subways - are next.
As for the interface, the simpler, the better. No clip-art, please, or annoying club-like music.
The 2 main things I would prefer to see on a restaurant web site is a photo gallery of the food and definitely the prices.