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Why do restaurants put their hours and location under "contact info" on their websites?

Has anyone else noticed this?

A lot of restaurants put their store hours and their address on the "contact" page on their websites instead of on a "location" page or an "hours" page.

This isn't a criticism or a complaint. I'm sure it doesn't cost anyone any business or anything.

I'm simply curious.

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  1. This might not have a thing to do with it, but DH does a lot of website design and SO many websites start with a "fill-in-the-blanks" template, then get customized with backgrounds, pictures, logos, but some locations for information are preset, so you can only put certain info in certain places.
    All I know now is that I have been paying way too much attention to DH's work!!!

    1. Umm...seems to me that the location is probably the same as the mailing address, which I'd consider to be contact information...and the hours they're open for business are the same hours they'll be there to answer the phone/check e-mail/respond to whatever method of contact you choose to use. This doesn't seem strange to me at all.

      8 Replies
      1. re: theferlyone

        agreed it's the area you'd visit to call them to find out location and opening hours so they might as well put that information there to save a phonecall.

        1. re: smartie

          Call them?

          I book restaurants around the world, and want to know their hours, rather than getting up at 2:00AM to call, and ask.

          I was just looking for a restaurant in a certain US city. I found one, that looked good, and it was in the "burg," where I was staying. There was no address, so I did a Google Search, and found out that it was in the town, but about 40 miles away. With a cab, or limo, my US$ 300 meal would have been about US $450. Not what I was looking for.

          I design Web sites for a living. I would never tell my clients that a potential patron should have to do four Google Searches, to know if they want to dine there. One should make it easy, readable on all sorts of devices, and user-friendly.

          Hunt

          1. re: Bill Hunt

            :::applause:::

            (I thought you were a professional photographer?)

            1. re: huiray

              I have worn many hats in my lifetime.

              Besides civil engineering, cinematography and work on a BFA in photography, I also have a degree in commercial design. Once, that was for print advertising, but then it morphed into Web design. So, a bit of the right-brain, and a bit of the left. Guess that I should have been born a Gemini?

              Hunt

            2. re: Bill Hunt

              Ha! My husband sold websites before people knew what they were. He always held that anything someone might want from a website should be accessible within two clicks. His name is Richard and his co-workers gave him the nickname Two Click Dick.

          2. re: theferlyone

            I would never assume that the hours when a restaurant serves food and when they'll pick up the phone are the same. A sufficiently successful restaurant may have several full-time employees dedicated to taking phone reservations throughout the day even if the restaurant is only open during lunch and dinner. On the other hand, it's happened to me many times that I've called a restaurant when it's open and gotten an answering machine. (Kind of annoying when you're calling to tell the hostess that you'll be late for your reservation because you're stuck in traffic and want assurance that they won't give away your table.)

            1. re: theferlyone

              Well, I can cite many restaurants, where this would not be the case - not even close.

              Let's take Alan Wong's on O`ahu, HI. The phone reservations are handled by the corporate office, which is open, well before the eponymous restaurant is. The hours of operations for corporate, are not the same, as for the restaurant. The location is not the same either. On O`ahu, there are two Alan Wong restaurants, the King St. location (original) and then then the Pineapple Room at the Ala Moana shopping center in the Macy's.

              I could go on, and one, but you get the idea, or at least I hope that you do.

              If I go to the King St. location (above), on the Web site, I want to see what time THEY are open, and their exact location, though I know it by heart.

              Web site designers need to ask themselves a few questions:

              What are the hours?
              Where are we located?
              What is the phone number for reservations?
              Are we on Open Table, or similar?
              Can all users read our design?
              What would be helpful to a new patron?

              Unfortunately, many do not, and also do not seem to care. Sometimes, especially regarding Web sites, I think that more are looking to win some design awards, than to help patrons book tables, but that is just my personal observation.

              If the hours are on the Home Page, along with the exact location, it makes it much easier for a potential patron, than having a half-dozen tabs open, as they look on MapQuest, to see the exact location. Make it easy, and if the food is good, people will flock there. The restaurant makes $, and then pays to update the Web site. Simple.

              Hunt

              Hunt

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                yes yes yes. half the time i get more from the "place page" when i google a place than I do from their homepage, including Alan Wong's (one of the slowest pages to load i know of.) But at least they have a page called "reservations" with address, phone number, and hours. People have learned that "contact us" often has maps and hours, in addition to phone numbers and e-mail addresses, so its not a terrible place to put it. When you open the yellow pages - the original 'homepage', the address, phone number, and hours for almost any business are listed. The information people want and need immediately.

            2. It's not just restaurants. I find the same with a lot of independent businesses.

              1. cuz most owners of restaurant owners dont care...all they do is tell the "web"guy what they want ..and they give it to them...

                http://theoatmeal.com/comics/restaura...

                6 Replies
                1. re: srsone

                  Too many restaurant owners pay more attention to ads and coupons than they do to their website.
                  I like it when the site has address & hours on every page.

                  1. re: Leonardo

                    I actually agree with this. I am dumbfounded by how many restaurant websites I go to that don't list the hours ANYWHERE. As a result, these places tend to not get my business.

                    1. re: Leonardo

                      That may well be the case. However, if they have hired a professional, then it is incumbent on that professional to instruct them, and create a most friendly, and usable site.

                      A Web designer does not need to know the "mother sauces," and create each, and a chef should not need to know HTML, just because they want a Web presence.

                      Hunt

                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        Yet even there some places that do not even update their websites even when they do have a hired webmaster.

                        For example, one place that is well known and well regarded for their food in my area left their website outdated for more than a year. I asked them about it and my understanding was that they would get round to it, they didn't have the time?/money?/?? to do it, but they did post updates on their FACEBOOK site. They got away with it because their food was good enough, and their following loyal enough to both keep going back as well as spreading the word about them.

                        Which brings me to a pet peeve related to the subject - the greater attention many restaurants appear to pay to their Facebook page rather than their website. (((Fume)))

                        1. re: huiray

                          I do not know why any restaurant, above a real "mom-n-pop," would not use the Web today, and would not update often. Maybe it's a matter of keeping the doors open vs an updated Web site? I just do not know. I use the Web for much of my dining choices, in one way, or another. Whether it's Open Table, or just doing my own research, I rely on the Web-presence often, and would urge any restauranteur to not ignore that aspect of their advertising and PR. As I book most of my restaurant reservations on-line, making things easy for someone, like me, should be a high priority. The more useful info, the better.

                          Hunt

                    2. re: srsone

                      I would argue that it is not that they do not "care," but more that they do not "know." This is the role of the Web designer, and is one, that is too often overlooked.

                      Also, if one, not in the Web design business (read a restauranteur), and they have hired a professional, they should expect guidance in the design, from someone, who understands commercial sites, and especially retail/restaurant sites.

                      Make it easy to book, easy to find, and with all necessary info, to help in those processes.

                      Hunt

                    3. I'd always look for address on a contact page - as I may wish to contact them.

                      I find it helpful to have all that sort of information - address, phone number, email, online reservation link, dress code, hours, location map, etc - all in one place.

                      1. Honestly, I think a lot of restaurant websites are really poorly designed. They might look pretty, but they don't convey the info as easily as they should. What diners really want to know is: what's on the menu? What are the hours? Where is the restaurant?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Isolda

                          That's how I sort of feel, which is why I posed the question. I didn't quite see the address as "contact information" though I guess your do make contact by showing up.

                          If I had a restaurant I would put the hours and the location on the home page then have a link to the menu.

                          1. re: Isolda

                            Exactly!

                            Location and hours are part of the equation for most dining out decisions. I often have heard about a place and go to the website to see where it is located.

                            I associate "contact" with communicating a concern (question/complaint) - something not related to gathering information for dinner tonight.

                            Since I have caught on to this design quirk it has saved me time! But I find it to be a poor choice of design. A good website needs to have the basics - who/what/where/when - clearly defined. Not every potential customer is willing to wade through page after beautifully laid out page just to find that the place is not open tonight.

                            1. re: Isolda

                              Unfortunately (for the restauranteurs), I have to agree with you. Too many are just not functional, unless one wishes to play a little game, to get to the useful info. This is NOT a video game, but a commercial site. A good Web designer will came much more about their client being highly successful, than winning some "golly, gee-whiz" design awards. It should be much less about HTML5, and more about pure interactivity - and the necessary info.

                              Just my thoughts,

                              Hunt

                            2. I agree that many web use a common template. It's the cheapest way to go for the restaurant.

                              However, as a consumer, the contact page is the first place I go for location, hours, phone numbers and email address.

                              1. Or why not on the actual main home page?

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: iluvcookies

                                  I have a template-style web site for an online retail store and if I want to make any changes on the home page, no matter how minor, there is a minimum $200 fee to the hosting company. I can change the other pages but not the home page. Imagine having to pay someone $200 just to change an "11" to a "10" if you decide to close an hour earlier. $200 to change one character!

                                  1. re: ribeye621

                                    That's interesting and clarifying.

                                    1. re: ribeye621

                                      Maybe it is time to hire a Web site designer, rather than rely on a "template," that all of your competition is using?

                                      A Web site designer is more than someone, who still remembers how to code HTML. They are there (or should be), to make you as successful, as you can be. If they are not, then it is time to move on.

                                      Good luck,

                                      Hunt

                                  2. Be happy it even had the hours. I always check contact/whatever pages, and you'd be surprised how many retail and restaurant web sites don't bother to put the hours on there. Getting the hours on your web site saves BOTH of us time.

                                    1. I tend to agree. I want to see the hours and days of operations on the Home Page, but maybe that is just me. Though the address is going to be in the Contact Us Page, but I also like to have that, on the Home Page, as I am often looking for proximity to where I am staying, and having to go several pages in, is not quite so convenient.

                                      Now, let's not get started with choices of fonts. Many Web designers have not figured out that fonts that look great in a printed 8.5 x 11 menu though a 1200 DPI printer, might look like dog-doo on a Web page.

                                      Hunt

                                      1. this causes me a certain amount of aggravation too. It is one of the most important pieces of information I want to find on the website, and it is often buried (about us, contact us, location, menu) or not there at all.

                                        1. A restaurant's basic info should be on the FRONT page or Home page of their website. Address, Hours, Telephone.

                                          Have your fancy Flash Intro if you want, but the Landing Page should have ALL the basic info, AND on a page that is easy to read, in a font/background/etc combination that does not resemble an optical tricks game.

                                          By all means the restaurant can put this info in their 'Contact Info' page too, but it should not be a fishing expedition or a treasure hunt to find out. There are times when (as Bill Hunt in another post says) I've had to do multiple searches to try to find the info, and I would do this only for a restaurant that I really, really wanted the info for. At other times I've looked up the website of a restaurant I was marginally interested in, couldn't find the relevant hours/address/days of operation posted right away, and simply bypassed going there and looked at another place instead.

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: huiray

                                            This. Restaurants and any other business that expects their customers to physically come to them needs to have their hours & address clearly stated on the main page. And then they should make sure that the info's still easily accessible when using a smart phone. Even more so when you're in a city with lots of great places to eat and shop, I am not going to look that hard.

                                            1. re: huiray

                                              Could not agree more. From the Home Page, one should be able to navigate easily to maybe a map, to a menu (for each lunch and dinner), and maybe even a wine list in PDF, to check all aspects.

                                              A pet peeve of mine is the Flash (or similar) intro, with loud Audio. There should be both the ability to "skip" the intro, plus also mute the danged Audio.

                                              One site, for a favorite resort, has Audio, that cannot be muted, or even turned down, unless one goes to the OS's Sounds settings, and it plays for all pages loaded. However, that is fodder for a Web-design forum, and not CH.

                                              Hunt

                                                1. re: srsone

                                                  Heh.
                                                  The cartoon that one is based on (linked to towards the bottom of the page) is pretty good too.
                                                  (For convenience here it is anyway: http://xkcd.com/773/ )

                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                    Good one, and a page that I had not seen. Thank you for that.

                                                    As for the menu, I would love to see it both ways: viewable as an embedded PDF, but also available for download.

                                                    I care less for the "recs. from adoring patrons," but do like to see chefs' bios, on another page.

                                                    I also have an issue with addresses, and such, that cannot be moved to another document, via Copy/Paste.

                                                    To that page, I would add:

                                                    The ability to skip an intro, especially a long one.
                                                    The ability to turn OFF any music, and especially loud music, or SFX.

                                                    Appreciated,

                                                    Hunt

                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                      it's almost as if you know as much about websites as you do about food and wine... naw, that's not possible.

                                                    2. re: huiray

                                                      Wow, having a kid who just graduated from college, I can't agree more.

                                                2. re: huiray

                                                  Here's the link for the website of a world-famous resort and "destination" for shopping, dining, playing, gambling, etc etc - The Marina Bay Sands complex in Singapore: http://www.marinabaysands.com/

                                                  Well, where IS the dang place, other than being somewhere in Singapore?

                                                  It took me quite a while before I finally managed to locate the page where I could see the address and where it actually was. Link after link leading to pages and pages of stuff, all extolling what a FABULOUS experience you would get, pages and pages of How To Spend Your Money...but it took minutes of clicking around before I finally noticed the link called "map" in TINY type at the bottom on the left side of the Home Page. (...and no, the address and location this time isn't found from their "contact us" link, also in equally TINY type on the right side at the bottom)

                                                  Then...Info for the restaurants is a mixed bag. Waku Ghin, for example, has it's own website - http://www.wakughin.com/ - which is found by searching for "Waku Ghin Singapore" in Google; but it is a single page, nothing more, but it does contain the address, hours and contact/telephone numbers. The place is also accessed through the "Restaurants" link on the Marina Bay Sands website (http://www.marinabaysands.com/Singapo...) and contains the telephone and hours info as well as more blah-blah and tells you where within the Marina Sands complex it is - but again no info on where the complex is in the first place. Similar situation with CUT, Wolfgang Puck's foray into Singapore at the Marina Sands: http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/restauran... (from a Google search for "CUT Singapore")(However, the menus etc are all on this website page, well done!) and http://www.marinabaysands.com/Singapo... from the Marina Sands website. Etc etc.

                                                  Sigh.

                                                3. I'd say simply bad web design.

                                                  I find that for business web sites, and this is particularly so for restaurant sites, that the owner or whoever is designing the site either gets too caught up in making in look really slick, or is using a drag and drop template without thinking too much.

                                                  So they end up with something that looks really sweet, at least on the browser and computer that they have, but isn't all that informative or useful for potential customers. The location information should be prominently displayed, preferably with a clear map of the area. Sure, duplicate it in the contact info if you want, but make it as easy to find as possible.

                                                  My other pet peeve is the use of graphics instead of text. If things like the menu and name are in text, or even an intelligently designed PDF document, you can zoom in on the text to read it better, or cut and paste it into a brower. You can't do that with graphics or flash. My eyesight is fine, but I often deal with websites in Chinese, and I have trouble deciphering small characters. And if I can cut and paste the characters, I can easily dump it into google to get a map or a review, or translate menu items it without spending half an hour with a dictionary (looking up Chinese characters when you don't know how to pronounce them and can't cut and paste is a non trivial exercise.)

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                    Web site design is like video editing (or film), in that less, is very often more.

                                                    Bells-n-whistles should be left behind, and the "message" should come to the fore.

                                                    Hunt

                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                      But, but... If you don't have all the bells and whistles, how will they know how good you are at design?!?

                                                      [/sarcasm]

                                                      I find that often the best design is the one that you don't actually notice, because the web site (or program) is effortlessly doing what you want it to.

                                                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                        Your last paragraph should be re-printed onto posters, and distributed to every school of design, that does either print, or Web-based material. If only the students of design could all see, and embrace that statement!

                                                        It should be seamless, and easy - just happening, and providing the user with all that they need, effortlessly.

                                                        Thank you for putting it into one simple sentence. Job well-done.

                                                        Hunt