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Restaurants not having websites only Facebook

I've been noticing a trend of restaurants (and bars) not having their only websites or they will have a site that just links to Facebook or other social media.

I find this kind of annoying because their menus aren't often posted on facebook or they might be hard to find or outdated.

Hard to tell if they are doing it to be 'cool' or just don't want to develop their own site. Of course social media is big too and they likely want their visitors to go there because they might share posts,etc.

Anyone else annoyed by this?

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  1. Some places might have menus that change frequently. It's faster just to post a photo of the chalkboard.

    1. Given the shittiness of most restaurant websites, it doesn't bother me that much. At least on Facebook, I know I'm not going to have to watch a 30 second flash intro only to arrive at a page where I have to tune out the tinkling piano midi long enough to guess which random image might take me to the restaurant's address.

      I prefer a clean, minimalist restaurant website over Facebook, mainly because they usually have a menu, as you noted, but I prefer Facebook over the vast majority of actual restaurant websites.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Jacquilynne

        I agree with this. Most places websites are horrible. They tend to be slow loading, have annoying plugins and are not intuitive.

        I don't think a website ever convinced me to go somewhere but some have been annoying enough to make me question their mgt.

        I also think Facebook is less expensive to maintain. It's pretty easy to update, load photos and post news. My friend maintains her business FB page herself but has to pay someone to maintain the domain named one.

        1. re: Jacquilynne

          Same here. As a group, restaurant websites have to be the most useless genre of web site. So many of them are just home pages that have an address. Others, you have to wait for some stupid animation to load and then get blasted with loud music if you aren't careful.

          I want to know hours of operation (oh and by the way, if you serve a "late night menu", WHEN does that kick in? I want to see a menu with prices, and maybe a photo or two of the place. Maps and directions are nice as well. Just give me the facts, please.

          I think having a FB page is fine as a way to have an interactive conversation with your customers, and announce things like daily specials or special events. Both types of communication have their place.

        2. I grew up in a time where the only menus were posted next to the front door, or you had to go in and ask.

          Never affected my dining decisions or enjoyment of my meal.

          1. Somewhat annoyed; however, I also understand that maintaining a website can be rather a pain (particularly for a smaller place) and that it's a lot faster & easier to keep a facebook page up-to-date. Considering that their primary focus should be on feeding me, I don't really mind if they choose not to spend a lot of time on a web site (although I agree that if they're not keeping FB up-to-date, either, that doesn't do me a lot of good)

            1. Yep. I recently went to a restaurant and found they were closed that day. No hours posted online and no one answered the phone. Ugh. I find a simple website far more appealing than a Facebook page. Little Serow's site (www.littleserow.com) is the best I've seen.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Hobbert

                Great website, but I didn't care for the "rules" and probably wouldn't eat there because they put me off. I'm of the opinion that restaurant sshould be welcoming and accommodating to customers, not rigid and limiting. I realize it's their prerogative, and that maybe some other people are cool with the restrictions. But I'll spend my money elsewhere, thanks.

                1. re: saturngrrl

                  Yeah, but they get points for letting me know up front. I'd rather see that I can't take pictures (not that I would anyway) on the website than be annoyed about it when I got there.

                  1. re: Hobbert

                    True. I'd rather know I don't want to eat there ahead of time, than get there and be unpleasantly surprised. It's good they communicated that, but it certainly ruled me out as a potential customer. As I said, I'm sure others are just fine with the rules and will happily comply with them and dine there.

                  2. re: saturngrrl

                    I see nothing unusual about their "rules". If it wouldn't prevent me from seeing a museum or monument with the same rules, it certainly won't prevent me from eating their food.

                2. Not even remotely.

                  I look up the menu for the local Chinese place and the local pizza place on my phone because sorry, I'm not going to drag them around town.

                  The menus are hanging on the fridge with a magnet.

                  Other than that, I'm not sure I've ever made a restaurant decision based on a website.

                  1. If someone recommends a restaurant, I like to look it up on the web. If it points me to a FB page, I am truly disappointed. I like to check menus, etc. to see if it is a place I want to go. Most FB posts do not include menus, unfortunately. Also, since real names are posted (most cases) replies are not so reliable.

                    1. As long as there's a menu I can see, I'm ok with a Facebook page.

                      1. I need three things from a restaurant's marketing:

                        It's address

                        It's menu

                        And can I book online.

                        I don't care how I get them (although I am not "on Facebook")

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Harters

                          I'm with you Harters.

                          I also like to know their hours.

                          All other things being equal (food, etc.) I also like to book online via opentable.com so I get my points.

                          I don't care if a restaurant has an online presence. If it's good usually I'll find it (print, walking around, word of mouth, etc.). A few really good, old school places are still NOT online.

                          I have observed the trend OP mentions: a static website and an active FB page.

                          A recent article in NY Capital Region's Metroland newspaper had a survey about small businesses (restaurants , etc.) and social media. An interesting read:

                          http://metroland.net/2014/03/20/follo...

                          It can be harder to find the truth online (people lie, fake FB likes, Yelp issues, etc.). I have concerns about privacy when it comes to FB. I do not want everyone to know my business. My iphone is usually set so my every move cannot be tracked. Or can it? What price convenience vs. privacy?

                          1. re: Harters

                            To your list I'd add phone number and days/hours of operation. And I'm not on Facebook, either.

                          2. I've found that the majority of restaurants in the small towns around the area use facebook more so than have their own websites. The ones with websites are usually chain restaurants and the websites are run by corporate. I like the restaurants that update their facebook page so that it shows the hours they are open that day automatically. Not having access to the menus is annoying, especially when I may be looking at an hour-long drive or more to go explore some small town dive. Most of them do update their FB page with specials of the day tho, and I've found 90% of the time if I post a question asking about specials, or whatever, I get a response back pretty quickly, since it probably goes to someone's FB app on their phone.

                            1. Yes. And websites that are not viewable on mobile devices. Really? In this day and age?

                              I will not go to a restaurant that doesn't have a menu that I can read online. If it's on FB fine, but most are not. How will I know if there is something there for my picky eater?

                              I also prefer prices, hours of operation and a list of types of payment accepted.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                This seems to be a very narrow view. Lots of fine places with delicious food don't have online menus.

                                1. re: jmckee

                                  I am sure there are. But I am not going to eat there.

                                  Everything is online nowadays. Is it that hard to post a menu? Even a sample if your menu changes frequently is acceptable to me.

                                  1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                    You have to pay for hosting. You have to pay for website design and maintenance.

                                    I eat based on food, not technology.

                                    1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                      "Everything is online nowadays."

                                      Nope, it isn't. I doubt it is even where you are. It absolutely is not in many parts of the world.

                                2. If I can't view a menu ahead of time, we won't be a patron. I'm a parent of a kiddo with food allergies. I need to know if every other item has nuts in it we will just move along. Saves us a bunch of hassle.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: autumm

                                    Agree 100%. No online menu then we will not waste our time on their business. I have yet to find a real menu on a FB restaurant website.

                                  2. I haven't yet seen a restaurant facebook page that was of any use at all.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: sandylc

                                      Just to give you an idea, here is one place that has a menu online (not that I've been to it). It used to be a restaurant and now has moved locations and become a "sports bar". Not my kind of hang out place!

                                      https://www.facebook.com/theagsportsb...

                                      1. re: sandylc

                                        Here's a place with a good Facebook page.

                                        https://www.facebook.com/tripesandcaviar

                                        They have menus, pictures of food and announcements about special events. And yes, they do take reservations on the Facebook page.

                                        1. re: hala

                                          True, that is better than most. The menu is fuzzy...

                                          1. re: hala

                                            But do they repost the menu frequently? Otherwise it will be lost once there are sufficient newer posts. A link to the menu should ideally be in the description below the name and hours.

                                        2. I'm not on Facebook and occasionally I find a restaurant Facebook page that I can't access. If the Facebook page has hours, location and a menu then I don't mind.

                                          Interestingly, I have had several restaurant owners tell me that they have the Facebook page because it is easier to list specials and make changes than on their website. Perhaps, but I find many Facebook pages that lack even the most basic information.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: meatn3

                                            "I'm not on Facebook and occasionally I find a restaurant Facebook page that I can't access. If the Facebook page has hours, location and a menu then I don't mind."

                                            This. Ditto for any other sort of business, not just restaurants.

                                          2. That's the way it is for most businesses in the parts of Asia I've lived - Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Malaysia. IF the company has any web presence at all, that is.

                                            1. OMG. Facebook is so dead. So they should just get with the new.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. Not a problem, even though I don't do FB. A restaurant without a Web presence is reminiscent of those laid-back pre-internet days.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                  Much might depend on where you are in the world. For example, I am usually surprised when I find a restaurant in Spain with a website.

                                                2. I don't care how they do it but we are on the road a lot and don't consider a place if there isn't a current menu with prices, hours they are open and the rules -cash only? Dress? reservations?

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: wekick

                                                    This is an honest question: what did you do before the internet? Not eat out ever?

                                                    1. re: Jack Flash

                                                      This applies to places that have restaurants with a web presence. Otherwise we pick the place with the most cars if traveling or ask around. We happened on to some great places that way. We missed a lot too that were right around the block but we didn't know until the internet. We are a little pickier as we go along too. Now with all the additional information available via the internet we know about the great fried chicken place five miles ahead in the next town. We can make choice about whether we want to spend $30 or $100 for dinner. We might choose a place that has a lot of homemade food vs a place that has all fried food out of the freezer. Some places list specials online only. If I am looking ahead for a non chain place to eat, I am willing to detour if the place is open( we always call and double check) and I know what is on the menu and how much it costs. Knowledge is king in my book.

                                                      1. re: Jack Flash

                                                        Not who you were asking but it was just more work and you took more "risks". Basically I did what I do here but got less info in considerably more time.

                                                        Before the internet I bought guide books, which is like googling or coming here and reading threads

                                                        I spoke to friends, co workers and relatives who know the area I am going to. Same as posting inquiries here but getting a lot more info, often very detailed.

                                                        I made phone calls to verify hours, getting direction. Often my guide books would have outdated info.

                                                        Once there I would buy the local paper and/or magazines, walk the neighborhoods, talk to people I met along the way. And even with internet I still do these things!

                                                        Often my pre web ventures led me to great grub, sometimes it didn't-just like today. There is no guarantee no matter what route you take. However I would say my success rate in finding "hidden jems", local specialities, etc has increased 10 fold since the w.w.w. It also allows me to share my finds with like minded people.

                                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                                          True. This site is very valuable for finding the little out of the way places.
                                                          We were recently in a bakery in a small that we just drove by. It was a find with all kinds of regional treats. We asked about local food and the guys face lit up and he came around to the front and gave us all kinds of places to go in the region. Nothing beats that. The websites were still helpful in knowing prices, exact items and hours and making our choices for the next several days.

                                                    2. I don't mind what they have, as long as it's updated.
                                                      Nice thing about Facebook: no music, easy to navigate, no flash.

                                                      1. As a person that has never been interested in joining Facebook I would be less likely to go there since I wouldn't know enough about it. No biggie, though- there are plenty of other places that do have websites and have menus/hours/etc. posted.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                          Usually pages for restaurants and similar businesses are public, so you don't have to have a Facebook membership to see them and they come up in regular google searches.

                                                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                            You might be surprised at how many of them aren't public- I always assume they're looking more for "Likes" and "friends" than real customers.

                                                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                              Unfortunately that's how Facebook works. You need a certain number of "likes" to have access to their analytics tools.

                                                        2. Not really. A lot of the restaurants in my area are local family-owned type places. A website costs money. Facebook does not. As long as their Facebook page has the basics (address, hours, hopefully a menu even if it's just a photo of their menu) I'd rather them keep their money they would normally spend on a website since it's likely they're not raking it in anyway.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                            That's true for the most part. What many restaurants or even people don't realize is that many internet providers will host a simple website for their customers for free. It's usually only a single page with no bells or whistles but sufficient enough to post basic info and a menu. At least Comcast does or used to.

                                                            Any restaurant that doesn't have a presence on the web is losing potential customers.

                                                          2. An acceptable restaurant website can be done on Facebook, but the nicest restaurant websites are done stand-alone. Also, the sites without gimmicks, moving stuff and music are the nicest.

                                                            1. It's generally cheaper to use Facebook than a website with a registered domain name.

                                                              So if the money is saved towards food, employees, or just "staying in business" then, no, I'm not annoyed by this.

                                                              8 Replies
                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                The cost of having your own registered domain is a pittance. The cost of buying menu software that will generate pdf files is a few hundred bucks. Not per month or per year, but once. Given the number of restaurant websites where it's clear some clueless person overpaid some even more clueless web designer to over-design the restaurant website with needless Flash crap, you'd think there would be enough money to afford a registered domain.

                                                                1. re: nocharge

                                                                  Everything you say is true.

                                                                  But will you also not agree with me that the cost of a Facebook page is ... free?

                                                                  A pittance (whatever that may be) is still more than free. In dollars, yen, or Bitcoins or whatever.

                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                    I perfectly understand the concept of a restaurant needing to be "frugal". It's smart business sense. But I have had my own personal internet domain name for over a decade and the cost is low enough that I can't even recall the exact number since it's small enough that I don't care. And that's for something that isn't even a business expense.

                                                                    1. re: nocharge

                                                                      Yes but you still need to know website building basics to have a site and maintain it. Most people don't know how to do that, so they either have to take the time (that they probably don't have as most "mom and pop" type restaurateurs work their asses off) to learn, or hire someone to do it. I won't even get into the cost of doing SEO so people can find the website by using search engines. Creating a Facebook page is very easy to do and takes very little time, and is easy to update daily and reaches a wide audience.

                                                                      1. re: juliejulez

                                                                        And restaurants are well known for having more clueless websites than pretty much any type of business and having overpaid some clueless web designer in the process of creating them. Forget the SEO crap. I just want to see the menu. Uploading the pdf is not exactly rocket science if your IQ is marginally higher than single digit.

                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                          You can get a domain as low as $1.99 a year, there are many free website and website builder services (Wix, Weebly, etc.) There are even super low cost templates with hosting like Go Daddy's Website Tonight (as low as one dollar a month up to $9.99 a month for a bigger site with SEO help.)

                                                                          The template sites are so easy you can get a webpage built and live in a couple of hours tops. If that's more time and money than a restaurant can spend I don't know if it's somewhere I'd want to eat anyhow.....

                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                            SEO can cost nothing. Someone just needs to put in the time. A neophyte can do it themselves they just need to read up a bit.

                                                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                          I'm with you, ipse -- if there has to be a choice made between time and money spent on a website, and time and money spent on the food, I'd rather they spend it on the food (substitute service, decor, ambiance, wine, etc., etc., etc. at will)

                                                                    2. Having a facebook only website reminds me of the early days of the web in the 90s where a restaurants web address was something like www.webhost.com/abbcc/sdfsdf/sdfsf instead of having its own domain. It's cheesy.

                                                                      1. Facebook pages are absolutely useless. They rarely have a menu or prices, just a lot of relatives and friends gushing about how "wonderful" the place is.

                                                                        1. I follow the Facebook pages of quite a few restaurants/bars because I like to be able to read the daily specials. Traditional websites just aren't updated as frequently.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: LeoLioness

                                                                            I agree. for the small mom and pop places I can find hours, specials, and quite a few have menus scanned in. They are more likely to update their facebook because it is easy and free than a website. I also almost always get immediate feedback if I message to ask a question.

                                                                          2. Absolutely, you have picked one of my current peeves. I don't do Facebook and if I can't review the menu it's unlikely I would go to that restaurant.

                                                                            This is on a par with my problem with restaurants which have websites and don't maintain them.

                                                                            1. Hard as it is to believe, not everyone is on Facebook, and I get annoyed when the only online information about a restaurant (or any business I might be interested in, for that matter) is linked to Facebook. Businesses today MUST maintain a well-executed, frequently-updated website.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                If they "must" than they would. But they aren't so they don't. <shrug> I know many successful businesses with only a Facebook page if they have anything at all. And there are probably just as many or even more with stylish well maintained web sites that go under.

                                                                                1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                  Yeah, they really don't.

                                                                                  Sure, they'll lose some business because they don't have a "well-executed frequently-updated website", but they won't lose all.

                                                                                  I agree, it would be nice if they had such. But the reality is that not all business are on the Internet. Not all businesses see the value in having a "well-executed frequently-updated website".

                                                                                  1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                    I think the "well-executed frequently-updated website" concept is just one of many factors that any business should consider in terms of marketing. How much money and resources should you spend? The reality is that it's not that costly. But for some reason restaurant owners tend to overpay web designers for Flash crap rather than just the basic infrastructure where you can see the daily menu.

                                                                                    1. re: nocharge

                                                                                      I would love to see websites for more businesses. It would certainly make my life much easier.

                                                                                      But "The reality is that it's not that costly" isn't necessarily true. Depends on where you are. In some countries, buying a domain name costs USD50 or more per year. Which those in developed countries would consider nothing, but in developing countries, that's enough to hire a cook for a month. It's all relative. Then you add the hosting on top of that, and the monthly hosting cost could mean not paying a cook for a month.

                                                                                      Consider, yes. But also, in a region where most of the people aren't online, it doesn't make huge sense to have an online presence, no matter how much you or I or others would prefer that they do. Or if most of their customers aren't online. Or if most of their customers are repeat business so already know all the details of when they open, where they are, and so on.

                                                                                      It's not quite so black and white.

                                                                                      1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                        Yes but are most patrons in developing countries searching the web for a restaurant? Probably not.

                                                                                2. My oh my, what did we do before the internet?

                                                                                  I just did a little research for a friend of mine who's travelling and wanted to know where to get good eats in the destination location. (I am frequently asked these sorts of questions. For a variety of reasons, some of them, um, visually obvious.) I turned up about 12 good places; more than half of them did not have websites.

                                                                                  Somebody in this thread made some comment about the proprietors needing to make allowances for website design, etc., in their marketing budget. For Mom & Pop places, for example, this is totally unnecessary. I'd much prefer a modest place that concentrates resources on the food than a joint with a glitzy website and only moderately good chow.

                                                                                  1. FB is free, no hosting, don't have to pay someone to update it...Most times turns into amateur hour, as most operators fail to keep it updated once the shine wears off. Also "new media" rules can apply, ie spelling errors, grammar issues, no fact checking. A class act resto WILL have a website...leave fb for the 12 yr old girls, but sheesh, even they are shunning it more and more. Taste and style? That's another conversation. A good designer/programmer will NOT want to include flash, music, blinkies, etc.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                      "Most" times. On what do you base this? I have "liked" quite a few local restaurants on FB, and all but one keep their FB page up to date. None of them have spelling and grammar errors.

                                                                                      And of course, your assertion about "12 year old girls" is simply a cheap shot at something you don't like.

                                                                                      "A class act resto WILL have a website." Define "class act" please.

                                                                                      1. re: jmckee

                                                                                        -I can point to several restos in my area that started fb pages, then let them wither...pretty sure that's not a unique quality of my area - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pattie... and http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9147...

                                                                                        -Nobody really likes fb, hate to break that one to you...even the 12 yr old girls have grown bored of it. Source - various tech journals and sites I monitor
                                                                                        http://time.com/1405/facebook-is-abou...
                                                                                        http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/01/2...

                                                                                        -Class Act - An operation that cares enough to present itself professionally, accurately and correctly to the public, rather than thru an app on a damn iphone
                                                                                        http://www.forbiddencitybistro.com/or...
                                                                                        http://www.jgilberts.com/home.aspx?826
                                                                                        http://2hopewell.com/Pages/2HopewellM...

                                                                                        We're done here

                                                                                        1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                                                                          I like Facebook. So your statement "Nobody really likes fb" is false.

                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                            I like facebook, too. Not every part of it, no. But I still use it and enjoy keeping in touch with friends and family there. So, yeah, another point against nobody liking facebook.

                                                                                    2. I agree, a lot of places I have tried to look up that are local only have an abandoned Facebook page. Not even an email address. They often won't reply to messages via Facebook either.

                                                                                      That's my experience with smaller food places, but also non-food related services such as salons where I would want to ask if a certain style is within their limits, and I would need to message them online to show them a picture, since I can't show a picture by describing it on the phone, and don't want to go through the hassle of going in-person.

                                                                                      Alternatively, you could try seeing if they have a menu on specialty restaurant delivery sites like eat24hours.