Maybe it’s just me, but since I both eat a lot and am constantly connected online, I can’t fathom why some restaurants don’t have websites. Really, it’s not hard to run into some wank who can set up a WordPress blog in a few hours (*cough*). Even a splash page with an address and telephone number would suffice.
Actually, I’ll take the latter over the overused and overwrought Flash intros that impede my getting to what I want – usually an address or a phone number. Ugh. And don’t get me started on mystery-meat navigation.
However, even worse than no website is a broken and outdated one. With everyone owning some kind of smartphone and downloading applications to extend their amusement on the go, restaurants should be primed to take advantage of the indecisive masses. Like a Magic 8-Ball, give the Urbanspoon iPhone app a shake and your answer will be revealed. Alas, when you get there, it’s closed! Too bad that the information taken from the resto’s website was wrong. Net result? Disgruntled and irritated people who will share their misfortune with others the following day. Not the best way to let people know about your change of hours.
It’s probably because I do this day in and day out, but it’s just so trivial to get something set up and to maintain. Not only that, it shouldn’t be any harder (or less essential) than getting business cards or putting an ad into the local paper. Every time I can’t find a website or more frequently, a bad one, I have the urge to contact the owners and plead with them to just let me fix things! A meal in exchange for a splash page – everyone wins!
Sometimes, I feel like I need to carry a sign – Will Code For Food.
May 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm
Couldn’t agree with you more. The state of restaurant websites is horrible. There should be a restaurant website standard developed that everyone can adhere to in terms of presenting the important information. And what’s more, I really dislike the various services that host dozens of resto websites. I find they just make things worse. I bet the reason many websites are poorly maintained is because these very networks most likely provide crappy tools for management of content.
The site and admin need to be dead simple. But also, the restaurant needs to make it someone’s responsibility to keep the site current.
May 5, 2009 at 9:10 pm
I think a big part of the problem is that restaurants don’t _care_ about having a current — or any — website. (They may be justified — I suspect people like you, me, and Jen are in the minority of restaurantgoers.) And so firms that sell cookie-cutter website designs have swooped in knowing there’s easy money to be made; restaurants are more than happy to outsource this sort of thing the same way they outsource their garbage disposal or linen.
it’s all the more sad because, as Jen said, it would be cheaper and so much more effective to have a 1-page site with contact info, hours, and directions — no upkeep necessary and dead easy to develop with NO FLASH. A win for everyone.
it seems all hope is NOT lost though as I’m noticing quite a few local restauranteurs setting up (and updating!) Twitter feeds. Certainly Twitter is a big fad these days, but increased technology-restaurant “fusion” can only help matters.
May 6, 2009 at 4:00 pm
Totally agree with you.
I especially HATE those Flash intros. those never work on smartphones either. so if I needed their address in a hurry, I just end up getting frustrated.
I’m with you.