Why Are Restaurant Websites So Bad #2

I’ve spent quite a bit of time this month putting together Christmas and New Year’s Eve roundups. Once again, I am, to say the least, quite annoyed.

Iorio Restaurant, why am I sent to a landing page to choose between a “Flash site” and a “Mobile/Ipad Users” site? It is easy to detect what device people are using. While I’m at it, why do you still have Flash? Out of 80+ restaurants that I checked, none use Flash – except yours. (A huge change since 2010)

Urban Farmer, it was 3:30 in the morning, and I was happily drinking a hot buttered rum. Why did loud and obnoxious music vomit from your site? It  made the dog run out of the room. Who does this anymore?! Is it 2009? Even worse, in a feeble attempt to find information on your upcoming events, I clicked over to Facebook, where I found nothing. Then I clicked the back button and once again loud music blared. Perhaps it is my fault for listening to Lorde at a high volume earlier that evening, but what the hell?!

Old Salt Marketplace, in this day and age, why do you not have your address anywhere on your website? A n y w h e re – I checked every damn page. It kills me that I had to leave your site and go to Google to find it.

Why is it that so many restaurants still don’t have an address or phone number on their home page? It should be on every page! Are you so desperate for clicks that I have to dig through the entire site to find the address or hours?

Why, if you even show a menu on your website, is it listing the “Seasonal Summer Specials”, when I’m looking out the window at rainy winter day?

Why are there so many sites with pages that say “coming soon!” – they said that last year too when I was working on these lists.

Lots of websites now have calendars. In my naiveté, the first few times I came across one I stupidly thought, “oh, this will make my research easy!” That was before I found out they were blank. What’s the freaking point?!

Many websites have event pages, but the last one listed is in June. If you aren’t going to keep your events page updated, why have one?

How about just putting “Sample Menu” instead of “View our menu”, which takes me to one dated November 2009″?

I know blogs are all the rage now, but why is your most recent entry eight months ago? Nothing shows you care more than a 2011 post about a wine event. I started copying information from a NY Eve post, when I realized it was from 2012. Just have the link removed – it takes a developer about 10 minutes!

Facebook/Twitter links really got me going. In a misguided attempt to find something – anything about your New Year’s Eve events, I made the mistake of clicking on some of them and found I had suddenly “liked” your page. If there was a way to “dislike” it, I would after that stunt! Be like the other 90% of websites, and just link to the damn Facebook page. Sometimes you get points for being a grunion.

Speaking of which, what is the point of having a Facebook page when you obviously haven’t been to it in ten months? Ten months! Additionally, you don’t answer emails that are sent to it. The same seems to happen with Twitter feeds. Just have the icons removed from your website if you are so burned out on your businesses that you don’t care enough to spend five minutes on an update every week – or hire a PR person to do it for you.

Saucebox, when I go to your home page, it opens halfway down the screen – after the fold as the kids say. I have to scroll up to view your site! Yeah, that’s intuitive.  It took me way too long to figure out that your Facebook and Twitter icons were at the top of the page. Once again I am searching for something that should be easy to find.

Kinara Thai Bistro, your website is slightly better than when I wrote my first post, but hire a different developer. When I click on “Menu”, I get a page with “Click here to view our menu”. Hello, I just did that! How much rum did I put in this drink? One would think that I could click on the big menu icon and finally get to see it, but no, I have to point exactly to the little “click here…” button. Argh!

Kinara

Your philo sophy? Perhaps I’m missing something here. Perhaps you are paying for background by the inch. Perhaps I’m just not cool enough to see why it should be broken up like this, but it all seems stupid to me.

Am I finished? No! How come restaurants think that the smallest possible Facebook/Twitter icons are going to get my attention. I found a couple that were literally less than 1/4 inch tall. To add insult to injury, they were light grey against a white background. Once again I ask, what’s the freaking point? Your developer might have 16 year old eyes, but chances are, most of your clientele do not.

Oh, and before I forget, what’s the deal with photo galleries that don’t have anything in them? Your website has been around for three years, and you’ve yet to have anything happen in the restaurant that is worth taking a quick picture of? That sounds like somewhere I want to go!

Moving on, if you are going to post a New Year’s Eve event on your website, why is it displayed under “Menu”, but not under oh, I don’t know… “Events”?

And finally, a light blue page background with white letters? A white background with grey letters? Are you insane?!

Damn! I feel so much better now.

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. Ross Pullen says

    Food Dude! How refreshing to know that I am not the only one who sees no rhyme or reason why the websites areso damn deplorable and lacking. I often think it can be blamed on the ridiculous trend of graphics these days”Let’s be different because we surely do not want to do something “old school” that always has worked”. The no address cracks me up. They must figure everyone has a smartphone surgically sewn into their hand…..there for quick look-ups and such.
    It is almost like the many restaurants built nowadays that have NO SIGN or one so small or out of view that it can’t be seen from the street or even walking by.. Misplaced entitlement is the only thing that I can figure. This action seems to be second nature and it never entered their minds that good business practices are so important. The law of first impressions! Web sites are what the yellow pages used to be. Information & easy access so people will come to eat and drink!
    I am going to read your #2 again , I know that I will get even more from the text. THANKS AGAIN.

  2. pdxyogi says

    Thanks FD, you hit all my pet peeves! Ugh I can’t stand when I send an email to their Facebook account and they don’t even read it. Ken Wright & Tabor Bread did that. Why have a mode of customer inquiry and then not respond to them?

  3. Jo Ross says

    Yes, to all of the above… thank god I’m not crazy and others notice these frustrating trends as well. Additionally- my pet peeve: to all restaurants, please please please put your CURRENT hours, open to close (as in 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM) and not simply “open til close” (grrrrrrr! what the hell does that mean?). And, when your hours change, as they are wont to do, UPDATE your website. Immediately! I shouldn’t have to call before every visit to every restaurant to verify that yes, you are open. Thank you for the platform to vent FD :-)

    • Ross Pullen says

      JO!
      You are so right. It seems like they want to run these places like a food cart in a pod….where you never know if they are going to be open or not. If it’s rainy or cold-CLOSED. There is no sign whatsoever posted stating anything about hours or operations.
      How about this? You call and it is impossible to talk to a live person….or, “the mail box is full”. More grrrrrrr’s. needed here too.

  4. Rick Hamell says

    You forgot one big one, mobile sites that don’t have a menu on them at all. Or the address.

    Or rotating menus that never rotate.

    • Ross Pullen says

      Rick,

      Exactly…more stupid, inexcusable bad business decisions. It is beyond me. Maybe it is an extension of the spelling mistakes and the grammar errors we see everywhere? (I also could be one of the culprits here)

  5. Theresa says

    1. Location
    2. Hours of operation
    3. Phone number

    All together! On the front page, or at the very least, on the “Contact Us” page. But all in one location, please. Hate looking up the address in one place and the hours in another.

  6. Ross Pullen says

    Theresa,
    Who should be held accountable for their own content they are paying for(that sounds idiotic)? The web designer,the merchant/restaurant owner or other. The yellow page folks would not allow you to put an ad in w/o these things,at least 2 of the three.

  7. Jo says

    Good point Ross…. although to be honest, the end result is that I go elsewhere. When I call to verify hours, only to get a “mailbox full” message or no answer at all, or worse- show up to find the venue closed, I get frustrated, a little resentful, and then I go somewhere else. I can’t be the only one! While I’m ranting about this hours issue: plea to Portland restaurants: PLEASE stay open past 9. Some of us work late and like to eat well. And some of us just eat late. Frustrating that I have to hunt for open places and find myself staring at the door of fast food or McMenamins because that’s all I have to choose from.

  8. Ross Pullen says

    After experiencing all of the restaurant habits,decisions and trends for the last years I have come to this decision. They (on purpose or not) are fixated on themselves and not on the customer, for which without they would not be open.At every turn they seem to be saying,” you are lucky we exist so tough, if you don’t like what we are doing”.
    Now…being a restaurant consultant,owner and chef for the best part of 40 years, if a potential new restaurant person comes to me and says,”Help me do the right thing. I want to succeed at this venture”.I think they will actually have an easy time of it. Cater to the customer (as one is likely to do if successful)and you are on the road to experiencing that fulfillment.

  9. Jimster says

    In researching a trip to the San Diego area we went on a couple of weeks back I learned a few things.

    1) if you think Portland restaurant websites are not always what they should be try the SD area restaurant sites.
    2) A surprising number of restaurants do not have websites.
    3) There is a reason there is no site called sandiegofoodanddrink.com.

  10. Ross Pullen says

    San Diego web sites? My home town.
    I have not looked,but I will take your word for it. Too laid back is the norm down there. Most places don’t sweat for customers because of the tourists and the locals….plenty to go around.I would imagine the chains are the only ones with complete sites.
    I sold fancy foods for 2 years down there in the 80′s and found some interesting facts. They pay the kitchen staff practically nothing. They count on the folks from below the border. # 1-they are glad to have work and never quit #2- they teach them certain skills and do not need high priced school trained help #3- If one does quit,there are 10 waiting in line for the job.Restaurants down there make a bundle of pesos,even though the average price for a Cal. hard liquor license is $100,000. plus!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *