Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Restaurant Web Site Do's and Don'ts

Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post recently held a reader roundtable of what folks want in a restaurant website. Here's an excerpt of what he wrote:

When I invited participants of my food discussion group, Sietsema's Table, to tell me what they most wanted from a restaurant's Web site, I got an eyeful.

At the top of diners' wish lists: descriptions of dress codes, driving instructions, the ability to make reservations online, current menus with up-to-date prices, Metro accessibility information, hours of operation, photos of the restaurant's entrance and interior, and information regarding special needs...

What a lot of diners say they don't want from a Web site: flash, animation and, as another poster put it, "music that makes my co-workers think I'm on a porn site when I'm just trying to find a menu."

I love some of the other comments in the roundtable, especially "if you need a button labeled 'Skip Intro,' you need to remove that intro."

How would the websites of Howard County restaurants fare? Some of them not too well. A website is at least as important as the restaurant's front door and street appeal. I get aggravated when the website is out of date or lacks basic information, and while I don't want to make this blog a place to flame on specific sites, I'll make it a point to let restaurateurs know when their site could use an update. You can too.

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