I recently saw this cartoon on a website called The Oatmeal, the work of a clever young web designer named Matthew Inman. The post was titled What I Want From a Restaurant Website.
During my years as a Corporate Concierge, I must have visited hundreds, maybe even thousand of restaurant and other hospitality-oriented websites and believe me when I say most of them were good, but some were bad and many were just really bad.
This cartoon says it all. Take a look at some of the things that turn customers off when they visit your restaurant’s website.
What Makes A Really Bad Restaurant Website?
The last thing your customers want when they are looking at a website is music. Loud music. Even if you are a nightclub or music venue, give the customer the option to play music when visiting your website and place the mute button in a prominent place on the web page.
Flash websites are gorgeous, impressive and (let’s admit it) flashy, but while your Flash website is loading, customers are clicking away to another website. Also, more and more people access the internet on their smartphones, some of which do not support Flash. Your Flash website is a just blank screen on their iPhone or iPad.
On the technical side, Flash sites are not easily searched by Google and other search engines, which means you are missing out on value traffic. If your site is built on Flash instead of HTML, you have essentially blocked all of your text and links in a format that search engines can’t crawl. The search engine spider simply cannot “see” your web site, making it likely to put you last in the search engine rankings. Not a good place to be.
What Makes The Perfect Restaurant Website?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but please include links to your menus in PDF form. Be sure make reduce the file size. Do you really want someone’s computer to freeze when they download your 15 megabyte lunch menu? Provide separate links for the breakfast, lunch, dinner or whatever menus you offer. If there are special events like Valentine’s Day dinner or Mother’s Day Brunch, include those menus as well.
Catering and Private Event Space
During my Concierge days, I spent hours researching event space for corporate events, menus, private event space and other facility information. Often I was referred to the Catering Manager who would “return my call later“. By the time they returned my call (two or three days later) I had already found what I needed on a website that had PDFs of their catering menus and diagrams of h
Online Reservation System
Provide a way for customers to make reservations online. If you use Open Table or another reservations system, make the link prominent and easy to find.
Your Address and Hours of Operation
Give new and potential customers a helping hand by including your street address and a link to Google Maps or Map Quest, which will guide them directly to your front door.
Are you closed for lunch? Not open on Sundays? Close at 8 pm? Include your hours of operation to avoid confusion and upsetting customers who arrive at your restaurant, only to find a closed sign.