Why Are Restaurant Websites So, So Bad?

For the most part, they're stuck in 1999: Farhad Manjoo
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2011 2:51 PM CDT
Why Are Restaurant Websites So, So Bad?
This is what you see when you go to http://www.fleurdelyssf.com/. "That makes sense," writes Manjoo. "When I'm choosing a restaurant, the first thing I want to know is, Can the chef sign his name?"   (http://www.fleurdelyssf.com/)

When you type in the URL of a restaurant website, you're probably looking for information like address, hours, menu, prices, maybe an easy reservation system. Instead, you typically get full-screen photos of the executive chef, links to all their other restaurants, Flash buttons and menus that won't work on your iPhone, and of course, some "auto-playing, royalty-free, ambient techno smooth jazz," writes Farhad Manjoo on Slate. The rest of the web realized quite a while ago that's not the type of thing consumers are looking for, "but restaurant sites seem stuck in 1999." Trying to determine the worst one is "a bit like trying to decide on the most awful serial killer in history."

Why? Certainly it's not a lack of funding: "These food purveyors appear to have spent a great deal of money and time to uglify their pages," and often "the swankier the place, the worse the page." Manjoo got several theories from industry experts, the best of which is that "restaurant sites are the product of restaurant culture," spawned by restaurateurs who want to give you an "experience" online, just as they do at their restaurant. And those restaurateurs, when presented with ideas from web designers who should know better, are likely going to be more impressed with the flashy than the minimalist. Click for Manjoo's entire column, which includes quite a few amusingly terrible examples. (Read more restaurateurs stories.)

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