A plea to all restaurant web site creators

Please stop with the Flash-only sites. If you must have a Flash site, please provide a plain HTML alternative, for those of us who might want to visit your site in a hurry, or on our Plain Jane cell phones.

For goodness sake, please get rid of those annoying, meaningless, splash pages. That is so 1998.

You want a useful front page that your customers would really appreciate? Put your address, your reservation phone number, and hours of operation there.

Please take a little time to convert your menu to HTML. Stop with the PDF-only menus! If you must, provide a 'typical' menu in HTML and then a link to your current PDF menu. But PDF-only menus? I'm not even going to bother. And this is coming from someone who makes their living from PDF programming.

AND FOR CRYING OUT LOUD STOP WITH THE AUTOMATICALLY PLAYING MUSIC!

Thank you. Have a great day.

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Comments

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Since I work in a field tightly related to online restaurant marketing I have been saying this for years. Very difficult to get the message across though. Part of the problem is that with an inaccesible, non spiderable, complicated, annoying web site you never get to see what traffic and potential customers you actually lose out on.

Did I say thank you?

// Manne

--
http://manne.typepad.com/tummyrumble/
http://www.linkedin.com/in/hultberg

Al I got to say is this:

"YOU GO GIRL" Two thumbs up!

G

yess!!

Ditto, ditto, ditto!!!

but the more people who Just Say No to Flash Sites the better. Dear restaurant, I'm looking for a menu, a phone number and an address. The speed and ease with which I can get them has a direct impact on whether I dine with you or somebody else.

Side issue, if I do visit, please turn down the music. Thanks.

I think I love you. I thought I was the only one sitting there muttering under my breath about pdf menus.

Yes, yes, a zillion times yes. Location, hours, phone number, parking?, and menus. That's all I want. I don't need a slide-show of stills to decide to eat there.

The big problem is, BTW, that one company in Toronto, MenuPalace, pretty much seems to have a monopoly on creating restaurant websites, and they believe that Flash and PDFs are clearly the way to go. Cut off the head, MenuPalace, and the lousy websites would die.

The big problem is, BTW, that one company in Toronto, MenuPalace, pretty much seems to have a monopoly on creating restaurant websites, and they believe that flash and PDFs are clearly the way to go. Cut off the head, MenuPalace, and the lousy websites would die.

Linked from a different site, and I can't agree more. It drives me crazy!

I couldn't agree with you more. Beyond the annoying slow loading flash pages they are also the best way to ensure your website doesn't get top ranking on the search engines. Although search engines can "read" the inside of the flash files, but they can follow links or interpret different text formatting options. If one must have flash on the site, it's recommended to keep it under 25% of the content area.

I work for a beautiful company founded on these exact principles. It is amazing to see the number of Restaurants that are proud of their Flash sites. Many of them are over charge for their site by greedy web developers. Its sad to see them get gouged. We are trying to change this. We help the restaurant by being a trusted source that they can go to. Help us spread the word. The more restaurants that we help the better the overall experience will be for all of us.

www.goTMN.com

You hit all my problems with restaraunt websites on the dot. Thanks for using your well-known and very popular voice to mention this annoying issue!

Ah, crap! It drives me crazy when I spell a word wrong. So I would like to change restaraunt to restaurant. I'm laughing at myself now, but I had to correct it.

ditttttttttooooooo

You rock, maki :D

So true. Same goes for movie websites too! It seems like very few people realize that, even though they look pretty, Flash websites often take irritatingly long to load. People get bored and wander off!

And yes, automatic music needs to die a horrible, firey death.

Hey! You're so right.

One of my best friends has gone slowly blind and is now an activist fighting for greater public access for people with low or no vision. His big complaint lately is that he can't use sites like Pandora (music service) at all, and even networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are practically impossible for him to navigate.

His computer can read HTML-based pages aloud, but when everything is Flash-driven, the page may as well be broken altogether. It's something to think about when designing a site!

Clearly we've all had enough of the dancing bologna.

Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for saying exactly what I was thinking. When I'm planning a luncheon outing with my mom, I often like to send her the menu, or a link to a simple menu. I was just trying to do this with Noodles and Company and my choices were flash (that she would have to navigate to) and pdf.

Framed pages are also annoying, because I can't send her directly to the menu page.

I also agree with the need for a place's hours of operation to be easy to find. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to search all over a site to find the hours (or sometimes they aren't there or are incorrect).

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