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Restaurant Web Design Done Right
Ed Kohler

A Minnesota based web development firm has come up with the best solution to restaurant web design that I've seen to date.

Backing up for a second, what's are the biggest problems with restaurant websites?

- Flash introductions
- No menu
- Can't find the hours
- Can't find location information
- Poor usability because it's entirely in Flash
- Sound!
- Can't find the site in Google
- Not enough pictures
- Site is never updated (probably because it wasn't built using an easy to use CMS)

While there are many ways to build a good restaurant website, they hardly ever seem to end up in the hands of restaurateurs. Instead, they're sold Flash intensive sites that don't answer the very basic questions people have about their businesses. While the sites may look good, they don't put people in seats.

What Five Technology has done is create a platform called Taste Trend that makes it easy for restaurants to create - and more importantly, maintain - a site they can be proud of and prospective diners find useful.

This should be on the short list of web platforms for restaurants considering a website refresh.

By the way, this is not a paid review. I know one of Five Technology's founders but have written this out of frustration with the vast majority of restaurant websites I visit. If they used Five Technology's solution, they could make my life slightly better.




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Comments

1. Posted by: Aaron Weiche on March 16, 2009 1:27 PM:

Thanks for highlighting our service Ed. We've taken your list of peeves and tried to solve those with our solution. Clean design, usability and current info are at the core. The TasteTrend.com site should be up next week with our full offering/details. Thanks again!




2. Posted by: Greg Buchner on March 16, 2009 5:14 PM:

Flash sucks for normal web pages...

There have been many sites that I have just given up on because of flash.




3. Posted by: Kent Nelsestuen on March 17, 2009 12:28 PM:

What amazes me more is how many restaurants have NO website at all. There is a lot of lost take out business because of that - I'm just not willing to call a place and say... so, what do you have?




4. Posted by: Steven Stern on March 24, 2009 4:57 PM:

Flash should be banned from restaurant sites or, in fact, any site which might be checked via iPhone. I get really frustrated when a restaurant's site is a single, monolithic flash app. If I can't quickly find (1) the menu and (2) when they're open, I'm not likely to eat there. As long as I'm on the topic, it's great to have them linked to OpenTable, too. That way, I can find the restaurant, read the menu, and make a reservation all in one.




5. Posted by: Ed Kohler Author Profile Page on March 26, 2009 2:43 PM:

Steven, I think many restaurants are essentially turning over their marketing to OpenTable, UrbanSpoon, and other mobile friendly websites due to their web design decisions. I generally turn to specialty sites for restaurants due to the poor experiences I've had navigating restaurant's own sites from my laptop or phone.




6. Posted by: Dax Turner on March 27, 2009 7:28 AM:

Ed,

This is indeed a good solution for restaurants. But, any idea how it is doing when it comes to search engine placements and leads. Mostly, this kind of solutions dont work well for search rankings. Do you have any example of restaurants using Taste Trend? Moreover, we should give high quality service to clients especially at this time of economy.

Thanks for the post anyways! :)




7. Posted by: Ed Kohler on March 27, 2009 9:51 AM:

Dax, the first site launched on the platform, blackwatercc.com, appears to be well indexed by search engines.




8. Posted by: Bangkok Property on April 20, 2009 4:18 AM:

Yes far to many restaurants sites have no thought in them. I think the best web designers are actually ones who have some marketing experience to go along with their technical knowledge.




9. Posted by: Chris Heath on April 20, 2009 4:22 AM:

An interesting idea to become sector specific in their web designing business.




10. Posted by: Chicago SEO | Rob Buti on May 14, 2009 10:29 PM:

Good points made in your article! I've had the same problem when I was looking for a pizza place online. They had a horrible flash intro and the number wasnt on the home page. Let's not forget that all that flash is horrible for search engine optimization. I have some more SEO tips at Chicago SEO. I've recently eliminated all of these types of problems on some one page sites that I put up with the phone number really big in the header along with a contact form.




11. Posted by: jack lee on May 18, 2009 4:47 AM:

Silicon Web Solutions provides effective, stylish and affordable website design and development. As a well established small business web design company, we can offer a range of reasonable web design services to any small business at affordable custom web design. We offer a complete package of reasonably low cost web design and web development. From the initial process of taking inputs from clients, planning on the basis of such inputs to final implementation and testing – all are done using latest web site designing technique and skills.




12. Posted by: Daniel on May 29, 2009 4:30 AM:

Definitely not enough sound effects. Please, may I have more? I haven't listened to enough shitty sound effects today.




13. Posted by: Shawn on October 19, 2009 7:13 PM:

Great post, esp. regarding Flash. It's amazing how many sites out there insist on making you wait for their pretty graphics to load.

BTW, MassPublisher.com recently launched and specifically allows restaurants to build their own menus, wine lists, maps and other pages and drop them on their existing sites. No Flash is used, and the results are SEO friendly, can be custom themed, etc.

One sample customer: Panera Bread in Aliso Viejo

Keep up the great posts!




14. Posted by: steve on October 21, 2009 1:17 AM:

this one is good post for Restaurant people. We as company have come up special packages for Small business people as well for Restaurant owners. this package is has spl features such as refer friend,Reservation requests, and even map to open table. So i felt just to share the same to all so that people looking for better options can have look at it.




15. Posted by: Ben Hunt (web design consultant) on November 18, 2009 2:01 PM:

I'd always start with thinking through what someone's looking for when they arrive at a restaurant site. I always say the first thing a designer has to do is to answer the new visitor's question "Am I in the right place?". In this case, you do that by showing the right ambiance, making the location clear, and suggesting the price bracket of the establishment.




16. Posted by: Chicago web design on January 17, 2010 12:08 AM:

Flash intros suck, I immediately get off of sites with a flash intro!!! Any restaurant without a menu, number or address on their site is frustrating as hell. I was looking for pizza one night and all of the pizza places in the suburbs of Chicago around me either had no menu or hours of operation and a few had horrible flash intros!




17. Posted by: เครื่องเขียน on January 29, 2010 3:53 AM:

We will find the new application for our restaurant too.




18. Posted by: ทัวร์ยุโรป on February 1, 2010 10:42 AM:

One restaurant I know using PDA like O2 to get the order from client.




19. Posted by: sandwich bags on February 5, 2010 8:33 AM:

Nice looking but less flash is quickly to open. food storage bags




20. Posted by: zipper bags on February 25, 2010 8:51 AM:

Definitely helping us a lot. I think they might interest us too. storage bags




21. Posted by: Web Design Toronto on May 18, 2010 2:16 AM:

There have been various sites that I have just given up on due to flash.




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