Restaurants without websites

Just recently I once again came across two restaurants that I wanted to go to but simply couldn’t find any information about outside of their Facebook pages. I know that having an up-to-date website is not part of their core competency, but at least I for one absolutely love to look up a restaurant’s menu before I go there.

In fact, I think a restaurant’s website only has to answer a very short list of questions:

  1. Where are they and can I use a delivery service with them?
  2. Do I need to make a reservation and if so then how?
  3. When are they open and might there be a special event on a given date for which the location is only available to a closed group?
  4. What’s their menu (including prices please!)
  5. How can I pay? Do I need to go to an ATM before coming or are cards fine?

On the technical side there is one last must-have: The site has to look somehow usable on a phone… I really don’t want to have to pinch and zoom my way around 20 submenus just to find out what’s on the menu.

Outside of these 5+1 points that I consider mandatory, there are additional things that might be good to know like how the place looks like. Usually, things like Google reviews, Foursquare etc. already do quite a good job there, so IMO a restaurant’s website does not need to have a photo gallery containing hundreds of pictures from every single holiday party they’ve had so far. So pictures would still be nice, though, in order to get a feeling for the place.

At this point I’m not sure why a restaurant wouldn’t have at least a domain for a very minimal website and e-mail. Perhaps they don’t know that some folks really prefer that over Facebook or it’s just too much distraction from actually managing the location. I somehow want to help especially smaller places with that but, honestly, this should be a job for the WKO.

A couple of years ago I also heard of some folks who just created restaurant websites for places they really liked and then simply gifted them to the owners. While that’s a nice gesture, it won’t help in the long run as someone has to maintain that page. Even if your website only answers the 5 questions I’ve listed above, at least the opening hours and menu will change over time. A website that contains outdated information isn’t helping anyone. People have to be able to make such changes themselves without having to pay someone again and again.

Perhaps something like that would be a fun pro-bono side project where a couple of developers/designers could collaborate under strict rules as to what kind of businesses they’d provide such a service to. I don’t have any concrete plans on that front but I think it would be fun and immensely useful for people who want to get started with their restaurant 🙂 This might also be a nice use-case for Netlify + Hugo + NetlifyCMS (or something similar) 🤔😅

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Alternatively, I'm also experimenting with Webmentions. If you write a post on a blog that supports this technique, I should get notified about your link 🙂