Why are restaurant websites so bad?
“Taylor is all about motion and energy,” says Hamilton. “And I think it’s just about communicating the essences of each branch appropriately for the site.”
But as fun and engaging as the website is, how practical is it for someone who’s simply looking for a menu and address?
Hamilton says it’s OK to use Flash in moderation.
“Flash, video, and music… it requires a bit of a balancing act. You really just have to be careful using them. I think one of the main goals with anything we design, is to give people knowledge, and so ultimately any design shouldn’t detract from that.”
Accessibility is key
When I visited Taylor Gourmet’s website on my iPhone and Blackberry, I got its mobile site instead: a simple page featuring the restaurant’s menu. A quick click and a tap on the location link led me to their phone number and address.
Mike Silber, designer and founder of Reblis, an independent design firm focused on digital media, says mobile-friendly sites just make sense.
Silber also strongly believes that websites should include social media links for customers to engage with them through Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare.
But of course, that’s assuming the restaurants are using social media.
While the use of social media among restaurants is certainly on the rise — 43 percent of restaurants surveyed by Nation’s Restaurant News say they plan to amp up their social media efforts even more this year — there are still some establishments that haven’t quite latched on to the concept of social engagement just yet.
Chefs and restaurants that actively engage with others through Twitter and Facebook have the advantage of getting valuable feedback from their patrons than establishments that don’t follow other people on Twitter and merely tweet out the day’s specials.
For instance, Equinox Restaurant does a good job of interacting with others. It tweets about food industry-related news and events, replies to Twitter users, and will even support and promote other dining establishments. Georgetown Cupcake, on the other hand, only follows two accounts — TLC's, as well as one shared by the shop's owners — does not interact with anyone, and quite frankly, is just a boring Twitter account to follow.
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