It's a cry that's been uttered many times: Why are restaurant websites so bad? Why do web designers, in cahoots with chefs and owners, think that we want to see a fancy Flash presentation collage of your restaurant and hear smooth jazz but we have no interest in say, the hours, or address, or access to a reservation?
It's such a confounding problem that last year Slate wrote a whole article on the issue, coming up with a few theories about why even great restaurants tend to have terrible websites, including this one:
Restaurant sites are the product of restaurant culture. These nightmarish websites were spawned by restaurateurs who mistakenly believe they can control the online world the same way they lord over a restaurant.
I'm unsure whether this is the case, or whether restaurateurs simply lack the skills to set up sites for themselves then get hoodwinked by web developers who sell them site designs that look real purty (as long as you're not on a smartphone, in which case you can't see it at all) but fail to do what users want: Deliver basic information.
Well, it seems that the folks over at WordPress have noticed the lack of tools for restaurants to create their own functional websites, and have set up Confit, software designed to do just that. Much like WordPress' easy to use blog software, Confit allows restaurants to create a website that has pretty pictures, but also easily accessible information. From the explanatory webpage:
When looking at common restaurant site problems, one of the first issues that sprang to mind was how often broken animations, inaccessible information and bloated PDFs are foisted upon us when using our smartphones, when all we really need is a phone number and tappable address.
Amen!! The software and resulting websites emphasize easily-accessed contact info, menus, embedded Google maps for directions, and access to Open Table reservations if the restaurant uses the online reservation system. As with WordPress' blog software, the downside is that the website must be housed on wordpress.com. As a user, I can say definitively that doesn't bother me one tiny bit if it means cleaner, easier-to-use restaurant websites.
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