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Restaurant websites: Some unsolicited advice

Chef, Computer, Recipe, Restaurant, Internet, Food, Laptop, Italian

Chef, Computer, Recipe, Restaurant, Internet, Food, Laptop, Italian Culture, French Culture, Three-dimensional Shape for Erica Marcus ( iStock) Credit: iStock

1. If at all possible, have a website. Even if it’s just one page with no pictures. Folks who drive by your restaurant or hear it mentioned will want to refer to a website. If this is beyond your means, consider a Facebook page. (Your teenager can help you do this.) If Facebook is beyond your means, have an answering machine. Seriously: I regularly call restaurants without answering machines. If no one is there, the phone just rings off the hook. (Your outgoing message should include the name of the restaurant, its address and its hours of operation.)

2. Please, please, please put your address and phone number and hours on the homepage of your website. Do not make me guess on which tab (Contact us? About us? Directions?) this crucial information resides. Ninety percent of the time I am looking at a restaurant website, this is all I want to know.

3. No music on the website. If I wanted to hear “That’s Amore” during work, I’d bring a Dean Martin CD to the office. Nor do I want to start searching all over the site to figure out if there’s a “sound off” button to push. Nor do I want to adjust the volume controls on my computer. I just want to read your website in silence.

4. Please do not make me endure an elaborate Flash animation of waves crashing against the shore or the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle coming together to form a photograph of your dining room. I just want to know your address, phone number and hours. (See No. 2.)

5. Be current, or be silent. I am interested in upcoming events --  but not if they up and came in 2009. Likewise, I am very happy to look at your menu, but not if it is touting your winter specials. And speaking of menus …

6. If you post a menu, please list the prices. If I don’t see them I will assume that a) they are higher than they should be and b) you are aware of this.

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