The Importance of a Restaurant’s Website

One of my repsonsibilities here at Vinoteca is to maintain our website. I go through and check links, reword text, and decide which pictures should be swapped for new more exciting ones. I don’t make any of these changes myself, I simply put all of the desired changes into an e-mail and send it off to our website host propeller. Our aim is to give visitors an idea as to what Vinoteca is all about, as well as provide them with all of the information they are looking for.

Each month we’re sent a file with the stats for our website, which explains how people have arrived there, which pages are most popular, and how long they remain on our site. Visits are incredibly short, which I assume means they are mainly there getting essential information such as our phone number, opening times, and address.

On Friday night, I had dinner with a friend who has recently helped to open a new cafe here in London, and our discussion led us to the revelation that they have decided not to have a website. I know there are many restaurants in London who have opted out of having one (Anchor & Hope group), which doesn’t seem to have reflected negatively on their business.

I personally prefer a website. I like to take the time to check out a restaurant that I would like to visit from the comfort of my home computer, and I appreciate finding the same essential information that our website visitors are searching for. Also, if I have an enjoyable visit I would like to have a link to forward on to my friends so they can visit as well.

I’m interested to hear how other people feel about websites, and how important they are?

What information are you looking for when you visit a restaurant’s website?

Should a newly opened cafe have a website?

Looking forward to some feedback on this one!




Filed under Thoughts on Blogging

13 responses to “The Importance of a Restaurant’s Website

  1. I think if a restaurant is hoping for anything other than passing trade, it is essential. If you’re McDonald’s on Oxford Street then it doesn’t matter, but if you want people to take an interest, give them an inch, let them do their research and whet their appetite.

    Also, get some Google juice from people linking to your site when they post on Yelp, Qype or their own blog just how good it was. Unless of course getting some positive feedback is not what you’re after.

    • Thanks for your comment Anthony,

      I totally agree, I think it’s essential for restaurants to give potential/existing customers what they want opposed to not bothering with a website because they don’t see the importance of having one.

      I am always so frustrated when I’m doing research on wines to write tasting notes and the producer doesn’t have a website, or any quality description of their wines, mainland Europe is especially bad for this.

      Why do they seem to be so far behind?

  2. I think a web presence is an absolute must. Even if it’s one page with your logo, address, phone number and opening hours, you absolutely have to have it.

    People primarily use the web for research, even more so with the advent for smarter phones, so if someone hears your establishment’s name, the first place they’re likely to go is the web. You have to make it easy for people to find you, it’s really that simple, and that’s before we get onto the ramifications of someone else buying your domain name and drastically devaluing your name!

  3. it is extremely impt- and the design of the site itself- Sketch’s website drives me, and many others, *mad*.

  4. I think that a website is definitely the first thing to have. Especially now where everybody is online looking for the new places to go and visit. And with Social media tools such a Twitter, people expect to find a website to find all the information they want.

    As Anthony was saying, it is essential to be registered on the online eating guides and if I can’t find a website that brings me to the restaurant home page, I usually don’t know. I like to have access to the menu but also the pictures to see how the place looks like.

    • Thanks Mathilde for your comment, I agree totally.
      Also, another point I didn’t mention in my post is that websites are a great way to build a database, which is key in so many ways to generating business. Thanks to our mailing list most of our events are sold out in no time, and our website is where people add their name to the list.

  5. I think a website is crucial – and one that’s mobile (or at least smartphone) friendly would be even better. I exclusively get contact/location details from the web and would hesitate to go to a restaurant if there’s no website. I use my iPhone a lot here because it will take me straight to a googlemap of the location so i can determine where and when to meet people.

    To pick up on @mathildescuisine’s point too – some sort of presence on social media sites is also a must. That’s where I go for recommendations (that an blogs) and being on something like qype is very useful for iPhone users. I think more and more passing trade will be determined by places like this because if you fancy some food and you have a smart/iphone then the first thing a lot of people will do is to pull it out and find out what’s close by, what the menu and price is and whether it’s well recommended.

    Finally, I think having Twitter/Facebook accounts and using then to talk to your followers/fans is a great way to engage people and get the word of mouth out there. I know that I have been convinced to return to a place more than once because they communicate with users. It’s also a great way to get noticed by those who have blogs with large followings…

    • Hello Aaron, thanks for your comment, I am really happy for all the feedback on my post.

      Obviously, I have been in charge of representing Vinoteca on twitter etc, so needless to say I am a big supporter of social media and can see the value in engaging with people online.

      I myself use blogs, twitter, and as of Friday foursquare to find places to eat.

      I’ve been very suprised by the numerous skeptics I have come across who fail to accept that social media is a useful tool for interacting with customers, whether feedback is negative or positive it is still good to hear about people’s experiences.

      And as you mentioned, like it or not, almost everyone has an iPhone, and they will use Qype to scope out a venue, if you can’t beat em’, you might as well join them, right?

      • Totally agree – restaurants with Twitter accounts have seen much more of me than those without because I can gauge their personality and quality a bit by the way they do (or don’t) engage. Keep up the good work – it does make a difference!

        And i do like Vinoteca too, I’ll go because I trust it (and because you’re on twitter, it’s always at the forefront of my mind).

    • The Grubworm’s point about getting contact info on the move is crucial. These days I rarely bother checking before I head out, I assume I’ll be able to check online. Usually google does the trick, but even better if you can get it straight from the restaurant’s website.

  6. If you didn’t have a website, I wouldn’t have seen a retweet on Twitter and been able to respond to your excellent post! I agree with others: I think a website is becoming more and more essential. As well as providing vital info like opening times, location and produce, it’s good to be able to link to something you love or hate, and it’s useful to check out the tone of a place.

  7. Pingback: Restaurant websites: the food, the bad and the ugly | Food News And Useful Information

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