13 CommentsMarch 3, 2009
We pulled from personal experiences and the testament of our network to highlight some of the key pieces of info that people look for when visiting a restaurant’s website.
If your restaurant has been recommended by a trusted source, it’s likely that your site visitor already knows who you are and what you serve. But don’t leave it to chance. Have an easy to find summary of what cuisine you deliver and the vibe your space gives off. While it’s highly convenient to have this info on your front page, you could also go into more detail on a dedicated About page.
Take a look at Fude, a restaurant in Winnipeg’s Osborne Village. A highly visual graphic header and descriptive About page tells you about their regional focus and already makes you curious to dine there.
Location and hours
Don’t make your readers work to find where you’re located and when you’re open. Many restaurant websites include this critical information at the top or bottom of every page. We like that.
If you wish to be even more helpful, list a clearly marked Location page with an embedded map (a Google map, for example) and link to a service that can provide custom directions.
We like how Seattle’s Le Pichet does it.
Online menu and pricing
One of the first things we do when choosing a restaurant from a list of possibilities is to compare menus. Some nights call for a culinary adventure. Other times, humble, homestyle meal will hit the spot. Let site visitors easily figure out what you serve and what you charge.
It may seem easier for you to upload your menus as a PDF download, but your site is not for your convenience: it’s for your customer’s convenience. The best restaurant websites let people peruse the listings as a regular page that loads quickly and is easy to scan.
We love the menu section of Seasons 52.
Photos of your food and space
Although your menu may describe your dishes well and clarify price range, people still want to know what to expect when they walk in the door and when a plate is set in front of them.
To prove that your meals entice, use vibrant food photography from the home page to the deepest corners of your site. Have a special gallery of your wares and decor if you have a collection of great photos. Don’t let your visitors leave your site without craving what you make.
Browse through the photo gallery of Atlanta’s South City Kitchen and see if you can leave it without a little rumble in your tummy.
Reservation instructions or contact info
If a diner has been won over by the allure of your restaurant, a search for phone numbers, email addresses, or reservations instructions may result. Consider integrating a real-time reservation application into your restaurant’s contact section. People do appreciate the convenience.
Common search obstacles
People do not go to restaurant websites to look for:
- Splash screens
- Menus in unusual places
Often, the items above interfere with a diner’s hunt for these 5 things, causing your reader enough frustration to result in a lost table.
It’s time to chat. Please respond to the questions below or let us know which restaurant sites are doing a good job of fulfilling your information search quickly.
Diners: what else do you go to a restaurant website for?
Restauranteurs: how easy does your site make it to find these 5 things? What else do you offer at your restaurant that you promote on your website?
1 CommentMarch 3, 2009
Last fall, Andrew Morrison of Urban Diner fame contacted Tiny Bites Consulting to help out on his new vision: an online magazine on Vancouver food, culture, life, and style.
Over a series of dinner meetings and meet-ups at the lounge in Boneta, we hammered out the specs for a WordPress-powered site with a heavily customized Revolution theme. Scout had a number of goals, such as:
- Building a large, loyal, local readership
- Encouraging online conversations amongst readers and visitors
- Maximizing ad revenue potential
In order to accomplish Scout’s objectives, Tiny Bites Consulting:
- Helped in purchasing scoutmagazine.ca and hosting the site on Bluehost
- Set up WordPress for site management and phpBB for forum management
- Implemented the Scout’s bold, media-rich design to spec using PHP, HTML, and CSS
- Created dynamic sidebars to allow adspace to be unique for the default view and each of the 4 topic categories
- Showed how Twitter can be used to promote articles, distribute polls, attract a wider audience, and encourage conversation
- Tested that the site looked good in the major browsers, mobile devices, and didn’t break in Internet Explorer 6
But don’t take our word for it. Check out the site for yourself.
5 CommentsMarch 3, 2009
Welcome to Tiny Bites Consulting, a Vancouver-based firm that helps local food and hospitality businesses build a presence on the web. Let us take a minute to tell you who we are, what we do, and how this firm had its beginnings.
Who we are
Tiny Bites Consulting is headed up by Karen Hamilton, a project manager who specializes in website, email, and software integration projects. You may also know her as the author of Tiny Bites, the namesake food blog that precipitated the formation of Tiny Bites Consulting.
To meet the unique goals that your web project has, Karen chooses a project team from her network of designers and tech specialists. Sometimes your project is a one-woman job; sometimes Karen becomes your key contact for the team that builds your site. Either way, you can be assured that the people building your website are hand-picked based on your needs.
What we do
We want to rid the city of food websites built entirely in Flash. We’d also like to tackle non-Flash food websites that aren’t getting customers in the door. If we can take on Vancouver, then we’ll try to convince the rest of the world to follow suit.
We’re also here to educate and advise. Some businesses don’t feel that they can afford an online storefront or a big marketing machine. We want to convince you of the far more promising reality of the web – that communications and brand can always be improved, and that there are always possibilities within your price range.
As you can see from Karen’s food blog, you can also take advantage of Karen’s ability to write on the web and take vibrant photography of you, your food, and your events.
Beginnings: the story of Tiny Bites Consulting
We’ll keep it brief – you can always catch Karen in person for all the details.
One year ago, a food blog calling itself Tiny Bites appeared on the net. It followed the adventures of Karen Hamilton as she sampled the culinary delights of Vancouver and beyond. Her approach was a little different from the food blogs of that day – her articles were full of photography and whenever possible, she assessed her experiences with an eye on environmental impact and sustainability.
The site caught the attention of local media, and behind the scenes, inquiries about freelance web work, writing, and photography came trickling in. The trickle soon turned into a tide that caused Karen to come to an epiphany: she could combine her passion and observations about food with her expertise with media projects to help the local small business community. The decision to start her own consulting practice came easily after that.
And that’s why you are now here reading about Tiny Bites Consulting.
Explore our services
Now that you know a little more about us, please take the time to look at what we could do for you.