I have to make a plea for simplicity. Please, restaurant owners, I won’t judge your restaurant’s website for not having an intro page with an idyllic farm on it or arty photos of carrots. I just want to see what’s on your menu. Judging from the humorous Chowhound discussions on this subject, I’m not alone in my desire for restaurant websites to get back to basics.

Here are some things that should be banned from restaurant websites:

1. Flash animated intro pages. Please, I just want to check out your menu or get your phone number. I don’t need to see the logo assemble itself letter by letter, or have each element of the navigation bar move into place before I can click it. Nor do I need to be greeted with a soft-focus slideshow of dishes cycling painfully slowly, with misty transitions. This is especially annoying when the site does not provide a “skip” option.

2. Not listing prices. I realize, particularly in the world of seasonal and local, the menu will change often and prices will, too. But at least provide a sample menu with sample prices so people can gauge what they’re getting into when going to eat at your place.

3. Automatically playing schmaltzy piano music. Or trance. Or jazz. Or any music, ever, that auto-plays. Please, don’t do it. It’s cheesy, annoying, and busts people at work when they want to fantasize about where they’re going to eat later. It’s really, really egregious when the controls to stop the music are impossible to find. Same goes for any soundtrack of background ambiance: a crowd partying, clinking glassware, and so on.

4. Listing basic info under cryptic, “clever” navigation headings. Make it easy to find your address and phone number without making people guess what to click.

What is your biggest restaurant website peeve?

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Image source: Flickr member Mess of Pottage under Creative Commons
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