I'm curious about the thought process restaurateurs go through when plotting their web presence. 'A picture, logo and marketing blurb on the main page. Maybe a link to the menu. Ooh--how 'bout a photo gallery. OK, let's stick the address here under "contact" so it's out of the way. Think that's it.'
Yes, many of them choose to bury their address. But there's an even more puzzling problem. Why do some of them, when designing their site, forget (or refuse) to post their hours of operation?
This would seem fundamental, right? Guests want to know three things, right off the top: cuisine, location and whether or not the damn place will be open.
From time to time (in a minority of cases, yet far too frequently) this last bit of information just isn't listed on web sites. Yeah, I know you can easily pick up the phone. If you're already online, however, and don't wish to use up cell plan minutes...
The other day I decided a trip to Grapevine might be in order--if, perchance, the lounge-restaurant called Chill happened to open on Sunday. Flipped through their site for a few minutes without success. Tried a couple other locations, hoping for convenience sake they listed Chill's hours, but to no avail.
Oh, one suggested the place opened daily, but I didn't quite trust it. So I finally called, only to reach voice mail.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
Now, the lounge's management must be in cahoots with the nation's cell plan providers, for the recorded voice dragged in slow motion--word, pause, word, pause, word, pause--also without mentioning their hours of operation.
So haven't you guys (who are guilty of this) heard of customer service? Did you attend a Dick Cheney seminar on information, where you learn the public doesn't have a right to know? I understand business hours may change at any time. But that's the beauty of a web site--you can update it instantly and keep guests informed, maybe even attract a few new customers.
We stopped using the phrase "information age" when the bubble burst on those unkempt hordes once occupying much of the city's office space with their '.com' companies. That doesn't mean we no longer crave information.
My plea is this: put the stuff potential diners want to know up front. Pretty basic request.