ChittahChattah Quickies
By Julie Norvaisas at 6:12 pm, Tuesday August 09 2011

Overdone: Why are restaurant websites so horrifically bad? [Slate.com] – It’s true! Restaurant websites are terrible! Farhad Manjoo gives us a fun and interesting analysis of what has led to us having to endure music and pdfs and pointless flash dohickeys and long page-load times to get to things like the food and prices and what the restaurant looks like.

Over the last few weeks I’ve spent countless hours, now lost forever, plumbing the depths of restaurant Web hell. I also spoke to several industry experts about the reasons behind all these maliciously poorly designed pages. I heard several theories for why restaurant sites are so bad-that they can’t afford to pay for good designers, that they don’t understand what people want from a site, and that they don’t really care what’s on their site. But the best answer I found was this: Restaurant sites are the product of restaurant culture. These nightmarish websites were spawned by restaurateurs who mistakenly believe they can control the online world the same way they lord over a restaurant.

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5 Responses to “ChittahChattah Quickies”

    I enjoyed the article too – no kidding restaurant sites are all the pits, even those in the Bay Area where I’d expect folks to know better.

    My theory for this: they all look at each others’ sites and do what their peers do. After all, if restaurant A does it, then it must be good!

    there’s a lesson for every web designer (and product sponsor) here: map out what the site needs to do, then focus on that and that alone.

    Comment by Linda 08.10.11 @ 12:01 pm


    Linda – your theory maps nicely onto our Quickie thread from a couple days ago exploring the influence of peers and bias. I think it’s so interesting that the web sites seem to want to create a sensory experience at the expense of practical information. Yelp does a much better job of conveying the desired information and previewing the experience, even if it is hopelessly biasing us in the process!

    Comment by Julie Norvaisas 08.10.11 @ 12:09 pm



      love it! thanks! I have to say that I am almost a fan of these horrible websites, but an even bigger fan of a good snarky response!

      Comment by Linda 08.11.11 @ 1:03 pm


    thanks for pointing out this great article — i too have noticed that many restaurants have bad websites but never gave much thought to the reasons behind (other than assuming the owners were like many small businesspeople who lack the savvy to know what makes a good site) — restaurateur arrogance definitely makes sense and speaks to the cultural change restaurant organizations must undergo if they want to grow.

    Comment by denise lee yohn 08.13.11 @ 5:59 pm