WEBSITES! [General]

2010 Apr 16
I can't BELIEVE the amount of Ottawa restaurants that don't have a website!! This is a deal-breaker for me, as if I can't see their menu I don't know if they have any vegetarian options so I will just avoid the restaurant altogether. I find it pretty much inexcusable in this day and age to not have a website established. All you need is 1 page with your menu, hours and location/contact info - it's not hard!

Needed to get this rant off of my chest! :P

2010 Apr 16
Restaurants run on a pretty tight budget. I think that a lot of restaurants would have a website if they weren't concerned with the costs associated with running it.

Also, have you tried They have a lot of menus posted for Ottawa and Kingston? Or, why not call the restaurant? A lot of restaurant websites don't list whether they are accessible to those in wheelchairs or walkers, or those who have problems with stairs. I've accepted that when eating out with my mother, I have to call in advance.

It's a simple yes or no question: Is your restaurant accessible? Do you have vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options on the menu?

I honestly don't see how a website is a deal breaker, particularly if there are other restaurants that cater to your needs in the area.

2010 Apr 16
This would seem like a great business opportunity for someone with a popular food-related website to offer a "vendors" section of the site which vendors could use to provide this sort of information cheaply, and centrally. For a small fee, of course.


I tried that back in 1994 in NS but unfortunately it was a bit ahead of its time.

2010 Apr 16
That's the thing LWB, if there are other restaurants in the area with webpages/menus online I will just go to them instead. It's lazy, but if I can get the information I am looking for from another site easily, I am not going to use my time calling a place and asking them to read me their menu over the phone. A lot of my friends are this way too, and I think it's fairly damaging to your restaurant to not bother with a website. I realise there is a cost involved with it, but take for example The Moonroom or 222 Lyon - I'm sure these places could afford a simple, 1 page website that lists these things - the cost would be negligible and it would increase traffic to the restaurant.

2010 Apr 16
I'm with Cait on this one. When I go out for dinner with my friends and it's my turn to pick having access to menus online makes the job much easier. I can email my dining companions a list of the restaurants I would like to visit with links to their websites so they can let me know if the menu interests them or if it's within their price range.

2010 Apr 16
As a web developer, I'm a bit biased, but I agree that it's inexcusable to not have a website.

There are so many free and/or inexpensive options for getting a basic site up quickly and easily.

I think the problem is sites like and (what most of Ottawa uses) push expensive tools. I know sitebenefits can cost several hundred dollars a month depending on what package you pick (they took down their prices recently - I imagine they get better up-sell when you're forced to talk to a salesperson). If you didn't know any better, you'd probably just assume that's how much it costs to get your restaurant online.

You don't need these specialized and (in my opinion, vastly overpriced) tools to get a basic site up. There are so many free and/or inexpensive options:

Hell, even a Facebook fan page would be better than nothing.

If you want to get more adventurous, there are free and easy to use content management systems like Joomla or Drupal that a lot of web-hosting providers offer as one-click installs. Simple web hosting can be had for $5 a month, and a domain name costs $10 a year (not exactly breaking the bank).

EDIT: I wanted to clarify that I don't think sandwichboard and/or sitebenefits are necessarily bad tools, or that no one should use them. I'm just saying that it doesn't have to cost $100+ a month to get a one-page site up with your menu and hours.

2010 Apr 16
Hm. Maybe I never considered that I pick restaurants that have websites naturally. It's an inherent bias that I have. Cait mentioning The Moonroom and 222 Lyon makes me wonder if the reason I've never been to them is that they don't have websites? Or, if their having a website would make me more inclined to visit...

2010 Apr 16
I definitely am biased against restos that don't have websites. Hubby and I went to Infusion last night, and I definitely wouldn't have chosen it because they don't have a website. I put it on the list for him to consider, and that's where he wanted to go. As a vegan, I like to be able to see if it's even likely that they will be able to offer me something that I can eat before calling to confirm.

I felt so strongly about it that I almost mentioned it to the server when we were there but didn't find the right opportunity. (The place was pretty busy for most of the time that we were there.)

2010 Apr 16
Websites are pretty far down the list of priorities for me. "Inexcusable" is not a word that comes to mind. It might be more of a priority if I'm looking at a higher end place where I've had no word of mouth or haven't read any reviews, but otherwise I choose places based upon what I've heard about them from other people. A lot of small mom and pop places like La Cabana don't have web sites (maybe not a priority or due to costs) and it's not going to stop me from going for pupusas. I'm less interested in what a restaurant has to say about itself (on a website) than what others are saying about it (via word of mouth or print or sites like this). I'm also not one who needs to obsess over a menu before going to a restaurant, as long as I know generally what kind of food I'm going to get and generally how much its going to cost. It's certainly a nice to have but not a deal breaker for me.