Why is it that restaurant websites make either finding or browsing their menu so difficult? For instance, McDonald’s menu takes a few clicks to get to and once you do, you are simply given a single choice to view a lackluster PDF document. I’m not sure about you, but to me, a picture is worth a thousand words, it can even persuade me to try something new.
So who is to blame, the restaurant or the web designer. The answer is most likely both. Food photographs need to be professionally taken and this can be very expensive for restaurant owners. Simply grabbing your digital camera and snapping a few shots on your own does not do that filet mignon any justice. Technique and lighting can really make an image stand out from the others. Imagery is what is going to trigger that appetite and encourage viewers to visit.
On the other end, linking to a PDF is the quick and easy way out. I admit as a web designer, I cringe when I have to resort to tedious re-typing and feel my time could be better spent elsewhere. However, this time it is important because it is what will make a website more successful. By offering a web version menu, the accessibility of a menu increases as well as the options to include more detail or additional photographs that could otherwise not be listed in a printed menu mainly due to lack of space. The PDF version can still be kept for restaurants who feel their menu needs to be printed at home or at the office most often for take-out.
Restaurants and web designers need to take that extra time and money and do it right in the first place. The return on investment will come, and in time generate even more for both parties involved.