I was recently approached about building a website for a landmark Kansas City Steakhouse. This is an interesting dilemma for a restaurant industry blogger to face. I have written numerous times about how awful most restaurant websites are. I am not alone in this belief. Any number of articles can be found online about how restaurant websites are not user friendly and generally annoy their guests. After reading these articles, I set out to create a better restaurant website than what I have seen online.
Let me make it clear, I am a restaurant industry blogger. I designed my network of blogs myself because I am frankly far too cheap to pay someone to do it for me. This meant investing dozens of hours in learning how to build a functional website, basic graphic design, and search engine basics. I do not consider myself a website designer, but I do know how to build a website. So I gathered up my list of criticisms about other restaurant websites and decided to build one for others to criticize. Today I am standing up to face the critics.
The Majestic Restaurant is a Kansas City Steakhouse in the downtown area. It is located in the 101 year-old Fitzpatrick’s Saloon Building. In the past this building has been a saloon, brothel, speakeasy, haberdashery, garment factory, and waterbed store. It has been fully restored and is truly a beautiful old restaurant. The former speakeasy features a live jazz club featuring some of the best Kansas City Jazz available. The restaurant serves dry-aged Kansas City Steaks in a very traditional manner. This is truly a classic Kansas City steakhouse.
So when I set out to design the website, a nod towards history was in order. This is why there is an entire section featuring the history of The Fitzpatrick’s Saloon Building as well as the history of Downtown Kansas City. I also tried to spend a great deal of time discussing steaks. I wrote sections on dry-aging steaks, what is the best steak cut, what temperature is right for your steak, and different sauces for the steaks. Since Kansas City Jazz is such a huge draw at the restaurant, I added a section dedicated to jazz videos and even a Kansas City Jazz Calendar. I wanted a visit to the website to feel like a night at the restaurant.
I also felt it necessary to provide all of the information I could about the restaurant. There are google maps for directions and information about free parking. I placed the hours, address, and phone number on every page. I polled the staff for frequently asked questions and provided the answers. There is a page to buy gift certificates and even make reservations online. A blog section was added for the management to be able to post updates on events occurring at the restaurant. There are even links to Facebook and Twitter for people who want to be more connected.
Not too many food critics will ever open a restaurant. Most political commentators will never run for office. After criticizing many restaurant websites, I am opening up the forum for your thoughts on my restaurant website design. I tried to build a site that would make foodies happy. Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.