This week a good friend launched Menuito, his company aimed specifically
at helping restaurants improve their websites for mobile users. Menuito
is pretty damned clever. It effectively routes around the issues most
restaurant websites have on mobile devices by providing a completely
separate, customizable site to mobile users. And it does so with almost
no technical changes to the restaurant’s existing website and servers.
Everyone knows restaurant websites are pretty terrible. Sites like Never Said About Restaurant Websites skewers the industry one soundbite at a
time. And they’re easy targets, restaurants are, because it seems so
obvious: if you serve the public, and you’re heavily dependent on the
public’s personal preferences and ability to find you, you should make
critical information as easy as possible to access. But those sites
don’t; they employ Flash and PDFs and annoying background music and all
the other things that seemed like such a great idea
fifteen ten five years ago when the
restaurant had it’s brand-new website built by someone who really just
sold them a line. Someone who told them they’d be getting something
beautiful but instead stuck them with a proprietary, heavy-weight,
I suspect if you ask restauranteurs about their websites, owners of the
types of sites we’re talking about here, very few are happy. They’re not
stupid, they know people need to find them, and their hours, and their
menu, and can’t. But they’re restauranteurs, not geeks. For them the
solution is not simply a technical one but rather one of time and money,
of effort and energy, all the things most restauranteurs don’t have an
abundance of. And at the end of the day they have no guarantee they
won’t simply get burned again.
That’s why Menuito is so beautiful. Menuito effectively says to the restauranteur:
Let’s solve one problem at a time. Your existing site is good enough for
people at their computers so let’s just leave that as-is. Instead,
we’ll tweak things so that it also works for people on smart phones. And
we’ll make that particular user experience perfect.
One just needs to look at Menuito’s demo.menuito.com demo site
to see how effective this can be (and do be sure to look at it in both a
computer browser and a mobile browser; it’s attention to detail like
that that really set the folks who built Menuito apart).
Here’s hoping Menuito catches on because as it stands now, too many
restaurants are nigh impossible to use
on mobile devices.