Customer Behavior and Needs
In findings published by Summers (n.d), 89 percent of all restaurant patrons (in the US) “researched a restaurant online prior to visiting” it. Majority of the respondents featured in the survey argued that they can anticipate the experience they will have with a hospitality service provider, just by surfing the service provider’s website.
Stonyfield Cafe’s website
Stonyfield Cafe is a fast-food chain restaurant in Maine, New England. A small business, Stonyfield Cafe has found a niche selling organic foods to its customers.
Looking through its website, one gets the impression that the chain restaurant has spared no effort in designing a user-friendly website (http://www.onaturals.com/about/), whose content is assured by the detailed information provided therein.
The Restaurant has done well in listing ‘all’ its menus in the website. The pricing of all dishes has also been indicated in the ‘dining menu’ section, which is accessible via the menus webpage.
One weakness in the ‘Stonyfield Cafe’ website that emerged in the course of writing this review is that the menus are not as informative as one would like them. For instance, while this author was certain that he had seen the operation hours listed in one of the web pages, attempts to ascertain the information later only led to going from one page to the other without much success.
Logically, one would expect the information about the cafe’s operation hours to be listed in the ‘About Us’ webpage. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the Stonyfield cafe website. One also gets the impression that the website is not direct in its communication to the customer.
For example, the webpage that contains information relating to the cafe’s social corporate responsibility is named ‘community’. The contacts webpage on the other hand is marked by the words ‘Find Us’. To the non-discerning customer who understands unambiguous communication, the Stonyfield cafe website would be hard to understand.
There is no information regarding the entertainment options in the Stonyfield Cafe website. However, the website content stresses the importance of organic foods hence giving the impression that people who eat in the restaurant are health conscious.
As Spang (2000) wrote, restaurants confer status to their customers, and the health conscious Americans would no doubt want to be associated with a restaurant like Storyfield Cafe.
Overall, the Storyfield cafe website is user-friendly, and seems to have been designed with a specific target in mind.
Re-naming the WebPages to make them unambiguous is one of the recommended actions that the cafe should consider doing. Additionally, the Cafe needs to consider improving its ‘About Us’ webpage. As Eisenberg (2006) aptly puts it, such a page gives the website owner a chance to communicate to the customer and cement a long-term relationship with him or her.
Bayfront Convention Center Website
Bayfront Convention Center’s website (http://www.bayfrontconventioncenter.com/) has an easy to investigate menu. The ‘About Us’ page contains information about the convention center, which includes the location and the services offered. The prices for the services offered are laid out in the ‘Schedule’ webpage, while the contact information and the location details are give n in the ‘About Us’ page.
No entertainment options are given, although one can access different attractions on the ‘Eerie attractions’ webpage. The website does not state the convention center’s hours of operation, but anyone willing to confirm this may make a direct call using the phone number provided in the ‘About Us’ page.
A notable weakness in the website is the rather blank-looking home page.
Bayfront Convention center needs to improve the home page since it does not make much of an impression to a first time visitor. Developing content for the page would be an advisable thing to do.
Long Island Catering Halls
The Long Island Catering Halls website (http://www.longislandcateringhalls.com/) is a rather detailed, but congested website. On accessing the website, one gets the impression that it is more of a marketing tool, than an information-providing channel for the customer.
Navigating the website is easy, since all menus are well-labeled. However, the website has given much emphasis to the marketing-related menus, hence relegating some of the menus that may interest the costumer to less prominent positions on the website.
For instance, the ‘About Us’ page is located at the bottom of the landing page, while ‘Promotion & Special Events’ webpage has been given prominence at the upper part of the website.
No pricing details were found despite this author’s efforts to find them. Moreover, the website does not contain entertainment options, although it has given customers a wide choice of locations and services.
Some WebPages in the website have connecting links that increase the loading time. Overall however, the website is highly informative, but could use some de-cluttering.
The Long Island Catering Halls website should be redesigned in order to shed off the marketing look and assume a customer-friendly look.
Eisenberg, B. (2006). The power of the About Us page. Incisive Interactive Media LLC. Retrieved May 03, 2011, from http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1691484/the-power-about-us-page
Spang, R. (2000). The Invention of Restaurant. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Statman, M. (2004). What do investors want? Journal of Portfolio Management. Retrieved May 3, 2011 from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=603683
Summers, J. (n.d). 89% of Consumers research online before selecting a restaurant. RestaurantWorx® LLC. Retrieved May 3, 2011 from http://restaurantworx.com/89-of-consumers-research-online-before-selecting-a-restaurant/