Restaurant Presence on the Web

Every restaurant has a presence on the web. It’s up to the restaurant to manage that presence. In fact, that’s true of every organization, but this post is about restaurants.

The restaurant may be represented on the web by review at sites like Yelp, and by mentions on blogs and at other social media sites. It makes sense for the restaurant to add its own web site. I jotted down some thoughts on restaurant web sites earlier this year.

  • A simple front page is key, especially since potential customers may be mobile, hungry, and impatient.
  • Current content is good. Customers want to know that the restaurant is still good and is doing interesting things. Search engines like current content too.

While rich and extensive content may be good, especially for upmarket restaurants, I don’t think it deserves a place on the above high-priority list.

With these thoughts on the back burner, I was interested to read about Chompstack in a RWW article by John Paul Titlow. Chompstack is a tool to build mobile sites for restaurants.

First thought: great idea, given the importance of mobile for restaurants. Second thought: is it necessary to focus specifically on mobile? The restaurant also needs a site that works well on laptops, desktops, etc., as well.

Like most people, I think of the hammer with which I’m most familiar. I could use WordPress to build a restaurant site that works well for the mobile customer and for the not mobile right now, but still impatient, customer. Such a site would of course have a built-in blog for current content such as reviews, specials, etc.

Restaurant web presence seems like a huge opportunity. I don’t see many restaurants with really good web sites. I see many without a web site, or with site with more bloat than good information.

What do you think? Can you provide examples of restaurants with good web presence?

I Love to Say: I Told You So

I noticed a few months ago that the URL for an official Android app was in use, although hidden from public view. Well, we now have lift-off.

I’m using the new app to post this. I’ll edit to add links later.

Now, getting to the post on a laptop, I’m surprised to find that it wasn’t published. I thought I’d told the Android app to publish, not just to upload. It did seem to be working with a local, and locally-savable copy, which is good. Anyway, as threatened, here are some links:

Social Distractions From Driving

I’ve been driving while distracted quite a lot over the last seven weeks or so. I’ve been distracted from driving itself by finding my way around the Silver Spring area, to which I moved in early December. I’ve often also been distracted by kids in the back of the car: are we nearly there? I’m hungry, etc.

So my actions suggest that I consider a certain amount of distraction while driving to be reasonable. Now that it’s possible to turn cars into wireless wagons, a whole range of social media distractions are becoming available. Mashable Greg provided an interesting account of such distractions.

My guess at an answer is that driving while cellphoning will top the list of dangerous social distractions for the forseeable future. But it is just a guess, and systematic research about the effects of driving of specific social behaviors is needed. Credit goes to Ford for conducting, and publishing the results of, such research.

Happy Nexus One Day

If you don’t already know that the Nexus One was launched today, you’re probably not interested in the new Android phone anyway. If you are interested, you may well have seen the 24 month cost of ownership comparison between the N1, the iPhone 3GS, and a couple of other smartphones. It makes the N1 look like a pretty reasonable deal.

Just three comments:

WordPress Themes, Mobile and Otherwise

The theme of a WordPress blog is like its skin, its graphical interface… So the theme is part of the blog’s identity.

Should that identity be preserved across platforms, even when some of the platforms are mobile? A recent post suggests that it typically isn’t. WordPress.com’s mobile default is a mobile theme, rather than a mobile version of the blog’s “main” theme.

For self-hosted WordPress, there are several plugins available. The most popular seem based on the rule: if mobile platform, then mobile theme.

There are some aspects of theme design that don’t translate well to mobile. For example, the theme for this blog shows a lot of white space. That doesn’t work on mobile, when there isn’t much space to spare.

On the other hand, colors do work on mobile. The WordPress.com CSS upgrade doesn’t let me tweak the color scheme of the mobile themes. I wish it did.

For self-hosted blogs, it might be good practice to have a little CSS file that specifies colors, and other aspects of themes that carry over well to mobile, and invoke that file from every theme the blog uses.

I’m sure someone has written a good, thoughtful account of aspects of theme design, and the extent to which each aspect should be similar or different between mobile and other themes. If you know of it, please leave a link in the comments.

Mobile Themes For WordPress

If you’re reading this on a mobile phone, you won’t be seeing this blog’s Simpla Way theme. That’s because WordPress.com automatically uses a mobile theme when displaying blogs on a mobile device.

What about self-hosted WordPress? I went over to the WordPress.org theme directory, searched for mobile, and was shown just one theme: Carrington Mobile. The thing is, a mobile theme isn’t much good without code to select it when appropriate.

So the mobile hotspot for WordPress is plugins, not themes. Of the many plugins tagged with mobile, here are those relevant to mobile themes (with at least a thousand downloads).

  • WPtouch iPhone Theme (299,390 downloads) “transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme… when viewed from an iPhone, iPod touch, Android or BlackBerry touch mobile device.” This theme in plugin’s clothing is used (with modifications) by WordPress.com for such devices.
  • WordPress Mobile Edition (100,296) seems similar, and is used (with modifications) by WordPress.com for mobile devices other than those on the WPTouch list.
  • MobilePress (38,818) allows device- or browser-specific themes, and allows development of custom mobile themes.
  • WordPress Mobile Pack (18,108) includes a selection of mobile themes.
  • Wapple Architect Mobile (6,186) sounds interestingly different. “Other mobile plugins for WordPress use a default mobile style… Wapple… retains the styling of your site from web to mobile.”
  • MoFuse (4,074) allows creation of, and redirect to, a mobile version of the blog.
  • Mobilize by Mippin (3,425) is similar to MoFuse in that it involves a mobile version of the blog.

My most mobile-focused blog, Android Icon, currently uses WordPress Mobile Edition. I plan to use that blog for a grapple with Wapple, and maybe a try of some of the other plugins listed above, soon.

Droid? $1831. Having the latest gadgets? Priceful.

The Droid, the new smartphone from Motogoozon, will cost $1831. Motogoozon is of course the combination of Motorola, Google, and Verizon.

The cost would be $1931, were it not for a $100 rebate: what a relief that it’s so much lower than $2K.

1831 = (299 – 100) + 24 x (39 + 29). As usual with smartphones and other fancyphones in the USA, most of the cost is in the monthly payments, rather than upfront.

I could cite many sources for this, but I’ll go with John Biggs’ post on Crunchgear. There is much rejoicing in Crunchland about the Droid.

Personally, I’m happy to see the Droid hype. It increases the chances of an Android app boom. On the other hand, there are no guarantees that new and interesting Android advances will run on my G1.

The Mobile Whale

Part of going mobile and setting up my G1 phone is getting a Twitter client. Guided by the results of a Mashable poll, I went for Twidroid.

First impression: looks good. In fact, it looks good enough that I might be able to get through a Twitter-related post without taking a dig at Twitter. Having said that, I seem to have taken a little dig in the post title… and, in the unlikely event I post about Digg, I’ll probably be unable to resist a dig about Digg.

I feel as though I’m finally seeing Twitter in its natural habitat. I can check tweets when I don’t have the attention span for the feeds to which I subscribe. By the way, my mobile feed reader is Google Reader, via the Android’s browser.

Thanks to Kiwi Mikex for making the whale photo available through Creative Commons.