Pardon me for needing to vent a little but I have a giant pet peeve when it comes to restaurants and their websites. On my much publicized (by me) recent trip to Whistler I had lunch at Merlin’s Bar at the base of Blackcomb Mountain and noticed that they had a pulled pork sandwich on the menu, the Pork Barbacoa Sandwich. I thought perfect, I can add this to the WFLBC BBQ Challenge 2011. It sounded great on the menu, sourdough bun with citrus jicama slaw on the side, boy was I wrong.
The meat was flavorless and dry, the bun dry and a little bit stale and the fries were lukewarm and greasy. The biggest disappointment however was the jicama slaw, it tasted like dirt, like actual dirt. Jicama is a root vegetable that is sweet and happens to be one of my favorite treats that my local farmers market carries on a regular basis. The slaw was not fresh and the jicama had obviously not been prepared or washed properly. So with their entrance in the BBQ Challenge quickly becoming improbable I thought that I would have a look at their website just to see if I could formulate a reason for this awful dish.
There in lies my “peeve”, there is no website. To have a good restaurant you need 3 things, good food, good service and a way for your current or potential customers to find you and find out about you. So with the food part of their business not being up to par it came down to the other 2 categories. The service was good, not great, nothing to worry about but their web presence consists of a Facebook page, that’s it. This isn’t a huge deal as a Facebook page can be just as effective as a website if it has 3 key ingredients, location, menu and hours of operation. Merlin’s page has their location and hours but no menu.
Let me say this very clearly, if you have a restaurant and use the internet then you need a website. Your website, at the very least, should have your location so customers can find you, your menu so customers know what you serve and your hours of operation so customers know when you’re open. Without these 3 things potential customers will go elsewhere.
In the end I think that Merlin’s has little to worry about as they’re mostly known as a place to drink until you’re sick and repeat as needed. The menu is of little concern to their customers which explains the food. Websites are easy, making money as a restauranteur is hard, give yourself a fighting chance with good food and use the internet to spread the love.