I don’t trust pop up windows.

I especially don’t trust pop ups when they don’t work.  And frequently, they don’t.

It’s not like I’m a technological luddite. You’re talking to a guy who uses iDevices on a regular basis. Who uses WordPress. Who’s on the internet all the freaking time…

…and I don’t trust pop ups.  Because I think they’re too easy to manipulate.  It’s too easy to make a pop up that refuses to close, and yet counts the clicks it takes when you refuse all the wonderful things it’s offering.

That being said, hopefully, you won’t see any on my site…like ever.

You’ll see ads.  You won’t see pop ups.  Ever.  (If you see one on this site, let me know.  I’ll do my best to get rid of it.)

Why don’t like I like pop up anything on my site? Ask Famous Dave’s.

Famous Dave’s is Barbecue Chain based out of that known barbecue capital, Minneapolis, Minnesota (at least that’s what it says on it’s Twitter Account). There are a few locations in California, and they’re the kind of places (to be honest with you), Is It Any Good probably doesn’t waste its time with.

Still, you get a hankering for barbecued and grilled meats, what are you gonna do? You’re in a strange land, away from the comforts of home, why not give the place a try. I was going to try one of the Famous Dave’s during my Holiday trip. Now, I never shall.

Why?

Because of a damn pop up.

What happens first thing if you’re trying to use the Famous Dave’s website is that you’re asked to sign up for their electronic newsletter. Whether you like the place or not, whether you know the place or not, they want your information up front. It’s the kind of idea that a Consultant thinks is a good idea for your restaurant, when the idea is really only a good idea for the Consultant’s checkbook.

And of course, the request for this information comes in the form…of a pop-up window.

Famous Dave's Website

So why am I pissed?

Well, it was during a drive past one of their locations that I got curious about Famous Dave’s, and wanted to possibly have a meal there. So I decided to look up the place on my handy iPad.

And of course, the first thing that comes up is the “Join the Famous Nation for news and offers” pop up.

Since I don’t want to sign up immediately (I only want to look at their menu), I hit “no thanks” on the request.

Only the “No Thanks” button does not work.

Not only does that not work, the X button that closes the window altogether also does not work.

I check out my Pad, and I’ve got three bars. Safari is cycling over and over again. The page has completely loaded. Only, I’m trapped and I can’t get past the damn Newsletter request.

And then it hits me…

Sure this may be an error on the browser’s part, if I hit refresh the problems may all go away…but that the same why the @#$% should I even be putting up with that nonsense?

Maybe we shouldn’t lead off our website with a request for my freaking email address, and maybe you should just let me see what you have to offer!

Yeah, asking for my email first thing?  Kind of a dick move.

With restaurants, there are things that are accidents and there things that are done intentionally. The things that are done accidentally (order mix ups, got your drink wrong, etc.) should always be forgiven. The things that are done by design, that are done intentionally? That’s a different story.

Your website is your brochure. It’s your extended hand for a handshake. It’s your chance to say this is what I’ve got, and from there that should show your customer why the hell you should go there.

Your restaurant website should have four things (aside from the name of your restaurant):

  • It should have your current menu (with prices).
  • It should have your location (with a big map to go along with it).
  • It should have your hours.
  • It should have a lot of big, colorful pictures of what you serve, and people having a good time eating it.

Everything else on your website is icing on the cake.  You can put any other information on there you want, Chef Bio’s, history of the restaurant, whatever.  But if it doesn’t have those four things, it’s a fail.

You’ll be surprised at how many restaurants don’t do all four on their websites, because I look at a lot of restaurant websites.

Oh, and don’t let me forget this.  Your website should make it as easy as possible for your customers to look a it.

Famous Dave’s did not do this. Thus, I will not be going to Famous Dave’s.

Yes, restaurant owners. It’s just that simple. The decision can be made just that quick, and they will be made just that quick…all because you put the priority on getting my name for your stupid newsletter, instead of letting me see what you do.

Good news is there’s a Mission BBQ in the same mall. I’d go there instead. It’s not the greatest Barbecue in the world (sorry, Mission), but at least their website allows you to…you know…see it.