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Open Restaurants

I don't know the first thing about running a restaurant business, and I know only a few things about dining at them as a customer. I know a lot more about the open web and standards, and have some ideas as to how to get restaurant owners on board to the Open Restaurants Project.

There currently exists a wiki at github.com (openrestaurants.org currently redirects there), and an archived Google Site at https://sites.google.com/site/semwebrestaurants/

I have some of my own ideas that I want to stand by as an individual before posting them to the wiki.

Basis for conversation:
  • restaurants owners are in the business of cooking food and serving their customers, not building websites. The assumption is that they want to spend almost all of their activity on running a business and almost no time on building a website
  • any tool or website builder must understand the workflow of the business owner and their employees, at least with respect to 
    • marketing their restaurant (what image do they want to project to the world?)
    • what's on their menu and what they want to emphasize
  • ideally the workflow should be similar to what they're used to:
    • publicizing daily specials shoudn't take much longer than the time it takes to publicize it in their restaurants, for example, on a chalkboard
    • updating their menu online should feed into or result from the same update they make to their print edition
    • updating their opening hours online (say the business owner is shutting down for the holidays, or has a reduced/enhanced schedule) should take no longer than 10-15 minutes
  • a profit motive for building websites with open standards designed for the restaurant industry should be greeted with interest. If someone wants to build semantically rich and easy to use websites for their restaurant clients and make a business of it, that's great! (Bringing up the profit motive since there's not a lot of talk of it.)
How do we as website builders communicate with restaurant owners?
  • some restaurant owners are former web geeks. Start with them? They can write a magazine article telling the industry the lessons they learned from creating easy to use websites and how the information can flow to potential customers.
  • some restaurant owners are interested, but don't have time "get educated" as clients of website  builders. How to approach them?
  • some restaurant owners will not be interested. Either business is fine and they don't want to change anything, or they haven't the mindset for having the conversation.