Slate really nailed this one....I have wondered the same thing myself. I almost always check a restaurant's website before making plans to eat there. And so often the websites are just horrible....
So, are any of you guilty???
Hahaha my wife was just talking about this article on Friday. She is a User Experience Architect for a major on line retailer here, and has been doing usability on websites and web applications since before it was even a thing. She is soooo hardcore when it comes to focusing on the users needs. She tried to be a freelance web designer, however she could not stand to work with the business owners. They have in there minds what they think is best and what they want the users to do that they forget what people are actually coming to the site for in the first place.
One of the things that drives us nuts is when people start off with "Welcome to <insert website here>" Business owners think we actually read on the net, and trying to tell them differently is a waste of time. I am not saying you shouldn't have detailed info on your site about how awesome you are and where your food comes from, that stuff is really important too, however the user should not have to wade through all that crap to find the very few things that 95% of the visitors come to a restaurant site for... The menu, the address, the phone number, and the hours of operation. And do NOT use flash unless you have a freakin ninja flash developer. It's to slow, with proper HTML 5 and CSS 3 you can do most of the same things.
And for gods sake... have your web designer build you a mobile site, and keep it simple.
Sorry this ended up as a bit of a rant and was not meant to be hahaha
Our favourite sushi place doesn't even have a website.. I wanted to show the menu to my husband one day so I had to look it up on Urbanspoon.
RG my husband does alot of web design too and he has the same gripes as your wife. More often than not the clients don't know what they want (and in the case of some what they're talking about) so it's up to the web designer to be a mind reader at times.
I like to check out restaurant's websites before I go and I also tend to google reviews as well. Some of those I take with a grain of salt... like the ones I found when we went to Disneyworld... we stayed at a "value" resort because we were there for the parks and it was fine... if we wanted spa treatment we'd have gone for that!