Slate's Farhad Manjoo did a piece recently taking restaurant websites to task for being so awful most of the time. Flash-heavy and obsessed with entertaining instead of informing, they're often murder on the eyes. But why? Probably because designers get paid so well to do it.
While there are some choice exceptions out there, the impotent whiz-bangery of a lot of these sites — the sweeping slideshows, endless ambient music and chef bios you never read — is likely a calculated cash grab on the part of site designers. Firms like 160over90 tend to prey on the sensibilities of older, less-web-savvy restauranteurs who want their brand to scream "PASSION", and get paid big bucks for more labour-intensive albeit useless flash sites.
But you don't go to a restaurant site to read about passion. I know a few where you could... no. You go to find a meal. Meanwhile, restaurants lose more money in the process. Designers HAVE to know this. Surely they eat. They know what a pain these pages can be. But making a fatter pay cheque probably outweighs being useful to consumers. [Slate]