Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dine Smart, Dine Local. How About Dine Healthy?

The City of Richardson recently revamped its online presence, rolling out a new website with great fanfare. Maybe it's a work in progress. Check out these two sections of the city's website and see what you think.
OK, what do you think? Compare and contrast. Make a suggestion for how to improve the usability of these two sections.

After the jump, the answer.

The obvious answer is that these two sections of the city website should be combined. Unless *someone* doesn't want to make the Health Department's restaurant scores too easy to find when people are searching for places to eat in Richardson. In that case, that someone ought to be told, "Tough luck, people deserve to know, and it ought to be easy for them to know."

The "Dine Smart, Dine Local" database lets you search by cuisine, by restaurant type, and by coupon offerings. Restaurants are shown in both list format and on a Google map. Click on a restaurant and you are presented with all sorts of information about the restaurant. Slick.

Not to favor (or pick on) Afrah Restaurant (it just happens to be this week's featured restaurant), here is what you can learn from its "Dine Smart, Dine Local" page:

Afrah Restaurant
314 E Main St
Richardson Texas 75081

Type of Establishment: Restaurant
Dining Style: Casual Dining
World cuisine: Mediterranean
Food type: Ice Cream
Food style:
Meals served:
Brunch served: No
Buffet: Yes
Catering: Yes
Delivery: No
Drive Thru: No
On-line Ordering: No
Take-Out: No
Watier service:
Outdoor seating:
Alcohol: No
Happy hour:
Pets Allowed: No
Tvs: No
Wheelchair accessible: No
Wifi: No
Kids Menu: No
Credit cards: No
Discounts: No
Banquet Facilities: No
Valet: No
Parking: No
Parking type:
Good For...
Families No
Kids No
Groups No
Business No
Sports Teams No
Special Occasions No

In short, lots and lots of details about what kind of food and experience you can expect to have if you patronize Afrah Restaurant. All that's missing is the restaurant's Health Department inspection score.

(By the way, the Afrah Restaurant's latest score was 80 on January 18, 2012. The city considers 80-89 to be "good" so it's not like Afrah Restaurant should be ashamed or anything, but it is their lowest score in three years. Would it be higher if it were more prominently displayed?)

Come on, Richardson. Patrons of Richardson's fine restaurants deserve to know what the Health Department finds when they look in the kitchen. Don't make people go to two different websites to find out.

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