Restaurant Websites Faster Than You Can Say Bon Appetit

February 11, 2013

9:00 am

4.5 out of 5 stars with 620 reviews? Great. Open until 11pm and takes reservations? Even better. When hunger strikes, finding restaurants closeby is usually done on the go, but navigating mobile websites can make you feel like Odysseus, being tossed back and forth by a sea of page redirects and poorly sized images.  Fear no more, hungry friends. Appetas creates beautiful restaurant websites that look great on all devices, with key information like menus and photos.

Aimed towards benefitting restaurant owners, the process is simple. Visit, type in the name of a restaurant, and choose the location. In seconds, what you see is what your website could look like, with a visual aesthetic affiliated with your menu’s genre, along with staple restaurant information. You’ll get access to preview, edit templates and text, and publish content through a simple interface.

For restaurant owners who have scheduling, inventory, and customer service on their minds, finding time to organize and maintain their digital presence can be daunting. The pressure to maintain a grasp on every medium increases with the growing number of review, social media, and daily deal sites. Why pay thousands of dollars for a web developer or designer when all you have to pay is $30 a month for a website created in seconds?

Inspired by the old-fashioned, neighborhood-friendly restaurant era where the owners knew your first name, Appetas brings restaurant owners closer with their customers’ wants and needs. By being able to easily manage their website, owners are more in tune with their digital presence and what they convey to their customers. Apps like Yelp and FourSquare contribute to the fact that  businesses need to be on the bleeding edge of customer reviews in order to stay competitive.

team-photo---ms-acceleratorStarting as a prototype born in 24 hours, Appetas cofounders, Keller Smith and Curtis Fonger won both the Angelhack regional and national competitions, gaining several opportunities for seed funding. “Our users love the service. The fact that restaurant owners can manage their digital presence themselves creates a forum to participate with their customers online,” shares Smith.

Looking forward in the next few months, Appetas aim to “automatically create everything that a restaurant needs in seconds,” says Smith. The team plans to move beyond their beta testing and fully launch their website. Along with adding online ordering capabilities with GrubHub, Appetas aims to focus on integrating Appetas with social profiles. Restaurants want consistent branding, so “we’d like to offer them the ability to create a website and simultaneously replicate branding into their social pages with photo backgrounds and company information.”

Both Smith and Fonger are excited to move forward and continue working on Appetas, especially after talking to dozens of restaurant owners every day. “The best thing about what we do is the ability to directly relate to customers in a personal way.”

Curious to see how it works? See the before and after example below, and then visit, type “restaurant” in the field, and see what your website can look like:

Shabu Chic before Appetas: 

shabuchic before

Shabu Chic after Appetas: 

shabuchic after

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Stephanie is Lead Designer and co-founder of Landmark, a navigation app for walking directions based on photos of buildings and landmarks. Stephanie was a guest at Y Combinator’s prestigious Female Founders Conference and was profiled in The Washington Post. Actively involved in the DC community, she is a co-producer of the DC Tech Meetup and is actively involved in encouraging technology education and mentorship for women. Follow her on Twitter @nguyenist.

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