It’s been my experience, that when my clients have clarity about who they are, why they’re in business and who their perfect customer is, their website, logo, promotional materials, and even business cards will bring them the ROI they’re looking for.
Getting it right
Blackwood BBQ is a new restaurant that opened in June 2013 in the heart of Chicago’s central business district called The Loop. It’s also just down the street from a Chipolte Mexican Grill: A company like McDonald’s rarely, if ever, gets their location wrong. I was lucky enough to have a late lunch at Blackwood BBQ – lucky, because the line that typically forms at noon can go around the block. When I walked into this casual, clean, small restaurant, another hot brisket had just been removed from the oven.
As it was being sliced it in front of me, I said to the server, “That looks fabulous!”
“I used to be a pulled-pork fanatic until I tried the brisket. Now that’s all I want to eat,” replied the man carving the seasoned meat.
Blackwood serves it’s customers like Subway, and Chipolte Grill: everything is prepared in front of you, and you make additional selections as you move down the line. Orders are packed to go, but can be eaten at one of the few tables or window facing counter, if available.
The day I ate at Blackwood BBQ, I had sliced brisket on a bed of lettuce with my choice of BBQ sauce, salad dressing, plus a piece of corn bread and their signature lemonade. It was, indeed, as good as it looked, and it was served quickly, which caters to a working person in a fast paced city like Chicago.
Knowing Your Target Market
Blackwood BBQ knows their customer likes BBQ, but not greasy finger food. Choices are Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket or Pulled Chicken as a sandwich, salad or platter.
Chicago’s business district is cosmopolitan. This is reflected in Blackwood’s BBQ sauce offerings which accommodates five different flavors of BBQ: Chicago Style, Memphis Style, Kansas City Style, North Carolina Style and South Carolina Style. Being from the east coast, I remember the first time I had southern BBQ in North Carolina. It was too sweet for my liking, but certainly not for the overflow crowd at the most popular restaurant in town.
In addition to a “Simply Delicious” product, Blackwood BBQ wants their customers to know their product is authentic pit BBQ that’s cooked slowly.
Product quality is stressed — highlighting their Midwest meat, raised in outdoor pastures.
For customer convenience, they offer catering, delivery, and pick-up ready orders. Because it’s the business district, they’re open only on weekdays for breakfast and lunch.
And their website?
Unfortunately, Chicago is a long way from home, because every time I log onto Blackwood BBQ’s home page, my mouth waters, remembering the lunch I had a few months ago.
Thinking that my response may be pure Pavlovian, I asked other people to look at the site. Guess I only asked carnivores, because all 9 participants said the food images did look delicious, and excited their salivary glands.
Like their restaurant, there’s not a lot of fan fare and hard selling in this site. There are only 6 pages listed in the navigation menu, and one drop down item under “Menu.” Copy is direct and to the point. The longest page of text is on the About page, which is only 149 words long and four paragraphs short. Three social media icon link to their business pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Blackwood BBQ’s site matches their business model: good, simple, and efficient. This site is a treat for the eyes, simple to understand, quick and easy to get in, around and out. A real winner.
Food photography tip
Before becoming a freelance graphic designer, I worked for a food magazine in NYC. If you’re selling a food product don’t underestimate the value of good photography. Food photographers are skilled in lighting, camera angle, choosing just the right props to enhance the food item, plus they’re prepared to take the shot quickly so the food stays fresh and looks appetizing. Good photography can make a difference in whether a casual visitor becomes a repeat customer.