At The Cutting Board, we’re passionate about building and elevating brands through a variety of means. Just recently, we upgraded the website for Barlago, a California-inspired restaurant along Lake Merritt in Oakland. With a shift in the menu from Italian to Californian, the previous website was starting to feel a bit outdated, with a layout and color palate that no longer matched the restaurant’s look and feel. We decided that it was time to do an overhaul, and served as the project managers for the modernization of the website.
There were a variety of steps we carried out through the duration of the website’s update to ensure that everything ran smoothly and efficiently. First, we arranged for a photographer to take photos of new dishes, lifestyle imagery, as well as shots within the restaurant. It was important to provide these photos within the website renovation to accurately portray changes made to the menu, as well as the level of hospitality that is a vital component to the restaurant’s appeal.
Once we acquired the visual assets for the website, we then enlisted the help of website designer, John Ma from Abstract Hype to assist in the assemblage of the website. We chose John because of his prior experience working with restaurant web design. He had valuable insight into how one should approach the redesign of a website for restaurants versus other businesses. “Because restaurants rely on interior and food pictures to attract potential customers, that was the route to take,” says John. “The strategy is not to make the web browser bored with too much wording, but more images, easy navigation, and a way to make a reservation fast.”
After locking down a website designer, we then took to identifying our priorities for the website. To attack this project in a strategic manner, we carried out extensive research on other restaurant websites to pinpoint which features we liked the most (and, what we didn’t like).
In our various work with Barlago over the last year, we’ve seen time and again that the service and food quality are main drivers of repeat business. Given this, we determined that showcasing the great hospitality and food were our two main focal points for the new Barlago website. We achieved this by selecting engaging photos on the website of a smiling bartender as well as overhead shots of various vibrant dishes.
An additional improvement that we made to the website included re-writing the copy on the homepage and the private events page to match the restaurant’s shift from a purely Italian menu to one that features more local, California-inspired dishes. We also ensured that each page included imagery that reflected the priority of that page, for example, by using a picture of the dining room for the private events page, and a shot of the front of the restaurant for the contact page.
Our final step before publishing the website was to manage feedback on the changes. This was the most important measure that we took, as it ensured that our client’s needs were thoroughly integrated into the websites improvements. Through various in-person meetings and a constant thread of emails, we walked our clients through the features of the upgrade of the website to make sure that the context was understood and approved.
We’re so pleased with how Barlago’s website renovations turned out, and invite you to take a look at before-and-after shots of the website to see for yourself!