Wicked Design recently completed a website design project for a Purcellville restaurant that we love. Some of the most rewarding web design and development projects are for those businesses that we personally patronize. For a design agency in a small northern Virginia town, the likelihood of such work is not necessarily rare, and the community is relatively small. While we love all of our clients, having personal ties to a place we visit makes the design project just that much more rewarding.
Monks BBQ is a family owned restaurant, and has been in business for more than two years. The planning of their expansion is underway. Brian and his staff have worked hard at perfecting their craft; Offering the best Barbecue meats in the county. They use choice hardwoods to smoke all types of meat, including chicken, brisket, pastrami, ribs, homemade sausage and wings. This is the key to their business; Excellent tasty meat. If you offer a top notch product, you might also be planning for expansion.
Capturing these success elements in the design of a custom website is the key to offering a memorable online experience. You want the web visitor to feel that ambiance, and then walk through the door of the business. Couple good design with best practices and you have a formula for success. Meanwhile, you help that family owned business continued growth.
The project began, as they all do; Gaining unique insight from the business owner. The client may not have the ability to describe an exact vision, but their words point the direction. We also listen intently to capturing specific goals for having the new website designed. Because we were also hired for photography and video production services, a cohesive project plan was even more important.
Because the dinner decision makers tends to be the Mom of the household, the website needed to appeal to her. But it also had to have appeal to the men in the family. A barbecue restaurant needs that rustic and wood feel, for authenticity sake. But in this case it also needed softer edges and a welcoming display. Hence, the challenge at hand.
The photography session needed to capture a fun, family business, along with mouth watering shots of the menu items. We took photos of folks enjoying themselves while at the restaurant. The chosen images were then softened, and blending techniques were used applied. The end effect portrays a welcoming and enjoyable establishment.
Because the client had specific goals in mind for a custom video piece, we simply had to capture that vision; Panning across a stack of hard wood, a drink being poured on the bar, burning wood in the smoker, and finally a slab of brisket under the slicing knife. Ensuring that the final piece was no longer than thirty seconds, it quickly tells what Monks BBQ is all about. The four segments were edited together such that the story is told.
Another popular aspect of this restaurant is regularly scheduled live music. Every Friday and Saturday night you will find a local band playing music. The eatery also wanted the ability to promote those gigs to the public. We used a calendar solution that offers many great features, and is easy to update by staff. Events feature:
– Images of the bands, and links to their sites
– The ability to share event links on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Share buttons allow web visitors to do the same.
– Subscribe to event RSS feeds
– Allow web visitors to add events to their own calendars
– Events other than music can be displayed elsewhere on the site using categories.
All of these features add powerful capability to a modern website, and help a business to grow. Because we advocate that business owners should drive traffic to their site, individual event links can be posted on various forms of social media to accomplish this.
We incorporated elements from the company’s logo into the site itself. This helps to reinforce the branding image while keep the art relevant and meaningful. In this case, the design component was the logo pig, widely used as a symbol for barbecue restaurants.
In addition, we created custom graphics, using Photoshop, for the header area. We incorporated a hardwood stack to further reinforce the production of craft cooked meats. The bottom part of the image was cut to reveal a craggy line formed by the split logs. This helps the photo to jump off of the page. Then, a shadow was used under the header pic to create a site with depth.
Behind all of the layered elements, we placed an image of hardwood planks in the body of the background. This set a base for all other elements, while also reinforcing the branding and products offered by the company. Upon your first visit to the site, you will immediately know what they offer.
This Purcellville restaurant also offers a catering service. It was important for them to offer a detailed and custom online form that customers can use to place orders. Whether for a wedding, party or event, Monk’s can bring their excellent meals to you. Customers complete the online form to request catering for specific dates, venues, the number of people expected and more. The form is then sent to a roster of staff members who then make preparations.
Because the company offers wide range of beer on draft that changes weekly, a dynamic online list was required. By the way, they offer the most comprehensive list of local beer anywhere in Loudoun County. They chose to use the services of BeerMenus.com. This subscription service allows a bar to pull beer names from pre-filled lists, for display on a website. The service then overlays detailed information about each, include it’s city of origin, alcohol content, ingredients, brewer and a brief description. This custom list can then be embedded directly into the business website. Beer Menus does all the hard work, so their customer can focus on their business. The whiskey list, on the other hand, was entered manually. However, it changes with much less regularity.
All of these requirements and design parameters were constructed using the WordPress CMS. This free and open source platform has its roots in blogging, but has since transformed into a powerful engine that can support nearly any business or organization need. In addition, technology plugins are available that can introduce a high level of customization.
The only thing more rewarding than launching a memorable website with style, is the bragging rights when visiting the business with friends and family. Especially one that was founded by a local family. Wicked Design thoroughly appreciate the confidence our community grants to us every day. We are honored to serve northern Virginia, and its community.