Replenishment for the Luxury Restaurant Guide

As the online destination for fine dining, the Luxury Restaurant Guide (LRG) needed to ensure that their product was catering to the hunger of every diner, old and new. Hence, they turned to Lightflows, whom they could rely on to serve a legacy software modernisation.

Putting users at the heart of the process, we helped to uncover their journeys, simplify crowded systems and deliver measurable improvement for customers and administrators alike, all supported by a clean, elegant brand with impactful photography and design.

The challenge

Helping to refine their menu of services

With their extensive luxury guide and comprehensive membership programme, one of the main challenges of reinventing the new LRG website was to compact their offerings into a single, cohesive experience. To approach such a challenge, we deemed it necessary to transition from their previous architecture using Microsoft ASP to new technologies to enable a smooth user journey throughout the site.

Starting with strategy

Initially, we worked with the LRG team to develop a new digital strategy. After several discovery sessions, planning sprints and workshops, we could chart a path to digital transformation – and a future-proofed new infrastructure. We also clarified clear project goals, touching on user experience, design, systems architecture and more.

Auditing a confusing mix of ingredients

One of the biggest challenges we identified was the number of systems being used day-to-day. As part of our audit, we identified:

  • a WordPress site for the blog;
  • an ASP website for the frontend;
  • an ASP Content Management System;
  • Salesforce to store customer and sales data; and
  • SagePay for payment processing

Individually, some of these elements were outdated and under-supported. Together, they formed a superfluous management system which we realised we could simplify through fewer, more fluid systems to still ensure that lavish experience their customers so desire.

The solution

A premium experience for discerning diners

After establishing where the brand was headed – and the technology that was in need of modernising – we began developing new user journeys and customer-led experiences.

This scientific, data-driven approach meant that we could focus our design and development efforts where we were confident they would create a real impact.

Quality over quantity

Much like a defined menu of luxury dishes, we selected Laravel as the backend programme to support their website and pre-existing app, whilst providing the agility to redevelop the app in the future,

A blend of old and new

While we introduced a new website backend and payment system (Stripe), we were keen to enable administrative teams access to familiar tools. Hence, we integrated Laravel into existing systems and ways of working where appropriate; for example, user account information and the membership features both shared data with the existing Salesforce implementation. We also retained the use of WordPress for the blog, keeping the experience easy and natural for the content team.

Search at its most sophisticated

On the front end, we emulated the frictionless, easy experience of a great restaurant. Redesigning the search functionality was a key element.

As well as offering more tools to filter restaurants by location, cuisine and Michelin stars, we developed new results pages, served up by Facebook’s fast React technology. With list/grid views and a new visual language of badges and tags, search results feel more relevant and bespoke than ever.

The results

Engaged, satisfied visitors

The new LRG experience was launched amid the COVID-19 pandemic; a difficult time for the entire hospitality industry. Nonetheless, initial signs have been extremely positive.

A more compelling experience

As well as a significant increase in traffic in those months where the UK was not in lockdown, the team reports longer dwell times, more page views, and more returning customers.

The start of a new journey

Crucially, the new website and its underlying systems are a great foundation for the next chapter of the Luxury Restaurant Guide. Building on the success of the website, we’re currently redesigning and developing a new app, planned to launch in Q2 2021.

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