A fresh new approach for The Luxury Restaurant Guide

With a strong focus on elegant user experience, we worked with The Luxury Restaurant Guide to make its website more manageable, impactful and compelling.

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

The challenge

A busy menu of outdated technology

As the online destination for fine dining, The Luxury Restaurant Guide is by definition a complicated undertaking. Across the guide and a comprehensive membership programme, it’s difficult to turn over 1,500 restaurants into a single, cohesive experience.
When the team approached us, this unavoidable challenge was compounded by an outdated architecture using Microsoft ASP. The website and app were difficult for customers to use, while a complex backend made it hard to add new features for a discerning customer base.

Starting with strategy

Initially, we worked with The Luxury Restaurant Guide 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 sheer volume of different systems being used day-to-day. As part of our audit, we identified:

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

Individually, some of these elements were outdated and under-supported. Together, they created an unmanageable mesh of systems with overlapping functionality but little visibility or control.

The solution

A premium experience for discerning diners

After establishing where the brand was headed – and the technology that was holding it back – we began developing new user journeys and a customer-led experience.

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 above quantity

Like a focused menu of fantastic dishes, we reviewed the entire infrastructure to simplify complex systems.

Selecting Laravel as our backend, we were able to support the website and existing app, while also 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 give administrative teams familiar tools to use. As a result, we integrated Laravel into existing systems and ways of working where appropriate.

For example, user account information and 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 familiar for the content team.


Search at its most sophisticated

On the frontend, 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 Luxury Restaurant Guide experience was launched amid the COVID-19 pandemic – a difficult time for the entire hospitality industry.

However, 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.

Services 

  • Digital consultancy
  • Salesforce integration
  • Payment systems integration
  • Digital design
  • Design sprints
  • Wireframing and prototyping
  • UX / CX
  • Systems Design
  • Frontend Development
  • Backend Development

Technologies

  • Laravel
  • Salesforce
  • React JS
  • Stripe
  • SendGrid
  • Digital Ocean
  • Google Cloud Translation

Industry

  • Hospitality