Johnny Rockets Website Critique – Part 1 of 2
I love Johnny Rockets. I’ve always enjoyed the experience of going into a their restaurants and the design elements in them. I wish I could say the same about the Johnny Rockets website. You’d think a chain as successful as Johnny Rockets would care to make the online experience just as fun and engaging as its in store experience. Here’s the detailed critique leading to my grade of C-. Check out our redesign of the Johnny Rockets website in this post.
No Grabbing Copy
I assume that the audience of the site is potential franchisees, while consumers are the secondary audience. Whichever of these visitors I may be, there is no captivating or memorable copy grabbing my attention. No connection is being made with basic language. Burger King has used “Have It Your Way” for many years and does a great job communicating their commitment to that statement by allowing users to actually change their website the way they want. I’m lovin’ it! Wait, that’s McDonald’s.
I don’t know what Johnny Rockets wants to communicate to me. The phrase “The Original Hamburger” in the logo raises my curiosity and tells me this food may be the real thing I’ve been looking for, but it’s not enforced. What about “Where the good times roll!”? It’s nowhere to be seen. The message to me as a potential franchisee, investor or diner, is lost in small font and other text. Why is “Undercover Boss” so big? Is that so important?
Brand statements could also be communicated in the meta tags and title of the page. It would take 5 seconds to replace “Johnny Rockets” with “Johnny Rockets … Home of the Original Hamburger and Where the Good Time Roll!”
Arriving on the site I notice two areas with transitioning images. The left banner and the main image area. Are they intentionally trying to confuse me and not show me where I’m supposed to look at? Should I focus on the banner promotion or the main area? Pick one to be creative with JR. Oh and yes, be more creative. Simply fading images in and out is Boring. (notice the capital ‘b’). Have more fun!
Out of Date Layout
The fact that the site is designed at 750px wide immediately shows Johnny Rockets is not keeping up with the times. Today’s average monitor resolution is 1024px wide. Leaving room for browser scroll bars and application icons, a site should be designed for 950-980px wide. This means 200-230px of space are being unused for other useful creative or copy.
The site sticking to the top without any breathing room makes me a little uneasy too. Another sign that design and attention to any kind of detail are missing here and that nobody there seems to care too much.
Social Media Integration is Mediocre
At least old JR is understanding that social media is an important part of their marketing and branding. But only 2,563 followers on twitter (on Jan 16)? What’s going on here? At least 69,781 people on their Facebook page is something more substantial. But compare that to 6,886,947 fans for McDonald’s, 1,070,316 for In-n-Out Burger, and 812,334 for Burger King and we see again that JR is really falling behind when it comes to social media marketing.
Why not give users more reason to join your Facebook or Twitter conversations instead of just putting two icons? Maybe incorporate a live Twitter feed about Johnny Rockets into your site to show how you’re engaging your customers. Throw some cool contests. Do something more unique.
Where are the Food Shots That Make Me Salivate?
Ah right, they’re not there. While it’s pretty cool that the CEO went undercover in a TV show I’d rather be convinced to buy into your franchise or simply go to dinner at Johnny Rockets because you showed me how good your product is. And your product is food!
The food photos resemble stock photography and don’t show quality. I don’t feel like I want to gulp the shake you’re showing me, nor chow down on any of your classic melts. That BBQ Chicken Bacon Melt picture makes the chicken look like tofu. I’m sure Johnny Rockets has better food shots than these in their libraries and if they don’t then maybe getting a food stylist and food photographer to come in and take shots explicitly for the website may not be a bad idea. A couple of days to take shots of some key items would run less than $5,000. We know a few photographers that can show your food the way it should be shown.
Umm. Analytics Anybody?
This is perhaps the most shocking of discoveries to me upon going into the homepage’s source code. There is no analytics code on the page! Could it be possible that nobody is really even looking at any data in corporate? I’m only praying that some sort of basic analytics software is provided by Rackspace, their website host.
If you need us to set up some Google Analytics for you JR let us know. We’d be happy to so you can actually track who your users are and what they’re doing on your site. Without good metrics it makes it very hard to make decisions on what content to build on and what to scrap.