Dear Five Guys, Your Boring Website Sucks
I love Five Guys. Their food is delicious, the price is right, and new stores are always popping up in various neighborhoods. Clearly, there is a demand for their burgers and fries.
But you wouldn’t know any of that from looking at their website if you were we seeking a local burger joint online.
What do they get wrong?
Sterile to the point blandness and featuring primarily text, the current site (pictured above) reminds me of a hospital. (Actually, hospital websites might be more visual.) When viewing this site, there is absolutely no sense of the “DELICIOUS FOOD HERE!” message that leaps at you when walking past a five guys store.
Now, to be fair, in real life, the “DELICIOUS FOOD HERE!” message is primarily olfactory. (If you don’t live in a part of the country that has Five Guys, trust me on this one – you *cannot* walk past one of these without the smell of delicious, delicious french fries luring you inside.) Since we can’t smell things via the internet (yet!) that message needs to come across visually on a website. And, at Five Guys, it doesn’t. In fact, the site’s greatest failing? Is that there are no great photos of food. Just people holding burgers that look like they could be from McDonald’s or any other burger joint! Let me repeat that: THERE ARE NO PHOTOS OF FOOD.
As a web designer, (and as someone who eats out a lot), this is mind boggling to me. How can you entice me to eat your food if you don’t show me the food you serve? (Heck, there have been entire studies done to show that pictures of fattening foods increase appetites. This means that if you want me to order more online, you need to SHOW ME more of your food!)
No mailing list. To not put a simple mailing list form connected to a database, in order to collect valuable customer information is akin to throwing money down the drain. Fans sign up for mailing lists ALL THE TIME. They want to hear from you! Even with no email marketing plan, the first step is always to capture data where you can to get to know your customer better. Then figure out the best way to use the data. Pretty sure I learned that in Marketing 101.
What do they get right?
Now, despite the visual short comings of the Five Guys site, it does get some things right. The site doesn’t feature any annoying bells and whistles that might slow the site down and make it difficult to load. It does feature online ordering, a location finder, a mobile site, and a menu that doesn’t require anyone to download a PDF. However, while these pages provide existing customers with what they need, they sure as heck aren’t going to entice any new customers.
So what should they do?
The current Five Guys website, provides a great base for the Five Guys team to work from, but there are a lot of changes that could be made to make it better. To begin with, they should reconsider their:
- Design – The design elements should pull in more of what it’s like to walk into a Five Guys. It should feature MORE FOOD and be more visual over all to pull in more customers and entice new customers. They call it ‘food porn’ for a reason. Food can be seductive.
- Navigation – The site’s navigation changes and jumps all over the place when you navigate to different sections of the site. This navigation should be static so that it’s easier to use and more visually soothing.
- Creativity – The current site looks like a mobile website that was lazily expanded after the fact. (For the record, Five Guys’ mobile site is really pretty good.) It doesn’t look like much thought or effort was put into it and customers, believe it or not, can tell.
Shake Shack’s website makes me hungry and excited for food. This does not.
What do you think?