Few things make me wish for wealth more than the possibility of eating at 801 Chophouse every night. When we were asked to design a website that reflected the experience of the restaurant, we were happy to dive deep into research (that means eat there). The end result was truly defining and in some cases delicious.
801 Chophouse is in 3 locations: Kansas City, Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa. They offer a fine dining experience that ranks with the best available, claiming a midwest reputation that spreads to the coasts. We worked to match the caliber, energy, and mood that was definitively 801.
With such a focus on experience we knew we wanted video. Full screen images just seemed to be the best way to immerse viewers; if we couldn’t pick you up and put you at your own private table, it was going to be the next best thing.
Early concepts ranged from focusing on website content as a food platter to freeze frame puzzle video (I don’t feel like explaining that). Eventually we decided on using video to transition between major sections, and once in a major section an appropriately themed photo would be featured. When considering website load time, the photos could be higher resolution than the video and therefore a better place to land. Using video between sections provided a good sense of space, energy, and movement getting all the closer to the actual restaurant experience.
801 astutely realized they needed to unify their locations’ disparate branding, so we created an updated logo and visual identity for the website that could be applied to all three restaurants.. The naming scheme varied from Paxton Chop to 801 Steak and Chop – 801 Chophouse was chosen as the final title for all 3 to adopt. The current logo needed simplification and treatment to help define this unified and up-to-date identity.
Each location has unique features and characteristics, so we had to ensure the web design fit each of their individual needs; we also wanted to allow the user to explore all the locations easily at any time to get a holistic feel for the brand. Each menu title was strategic, but probably the most noteworthy was the choice to use “local.” People typically like their restaurants to be a part of the community, and 801 certainly plays a unique role in each location it resides. With a prominent placement of the word “local’ we looked to reinforce that value and perspective for both the restaurant and customer.
Around this time Gabe Hopkins of Vedros & Associates stepped in; he helped us get some really great photography, and over a few different shoots created some exceptional assets for us to use on the website design.
While the photography and video assets were being created the website design had taken form and was in full development. We went through and found the right photograph for each section and edited the video for transitions when it was all done. One of the ways we maintained variety while keeping load time down was showing pieces of the already loaded video, this avoided lag time on every main menu click.
We think 801 Chophouse has one of the best branded restaurant websites out there; it is truly defining. Over the 6 month project we owe many thanks to Executive Chef Chris Dennis and General Manager Sheri Osborn. Thanks to Gabe Hopkins and his assistant Josh from Vedros & Associates – and Adam Long for his help in photography as well.
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