Garces Group

Mise en place, for websites

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Executive Chef Jose Garces is one of America’s most gifted chefs and restaurateurs, a cookbook author, and one of only seven chefs in the country to hold the title of Iron Chef. His fifteen award-winning restaurants are located throughout the United States—eight of which are in Happy Cog’s hometown of Philadelphia (we are frequent customers). Garces’ Latin-inspired hospitality centers around high-quality, heartfelt service and cooking. In 2012, Garces also founded the Garces Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to ensuring that Philadelphia’s underserved immigrant community has access to health and educational services.

The Garces Group chose Happy Cog to redesign and unify their online presence across their entire portfolio of dining establishments, while visually maintaining their uniqueness. We approached this through the creation of an extensible design system (similar to our work with Motivate), which enabled Garces Group to provide a consistent, yet highly customizable and flexible experience. Each Garces restaurant brand has its own identity, so to be sure each website was clearly “Garces,” they each used the same template structure with flexible modules. We then trained them on how to manage and maintain the system, allowing them to focus on what they do best—proving great food and experiences.

We focused on making the online experience simple for a visitor to view menus or make reservations, from any device. The responsive redesign maintains the same look and functionality across all screen widths. To emphasize each restaurant is part of a bigger whole, we made sure the design encouraged easy cross-promotion between restaurants.

2013

What we did

  • Experience design
  • Front-end development
  • Information architecture
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Usability Testing
  • Vision & Planning

Industry

  • Travel/Hospitality

Awards

  • W3 awards, Gold, Restaurant, 2014

To show our system’s future-thinking flexibility, we boiled down each remaining restaurant’s identity to its smaller identifying ingredients—for example, each identity may use its own border style. These elements were captured in an exhaustive multi-identity style guide. With these identified styles, the client had clear direction on how to create websites for their remaining restaurant identities.

Business needs are always changing, economies change, customer needs change—hence how we tackle these issues need to evolve.

—Jose Garces
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