Monday, June 6, 2011

“About Us” Evaluation: Sweet Revenge Gets a C

Sweet Revenge, which opened in 2008 in New York’s West Village, serves wine and beer paired with “grown-up” cupcake flavors such as chorizo sausage and Manchego cheese. The restaurant’s unique concept was developed by Marlo Scott, who hated her corporate job and prides herself on having launched her own business (hence the restaurant’s name). Sweet Revenge was the cover story of Entrepreneur magazine in April 2011. Its About Us page (“The Story of”) is here. Unfortunately, Scott couldn’t land the Web address you’d expect – a plain dot-com. For the record, the company’s address is


We like the graphic design of this site: the calligraphic lettering and stained parchment are about as far from corporate as you can get. All by itself, this design makes a statement “About Us.”

Products/Services: D

Clicking on The Story Of takes visitors to a page called “Genesis” and starts loading a video. This is a problem: not all of us want or have the time to watch a video, particularly when we don’t know its length or the content. Another drawback: the video doesn’t open at all unless you have Apple’s Quicktime, which some PC loyalists are not interested in downloading.

“Genesis” is an animated account of how Scott left a mega-corporation to open Sweet Revenge. While the visuals are attractive and the story is told in a charmingly offbeat way, the video is more about Scott hating her previous job than about the delicious uniqueness of her restaurant. And for a restaurant’s website, the About Us page should never veer too far from evoking the mouth-watering food that a visitor to the restaurant will be able to see, smell, touch, taste.

Incidentally, on the Sweet Revenge home page we’d love to see some names attached to those yummy-looking photos that cycle at the upper right. It’s not obvious which one’s the chorizo and cheese and which one’s the Jamaican curry. Besides, a hasty visitor might not realize that this is anything more than another Magnolia Bakery wannabe. In this respect, the Entrepreneur article was more enticing than the company’s own site.

Personality: B

Clicking on Bio under “The Story Of” takes us to a short description of Scott’s career, which ends with a clever reference to “the sweetest revenge.” Unfortunately, this narrative is only a variation on the Genesis video.

Yes, it is fascinating that Scott ditched corporate life and is doing very well in a niche market that she created. But again, we’d like to see more focus on the positive (the food) rather than the negative (what Scott wanted to escape from). Which cupcakes were most popular among the friends who served as her guinea pigs? What were some of the bizarre flavors that didn’t make the cut? Scott’s personality comes through vividly, but About Us pages always need to be closely tied to the product or service being offered – and to how it solves a problem or meets a need for the potential customer, even if the need is as frivolous as what flavor of cupcake to try.

Accessibility: C

The address and phone number appear in the footer on every page, but there’s no email for contacting Sweet Revenge. There’s also no separate contact for media and no encouragement (or specific contact info for) those who wish to order sizable numbers of cupcakes in advance, though the “Extra! Extra!” page vaguely hints at it. (Cute page title, perhaps too cute.) We wouldn’t even know that mass orders are possible had we not read Entrepreneur’s cover story.


Media coverage provides invaluable clues about the aspects of your product or service that interest outsiders. Be sure to include information about those aspects in your About Us pages. And when you’re in retail, sell your product at least as much as you sell your personal story.

Does your Web site’s “About Us” section accurately convey your organization’s history and capabilities? Every two weeks we evaluate one example, grading it in three areas that are key to potential customers: Personality (Who are you?), Products/Services (What can you do for us?), and Accessibility (How can we reach you?). Contact us if you’d like to have your site evaluated—there’s no charge and no obligation.

Today’s example was chosen at random; has no ties to this company.