Monday, September 12, 2011

“About Us” Evaluation: Bensi Restaurants Gets a B+

The first Bensi (“Always Fresh, All Ways Italian”) opened in 1983 in Tenafly, NJ. Currently 24 Bensi Restaurants are open or in development in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


Products/Services: B

The feature we love most about Bensi’s site is the borders that appear on every page. They include the company’s distinctive awning, a selection of delicious-looking dishes and ingredients, a few glasses of wine, and photos of groups of jolly eaters. All this is set against a map of Italy. The border puts the text into a frame of reasonable size, but more importantly provides a constant reminder of what Bensi Restaurants are all about. (Movado Group, please take note!)

That said, we’d like to see a bit more about the food on the page that tells the Bensi Story. And we’d like Bensi to fix a problem common to restaurant Web sites: they tend to bury their locations and hours. Most people log onto eatery sites primarily for that information (and for menus). Bensi’s Locations page offers a big map with locations keyed to where they think you are. In our case, they were about 50 miles off. Why not add a text list of locations that users can quickly scroll?

Worse, even when you drill down, there are no opening/closing hours for each restaurant. Instead Bensi offers a general set of hours, buried in an red-on-cranberry band; it’s so hard to read that we missed it the first two times around. It’s quite possible that this basic lack of data drives users away to general sites like MenuPages, where they’ll be regaled with ads from Bensi’s competitors.

Accessibility: A

The link for the Contact page is prominently placed at the right of the menu bar on every page, and offers mail and email options. We particularly like the fact that we can click a button to have a copy of our email sent to us. While we recognize the practicality of email forms for avoiding spam, we are often upset that using such forms means we don’t have a record of what we said to the company. (By the way, we used the form a few months ago to email Bensi about the hours issue. They answered promptly and cordially, suggesting that we phone the individual restaurants. Why, when the Web site could so easily provide this info? Bottom line, we’re not expecting site changes any time soon.)

Personality: B

The Home page has a few sentences on the company, followed by a button for “Read the Full Story.” The story of Bensi is short (it’s a relatively new company), but its creators have given it “roots” by linking it to the founders’ families in Italy. We also like the emphasis given to the fact that each Bensi is run by co-owners (the chef and the general manager), which means the restaurants have slightly different personalities and are managed onsite, not from a distant headquarters.

We were somewhat confused by the fact that clicking “Read the Full Story” didn’t always take us to this history page. Eventually we realized that the target of the button changes depending on which of 4 pictures is showing on the Home page. We suggest having all 4 options show at once on the Home page.


The stand-out feature of Bensi’s site is the borders that constantly remind visitors of the chain’s products and services. It’s a brilliant use of space that’s very often wasted.

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.