Nathan’s, a Coney Island tradition, was founded in 1916 by Nathan and Ida Handwerker, using their life savings of $300 and Ida’s hot dog recipe. Nathan’s son Murray opened several more restaurants, all of which were sold to a group of investors in 1987. The company went public in 1993. Meanwhile, the name was franchised; Nathan’s name now appears on more than 45,000 fast-food outlets across the United States. The About Us page is Our Story.
OVERALL GRADE: C
How does a web page convey the taste of a hot dog? Nathan’s Famous History page doesn’t try. It focuses instead on the people who love the brand—a smart twist on the usual business history—from Al Capone and Jimmy Durante to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy (really?), and Joe Namath. Governor Nelson Rockefeller encapsulated the mass-market appeal: “No man can hope to be elected in New York without being photographed eating a hot dog at Nathan’s Famous.”
As a visual reminder of Nathan’s 98-year history, the site offers a Historic Photo Gallery of Nathan’s original location and its Coney Island neighborhood from 1916 to the present. Bringing the product up to the minute is a page of Instagram Fan Photos. (While the pics are loading, the page is filled with hot dogs getting be-mustarded: cute!) The annual hot-dog eating contest that attracts major press coverage rates several pages that include a list of winners and a count-down clock to the next event.
Our Commandment 1 of About Us Pages is, “Know thy audience.” Nathan’s hits all the right buttons to make people associate hot dogs and good times, making them eager to go back for more.
Nathan’s site doesn’t mention the fact that the founding family no longer owns the business. But since the company still bears Nathan’s name, why not tell more stories about him and really take advantage of corporate storytelling? Wikipedia has anecdotes that would be charming additions, such as the fact that Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante encouraged Nathan to start the hot-dog stand. As a rule, if Wikipedia has more clever stories about your company than your company’s own website, then your website is due for an upgrade.
The brief Contact page offers links to online email forms regarding hot dogs or other grocery products, emails for four departments, plus the address and phone of the Executive Offices. This is minimal but OK.
History is telling stories, and business history stories make for great marketing. If you’ve got anecdotes about the founder, or the company’s growth, or a great comeback story, tell the world!
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?). To talk about your About Us page, contact us!
Today’s example was chosen at random; CorporateHistory.net has no ties to this company.