Monday, August 3, 2015

Union Square Hospitality Group: “About Us” Evaluation by Corporate

Danny Meyer’s first restaurant (opened when he was 27 years old) is the award-winning Union Square Cafe, which has held the top spot in Zagat’s New York City restaurant guide nine times. Under the name Union Square Hospitality Group, Meyer also runs the Gramercy Tavern, a catering service, and restaurants at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney, among others. Together these have won 26 prestigious James Beard Foundation awards. And let’s not forget the ubiquitous Shake Shacks. The main About Us page is Company.


Products/Services: B
The above-the-fold graphic on the Company page is (how rare!) full of solid business history content: when the company opened its first restaurant and its first Shake Shack, number of Beard Awards, number of employees with the company for more than ten years, and so on. It’s concise and attractive. Adding links to pages with more information - for example, a list of Beard Awards received – would be a great idea.

The text below the graphic gets a slow start with an abstract discussion of what it means to enrich lives. For the sake of fickle web-surfers and those of us who appreciate corporate storytelling, why not start with the second paragraph: “We’ve created some of New York City’s most beloved and celebrated restaurants ...” ?

We appreciate the clever text of the timeline (History), which has catchy phrases such as “elegant and fiercely seasonal cuisine.” But once the corporate history has made our mouths start to water, why not offer us links to the websites of the restaurants mentioned on the timeline?

Personality: B
Our Commandment 3 of About Us pages is, “Reveal thy personality.” Danny Meyer, founder of the Union Square Hospitality Group, unfortunately isn’t given much space on the Company and History pages. There is a page is devoted to his book Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business, with a sidebar that offers a thought-provoking quote of substantial length from Meyer (bravo!). Digging into the People and Leaders pages, we found a good bio of Meyer. But ... we assume that as the founder, it’s his ideas and his drive that have led to the award-winning quality of his restaurants as well as his focus on philanthropy (see Community). Why not have him explain in his own words why he made these choices and where he plans to go from here? That would make for compelling corporate storytelling.

Accessibility: C
The Contact page (available from the footer) offers a mailing address, phone, and email address, with social media icons). This is adequate.

Even if you’re proud of the stellar team your company has assembled, don’t be afraid to let the founder’s or leader’s personality shine through in your About Us pages: it’ll give visitors a much better sense of what makes your company tick.

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; has no ties to this company.