UX Research




2 Weeks


Wilson's Secret Sauce BBQ


Wilson’s Secret Sauce BBQ is a local, family owned restaurant that strives to give their customers delicious grilled meals. The company started catering in 2010 and gained quick popularity with their award winning pork, moving forward to open a stand alone restaurant in 2018 with customers from all over the Philadelphia area. Wilson's prides itself not only on their delectable dishes, but also the community of BBQ lovers that they have found along the way and are always looking for a means to make the customer feel at home.


Wilson's was looking to rebrand themselves and create a new, modern, responsive website to compete with other local businesses and chains. Especially during the tough times of COVID, they wanted to make a customers experience with the restaurant, start to finish, as easy and seamless as possible by making their site more user friendly. To do this, customers were to be directed to Grubhub, a third-party delivery service, to place delivery orders online. The original form of the website made it difficult to find the menu then go back and place the order through the Grubhub link.

The customer had to go to the menu page first then back to the delivery page, then to grubhub to place the delivery. The job was to minimize the effort during this process while making the site look more modern.



Avoiding Grubhub's marketing fee

Understanding Grubhub's system was essential to making the process easier for customers. An interview with the restaurant owner revealed an interesting insight on how Grubhub's service charges work.

Grubhub charges restaurants a "marketing" fee for customers that go directly to their site

Grubhub see customers that go directly to their website as their customers that are redirected to the restaurant. However, if a customer goes to Grubhub through the restaurants affiliate link, these fees would be avoided because they are seen as the restaurants customer.

The design had to ensure that customers were to go through Wilson's website first to get to Grubhub to place an order. But why would a customer do this when they are going to end up on Grubhub anyway?

Why would customers go to the website first? Influence of incentives

Even though customers order through Grubhub, it was found that going directly to the website before placing an order is preferred by many. Customer interviews and surveys revealed that

Restaurant sites typically offer incentives such as coupons or updates on new dishes

To make sure they are not missing out on anything before placing their order, restaurant goers check in on the website for updated information if they know the restaurant sometimes has it. While the main goal of the customer is to look at the menu and ultimately place an order, the incentive drives them to the site first.

Dave’s Famous BBQ incentive to sign up for text messages.

Shifting the project focus to drive traffic to the website

While the original goal proposed by the owner of Wilson's was to design an updated, visually appealing website it was quickly clear that the transition to Grubhub was just as, if not more, important. The customers also wanted a place where they could easily view the menu and find the latest information on the restaurant. Both of these goals, while different, have a similar end job: to go to the website first. Thus, the focus of the project shifted more towards a combined outcome:

How might we drive customers directly to the site every time?

This would solve the main Grubhub fee problem of the owner but also give customers the opportunity to get the information that they want.

A site map to reorganize the pages

Before ideating on the features of the new site, it was essential to reorganize the structure of the pages to ensure that the user flow of looking at the menu and placing an order was quick and easy.



Highlighting new featured items on the home page

With the new main focus to drive customers to the website, it was important that the home page be the highlight. Customers had to get all of their information such as incentives, news, and featured BBQ immediately. The idea came up with the client to use the featured section to connect to their Instagram, but since the client does not post only food related content we decided that the best option was simply have an enlarged photo.

Creating a 1-step process to order

To ensure a seamless transition to Grubhub when ordering, customers are prompted with a single "order" button that directs them to Wilson's Grubhub page. This is accessible on all pages as a sticky navigation that follows the user down to page. Even being at the end of the menu, the user does not have to go back to the top to place their order.

Family. Quality. Community.

Wilson's family owned brand focuses on not only the food but also the people that come with it. The website had to replicate the atmosphere of the real life experience: a cheerful, comforting ambiance just like a rustic backyard barbeque you could enjoy with all of your friends and family.

Responsive - Mobile

Viewing Wilson's current website statistics revealed that most of their customers view the website on mobile. It was essential that the design be responsive to accommodate for mobile users.



Images influence purchases

Usability tests were conducted with customers to determine the path they chose to order delivery services while also given different versions of the home screen to determine what incentives prove to be the most effective. Surprisingly, the tests found that

Customers were driven by imagery of the food and inside the restaurant over the incentives

Returning customers were overjoyed by the familiar images of the restaurant while others simply loved the pictures of the food. The images of meals were enough to drive customers straight to Grubhub to order whatever was featured. It was decided to increase imagery on the website to help customers pick their meals. For this, a gallery was added with a name of the item so customers could easily know what to order if they found something they wanted to try.




Research. Research. And research again.

Research and testing an assumption is vital in the UX field. In this case, what I was hired to do was not exactly what I looked into. The job didn't end up being "how do I make my website look better". But instead it was about researching the client, the customers, and their intentions and motivators. The problem on the surface is not always the key and as a designer it is our job to discover the true issue at hand.