My first impression of By Chloe was that it was just one of the several ‘trendy’ spots that New York is peppered with. I remember walking past the Greenwich Village location of the restaurant several times, and each time, there would be a long serpentine line extending till outside.
I lived only two blocks away, so I was always on the lookout for good food options in the neighborhood, but when I found out that By Chloe only served vegan food, I had no intention of eating there. Ever. Until my roommate at the time (who, I should mention, is more carnivorous than I am) recommended it to me. A vegan recommendation from someone who usually has meat for every meal? My interest was piqued.
So, one cold winter evening, I decided to give By Chloe a try. All it took to make a fan out of me was one bite of their famous guac & black bean burger. I was sold, instantly. And not just by the food, but by the decor, the environment, the feel of the place.
By Chloe caters to people wanting to try new things, and those who are willing to wait for it (the line can sometimes take 30 minutes, and they take an additional 15-20 minutes to prepare the food). Their target market is mostly young professionals and students in the vicinity— and I think their branding is bang on.
It has a fun, colorful, and energetic vibe, and their website and social media presence reflect their brand.
It’s important to note that unlike many other restaurants, By Chloe does not use many delivery services (I think the only one they use is Postmates). Online orders and deliveries are not made possible even through their website, so the main purpose of their website is to educate the user about the restaurant, and at the same time, give them an idea of their brand personality.
The homepage of By Chloe’s website (accessed from my laptop) opens to a slideshow of visually appealing images with short messages on each image. The images are colorful and aesthetic, keeping with their brand personality. The messages on them manage to convey to me what the restaurant is about. And once they have my attention, it also makes me want to stay on the website and explore further.
If I went to their website to find a way to contact them, it would be easy— their email id is mentioned at the bottom of every page, so I don’t need to click several links till I find their contact information. The email id is also linked to open up in my mail app on my laptop, so I don’t need to copy and paste it myself. Another plus.
They also have their social media links (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat) easily accessible at the bottom of the page.
They have a tab linking to their story, and pleasantly, it’s not long and windy, but short and specific. It has relevant key words like ‘plant-based’, ‘nourishing’, ‘delicious’, and ‘wholesome’. It describes the business objective but also ensures that their message gets across to users who simply skim through content.
Their locations and location-specific menus are visually appealing and easy to navigate. They also have an FAQ tab, which answers questions customers might have about the ingredients used, delivery services, and packaging. What I really like is their allergen guide— it’s something that only someone with allergies would want to access, so it’s neatly tucked away in the FAQ section, rather than cluttering up other pages.
The main objective of their website is to make the user want to eat at the restaurant. It’s full of excellent-quality images of vegan dishes that actually look delicious, dispelling the myth that vegan food isn’t tasty.
Overall, I find their website very aesthetically appealing, and I think they designed it keeping the user in mind. The images and graphics are fun, the font used is easy to read, and the language used is not clunky and lengthy, but informal, short, and catchy. They’re writing how their target market speaks, so that’s a plus!
While I found the website’s design responsive and convincing, it’s also innovative because it makes vegan food look fun and desirable. It makes veganism seem like a viable lunch option rather than a permanent lifestyle choice. My current roommate, who’s never eaten at By Chloe, said she would definitely go there after she used the website. So, the website definitely fascinates.
Now, onto their mobile site: it’s definitely clunkier and has a few glitches, which is a big negative— on an average, adults in the US spend 2.8 hours per day using the internet on their phones, as compared to 2.4 hours on their laptops/desktops.
It opens to the same page as the desktop site, and the images are customized to phone screens.
At first, navigating it seems easy, contact information is easy to find, and it is as aesthetically appealing. However, I’m not sure I want the same automatic slideshow on my phone— I think it’s easier on the eyes if images flash by on a bigger screen, as opposed to a small mobile screen.
And here’s my main gripe with their mobile site— as I touch different tabs, each new page asks me to subscribe to their newsletter before letting me view the content. It would be a responsive site if it simply asked me once to subscribe on the homepage, and then remembered my answer. While the site isn’t asking me to commit before letting me access the content, the fact that I have to touch the ‘x’ button each time is an inconvenience, and I don’t think users will have the patience for it. The desktop site did not have this problem.
The phone website can’t handle high speed scrolling, and gets frozen at times while I scroll through.
Another negative— their menu isn’t customized for mobile devices, so I have to zoom in quite a bit to read it.
Accessing the website from an iPad is similar to using it on a phone. The format and content are the same, but so are the problems. It’s a bit faster on the iPad than on my phone.
To sum it up, By Chloe’s website definitely has a distinct, appealing personality; it tells the brand story, the images are excellent quality and very aesthetic, and the content is engaging. However, it’s not completely optimized for mobile and tablet platforms, and it seems like the desktop site has been simply shrunken to fit mobile and tablet platforms. So, while I really enjoyed navigating their site on my laptop, my overall user experience was hampered by the lack of responsiveness on other, smaller-screen platforms.
Side note: I think By Chloe as a brand is an example of the Avant-Garde archetype— a combination of prestige and innovation, and it seems to use it to its advantage very well!