The backstory

Desert Island Restaurants runs some of the best restaurant franchises in the country, including Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar and Grill. Unfortunately, their website had aged over time and no longer had the same energy as their restaurant concepts.

Like an older home whose residents built additions as their family grew, Desert Island had added lots of new pages to the website as their business expanded. However, these changes led to a disorganized, outdated site that made it difficult to find information and left visitors feeling underwhelmed.

For years, Desert Island had worked closely with Tanya Gagnon of Miss Details Design, so when they decided to redesign the site, they knew exactly who to call. Seeing value in improving the site’s structure and content in addition to design, Tanya brought me in for help with content strategy and copywriting.

Developing a unifying brand story

Our first goal was to refine Desert Islands’ messaging to help potential franchisees and employees understand the company’s unique culture and spark their interest in joining the team.

Through an interactive workshop, Tanya and I walked the Desert Island team through several exercises to better understand their audiences’ needs, articulate what makes their culture special, and uncover the unifying theme that ties all of their restaurant concepts together. Although each concept serves a different type of cuisine, they all have one thing in common: the “Aloha Spirit” that the founder brought from his hometown in Hawaii to every location he and his staff have opened across the country.

Using the Aloha Spirit theme as a “North Star,” we compiled this brand story and the company’s other refined messaging into a guide. This guide steered the website redesign process, while providing a valuable resource for Desert Island’s future marketing efforts.

Desert Island Brand Strategy
 

Bringing Desert Island’s story to life

With Desert Island’s messaging all set, Tanya and I began planning how we could streamline their website from a cluttered, disjointed “mansion” to a clean, organized “home.”

We began by auditing the site and creating a new sitemap that would drastically reduce the number of pages. Having a smaller site makes both the user experience and website management easier. In addition to the sitemap, we developed a content map with a basic outline for each page, which sped up the project by allowing Tanya and I to work on content and design concurrently.

Desert Island Content Map
 
Just a few weeks later, Desert Island launched their beautifully redesigned and rewritten website. Now, the team can proudly show off their successful restaurant concepts and attract new people who want to ride the wave too.

Desert Island Website
 
Desert Island Website Mobile