A New Website Serves Up Meaty Results for Pappas Bar-B-Q

A redesign of the Pappas Bar-B-Q restaurant brand’s website placed an emphasis on improving the user experience so consumers could find location and menu content quicker. The redesign resulted in a decrease in overall site bounce rate by 27% and an increase of average session duration of 18%, while decreasing the number of pages consumers had to navigate through per session by 28%.


Pappas Restaurants, Inc., is one of the largest family-owned and -operated restaurant companies in the U.S., with more than 100 locations across several brands, including 17 locations of Pappas Bar-B-Q — the brand that started it all. Pappas Bar-B-Q delivers fresh food fast, in Texas-sized portions at unbeatable value. The brand was ready for a website refresh, with a look and feel that would more accurately represent the company’s core values, and UX that would make menus and locations easier for consumers to find.

We gave them a fun and engaging site that put content where it was most meaningful and accessible for consumers, driving big gains in average session duration, location and menu pageviews, and time spent on pages, while decreasing the site bounce rate.

Challenges & Goals:

Pappas brings its core values of superior service, quality food and innovation to everything it does. We wanted creative to capture this by:

  • Educating consumers on the barbecue process
  • Showing off the quality ingredients and attention to detail
  • Combating a perception in the barbecue world that chains can’t consistently create good barbecue and that quality barbecue can only be found in independent restaurants
  • Modernizing the site while also keeping the down-home Southern family feel

Improving the user experience was also vital in the redesigned site. It was important to:

  • Update the navigation, location finder and searchability to make information easier to find
  • Provide consumers a menu without having to provide location information (Not having this menu access is one of the top 5 things users hate about restaurant websites)
  • Ensure map, hours and menu information for a user’s closest location is always prominently accessible


One of the first things we did was learn the ins and outs of the Pappas barbecue process firsthand so we could capture the details of the ingredients and process authentically for consumers. We went into the back of the house, talking to managers, chefs and, most importantly, pitmasters, about the Pappas approach to making great barbecue and how they ensure product consistency so we could present Pappas as a leader in the barbecue world, especially in a growing foodie culture.

We identified 4 core target audiences for the Pappas Bar-B-Q brand and focused on prioritizing website users’ needs into the searchability, site navigation and functional features based around these audiences. We wanted to make it easier for consumers to find locations via search engine and to get all promotions and location-specific information quickly to convert to in-store visits.


  • We emphasized the quality of the food through the use of large, high-resolution images that make your mouth water and show off the finest details, such as flakes of cracked ground pepper and the smoke rings that aficionados know identify great barbecue
  • We used bold primary colors and typography to capture both the rich, meaty experience, while also including drawings, album-style photos and a lighter, more handwritten style of typography in smaller callouts to capture the personal, family feel
  • We created “The Meat” page featuring a timeline-style infographic about the key cuts of meat, prep times and seasonings. The Meat page is a differentiator for barbecue aficionados who want to know exactly how the meat is smoked, what wood is used, and which ingredients are made from scratch.
  • We incorporated location autodetection functionality to immediately identify where a user is and provide the closest restaurant location
  • We created an ever-present location box in the nav to provide access to basic location info that most website users are looking for: a map, phone number, menus, and more
  • We named locations intuitively in URLs to be more easily found by search engines. For example, the Northwest Highway location in Dallas was previously at http://pappasbbq.com/location/?id=47 but became http://pappasbbq.com/location/northwest-hwy-at-i-35
  • We added a menu page in the primary navigation that allows all users to peruse typical menu choices, as well as open photos of many individual items. Location profile pages then show detailed PDFs of their exact menus with pricing
  • We created prominent menu callouts throughout the site to make it easy for users to jump over to the menu


Post-launch of the redesign compared with pre-launch, we noted:

  • Decreased overall site bounce rate by 27%
  • Decreased pages per session by 28% while increasing average session duration by 18%, indicating users found what they needed faster and the content they found was more meaningful
  • Increased location pageviews by 49%
  • Increased time on page for the location pages by 112%, indicating users are finding the relevant and engaging content they are looking for
  • Increased menu pageviews by 28%
  • Increased time on page for the menu page by 405% (average time 1:47 post-launch vs. 0:21 pre-launch)
  • Over half of visitors come to The Meat page from a link on the menu page, showing they have a keen interest in understanding the details behind what they are eating

With the increases in location and menu pageviews, as well as an increase in these being the exit page, we know site visitors are finding the information they need to make their restaurant visit.

The Results