Creating Authentic French Atmosphere on the Web: TTG & L’Absinthe

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L’Absinthe is a French restaurant located in New York City. L’Absinthe follows the French brasserie style, meaning that the chef maintains a menu on which classic dishes such as Coq au Vin and Foie Gras may be found, as well as more modern seasonal dishes. These sumptuous meals are served in a relaxed but upscale environment, as opposed to the more casual and capricious bistro style.

L’Absinthe’s renowned chef and owner, Jean-Michel Bergougnoux hails from the Auvergne region of France, where his culinary career started. He then trained in some of the most distinguished restaurants around the globe. In 2005, he opened L’Absinthe to bring the French cuisine he knows and loves to NYC. In 2012 Chef Jean-Michel Bergougnoux of L’Absinthe was chosen Chef of The Year by his peers from the US Chapter of Maître Cuisiners de France.


Beautiful Beginnings

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We began our journey with L’Absinthe in the fall of 2011 when the NYC French restaurant approached us to design a website that would effortlessly mirror the guest experience one would have in the physical restaurant. This meant creating a design that would not only reflect its beauty, sophistication, and culture, but would also be extremely easy for their patrons to navigate.

Images were brought front and center with large sliders to make visitors feel as though they could be sitting in L’Absinthe’s grand dining room or at the sophisticated bar rather than in front of their computer screens. To bring guests even more authentic atmosphere, we added a photo gallery where they can view additional photos of the elegant dining room and feast their eyes on Chef Bergougnoux’s exquisite dishes.

The main navigation was kept very simple to make it easy for guests to find exactly what they needed, whether that was to peruse the menu or to make a reservation. Additionally, understanding the importance of both keeping their guests informed and of pleasing the search engines, L’Absinthe agreed that a blog would be added.


A Personal Touch

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Chef Bergougnoux worked very closely with our team to ensure the authenticity of the site. With his expert input, slider photos were chosen to showcase the restaurant’s beauty and grace. In addition, Chef Bergougnoux requested that we include a song, sung partially in French, which would auto-play when a visitor landed on the site. Though we generally recommend against auto-playing media, we trust Chef’s judgment in this case and this song became an essential part of drawing guests into the culture and ambiance of L’Absinthe.


Recognizing the Power of Mobile

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Given the restaurant’s metropolitan location, we also developed a mobile website along with the traditional website. This strategy has given the NYC French restaurant a leg up on their competition, as 40% of all mobile searches are local, meaning that people are looking for restaurants in their area on their mobile devices. Having a website formatted specifically for smaller screen sizes increases the change that local mobile users will spend more time on their site.


Continuing Support

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L’Absinthe understands that their website is all for naught without ongoing efforts to drive guests back to the site and, ultimately, through their doors. Thus, we developed a SEM, social media, and email marketing strategy that would continue to inform guests about the restaurant’s seasonal dishes, daily specials, and upcoming events. In the weekly blog, we educate guests on new menu items, palatable wine pairings, and more, all while optimizing the content for Google. These articles are shared on Facebook and Twitter to increase the restaurants reach and visibility. Their daily specials are also posted on these social media outlets, exciting the palates of their followers, causing them to engage with the pages and visit the restaurant. Finally, monthly eblasts announce upcoming events, holiday menus and special promotions. A similar look and feel is maintained across L’Absinthe’s web presence to provide a congruent experience.

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