We haven’t really looked at casual, fast dining options in our lineup of industries for awards, so thought this was a good thing to consider for this month’s award. There are so many different startups and well-established restaurants that we had plenty to choose from and ultimately chose Chicken Salad Chick for their clean layout and aesthetically pleasing balance between positive and negative space.
IBISWorld estimates 200,859 fast food restaurants in the United States in 2023, a slight increase from 2022. If you live in an area with development, you’ve likely noticed how many buildings are in progress for new fast restaurant options. Gen-Xers and baby boomers will remind you of a time when there were two or three options and that was it. Today, you can find a fast food restaurant on nearly every corner in urban areas.
Narrowing down the many options wasn’t easy, so we set up some parameters to help. The food had to be of moderate cost. It had to be fast enough to be considered convenient. It needed no servers and only counter service. Some of the contenders for this month’s award included McCallister’s Deli, Five Guys, McDonald’s and Chicken Salad Chick.
Winner: Chicken Salad Chick
We ultimately chose Chicken Salad Chick for the clean lines and optimum white space. The user’s eye is drawn to call to action (CTA) buttons such as the one above because there is plenty of white space surrounding the clickable feature.
We like the white, clean look for a restaurant. They still give a nod to the red often associated with restaurant design with some accents here and there.
What Is the History of Chicken Salad Chick?
Founder Stacy Brown started the company, making delicious chicken salad in her kitchen. She was a stay-at-home mom and she wanted to find the best recipe out there for chicken salad.
However, she soon realized different people define the perfect chicken salad in various ways. At the time, she was a single, divorced mom, so she sold her chicken salad by going door to door.
She and her future husband decided to come up with a fast food chicken salad restaurant and later started a franchise. One unique thing about their food is that each type of chicken salad is named after a special “chick” in Stacy’s life.
Diners can order different styles and varieties of chicken salad on bread or lettuce. Sides include good homestyle favorites such as pasta salad, fruit, macaroni and cheese and soups.
Why We Chose Chicken Salad Chick as Our Site of the Month
Even though we love the uniqueness of the chain and the taste of the dishes, the reason we chose Chicken Salad Chick as our site of the month was because of the fabulous design that stands out amongst fast food restaurants.
We found many of the sites we visited to be too busy. Some sites tried to do everything at once and didn’t allow much room for white space. One made our eyes hurt because it was so loud. We felt another made it difficult to find what you wanted because categorization was lacking.
Chicken Salad Chick stood out as a stellar design you can study and learn from for these reasons:
We like the neutral colors with pops of red. We also enjoyed the way they implemented a bit of green accents to show their food is wholesome, down home type fare. The ample white space is made possible by the light background.
Find Your Location Feature
The “Find Your Location” CTA button works well to ensure you find a restaurant closest to you. However, when you initially land on their website, it will try to get a close approximation of your location and give you a store near where you are. This is quite convenient, especially for those visiting from out of town.
If you scroll down the page a bit, you’ll see food categories, such as sandwiches and soups. Hover over any of the pictures and they increase in size, grabbing user attention and making the site a bit more interactive. It’s a subtle effect but works well to keep site visitors engaged.
The “Order Now” button is a convenience for customers wanting to pick up a quick lunch or set up delivery. You can also order directly from the Chicken Salad Chick app. Everything is very straightforward and easy to use with the ordering system.
The site adapts well to mobile devices, offering a different set of images and creating a single column scroll. You can still order online and access everything from the smaller mobile screen.
We love the streamlined navigation. There is a hamburger menu on both desktop and mobile that takes one to their story or other minor details. You can also order or find a location via the header. By limiting the number of categories, the user moves through the site more quickly without distractions.
The foot is bright and offers two calls to action to “Order Now” or get “Catering.” They’ve also added their social media links and where you can download their app. A few other navigational options live in the footer without distracting from the main objective of the site.
Strong, Relevant Images
Photos and illustration can make or break a website design. We love the homey feel of most of the photos. Families laughing while they dine and bright fun colors set the mood for the website.
Many of the images focus on food photography and offer beautiful shots of some of the favorite available dishes.
What We Would Do Different
There isn’t a lot we’d change about the Chicken Salad Chick website. It’s straightforward and easy to use. Even the app is quite easy to pick up and start earning rewards with.
One thing we might tweak is adding in a video showcasing some of the different ways to order. For example, what are the different combinations if you want Fancy Nancy? Videos add a lot of interest to a website and with faster streaming available to most people can help push conversions.
Chicken Salad Chick is a nice example of a simple design that functions as intended and drives sales. You can repeat many of these design elements in a website for almost any industry and find success.