Finding the Right Balance of Brand Identity and Website Usability

In a world of Google rankings and optimal user experiences, which do you prioritize on your website - the guest journey or an authentic brand identity? 

At LaneTerralever (LT), we prefer to have our bruschetta board and eat it too. When tasked with revamping Postino WineCafe’s website, our goals were to ensure their authentic personality got the spotlight it deserves and that their guests could find exactly what they were looking for.

Our relationship with Postino WineCafe began long ago...

We designed and developed the website for their parent restaurant group: Upward Projects. The restaurant group is comprised of five unique brands, spread across 20+ locations in the Western United States.

The goal of that project was similar. Create a website that captured the essence of Upward's vibrant, welcoming culture and portfolio of brands while providing high functionality and clear pathways for guests to navigate the site.

Then it was Postino’s turn. In 2017, the marquee brand partnered with LA Based Brentwood Associates, a private equity group, to support Postino's vision of joining communities across the country, delivering their bespoke food, beverages and good vibes.

With this grand vision came the need for an updated website that could grow with the brand. The website would have to serve as a scalable solution to complement the brand's hyper-local, nuanced approach, with a clear user experience, increase foot traffic and online orders, and empower their team with a streamlined CMS.

Restaurant Marketing Services

  • Restaurant website design (Led by Upward Projects Team)
  • Website development
  • CMS implementation
  • Digital strategy
  • Third-party integrations
  • Quality assurance

The Main Challenge: Balancing Brand Identity & Strategic User Journeys

While their previous website was visually beautiful, it lacked clear pathways for guests. That was the challenge we were tasked with. How could LT honor the visually stimulating brand identity of Postino while still ensuring the user experience was effective and functional? 

LT strategized this approach and was able to maintain Postino’s graphics-heavy, vibrant personality that evokes joy and excitement for their food, while still carving clearcut pathways for guests dependent on what they were looking for.

A Delicate Balancing Act

From grainy, black and white images that pay homage to Postino's punk rock approach to wine culture to the vibrant golden-hued images that excite your taste buds, the visuals for Postino WineCafe will inspire you to rush through their doors.

Yet, pretty images aren’t enough. A frustrating user journey can still deter guests, regardless of visual appeal. 

So LT strategized a clear pathway for all potential Postino clientele, from the casually interested to those looking for catering to those who are previewing the menu before happy hour. It is clear from the onset where to go, depending on where you want to end up.


The Secondary Challenge: A Scalable Website for a Growing Brand

With 16 locations in Arizona, Colorado and Texas, and an eye on the next exciting neighborhood to call home, Postino needed a website that could grow with them.

Postino’s previous content management system (CMS) was 10 years old and difficult to update without technical knowledge. It had limited functionality, no space for enhancement and did not support the brand’s business objectives. 

This all needed to change.


A CMS That Empowers The Marketing Team

A major part of LT’s website redesign was setting up an easy-to-use CMS that the Postino team could edit and update quickly, even for those with little technical knowledge. 

Our Development Team built the new site on WordPress, which has extreme flexibility and is easy to update as needed. This will allow the website to expand without running into the obstacles of a complicated backend system that hinders growth and uses up valuable time. 

Creating a dynamic, responsive mobile version was also critical to this project as over 70% of Postino’s web traffic comes from mobile devices like most restaurants have seen. Ensuring the Menu and Locations pages were easy to find was crucial.


Creating Deeper & More Meaningful Online Guest Experiences

Websites serve many purposes. For a new guest, a visually appealing website that brings the brand to life can ignite interest and get people in the door.

Increasing foot traffic was an important goal for Postino. On the homepage, a simple scroll reveals access to the Menu and a Location search/map feature. Additionally, we placed Menu and Locations at the beginning of the navigation, so guests could explore the food offerings and easily find a restaurant closest to their community.

Online ordering gained a strong foothold at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and shows no sign of going away, even as things return to a new “normal.” Postino wanted their new website to follow along with this trend and make it simple for guests to order online. We gave Online Orders a front and center spot on the homepage, plus its own color and area of the navigation bar to ensure it stands out.

Implementing an Online Waitlist 

Using a digital integration with Wisely, Postino implemented a “Join Our Waitlist” feature for new locations. Guests are able to put their names on the list via their mobile phones from home and show up just in time to be seated. 

Looking Ahead at the Careers/Recruiting

The pandemic inspired innovative thinking in all aspects of their business including hiring. This meant they had an opportunity to rethink how they engage and attract prospective team members.

As the brand continues to grow, so does their need to find awesome employees. The careers page will contain job listings/information for a specific location, the ability to refer a friend for a position, provide updates to new hires, allow employees to download important paperwork and provide a sense of community for new team members before they start work. 

Since recruitment in the restaurant industry is rapidly evolving, it was important to create a page with high functionality that has the potential to increase organic hiring and is another way to keep up with and support Postino’s growth.

Launching Postino Wine Cult

Continuing in our work with Postino, we were thrilled to work alongside them through the design and development of the new Postino Wine Cult website. Wine Cult is a subscription experience for wine enthusiasts with hand-curated quarterly drops and lots of exclusive member extras. They needed a separate website that housed information on the subscription. Through Upward Project’s design and our user experience (UX) and development, we were able to capture the colorful personality of Postino while providing an engaging guest experience.

Website Results

So far the new website has been a huge hit with both guests and the marketing team. We created an accessible and enjoyable online guest experience and the results show it. Some of the initial highlights include.

Increase in Organic Search Rankings: An increase was seen in organic traffic coming from targeted keywords. This meant more traffic coming to their site month over month.

Near Perfect ​​Accessibility (ADA) Score: Staying on the forefront of all things accessibility was important to all involved. As a result we saw a significant increase in our accessibility scores ensuring all guests can accomplish what they are looking for.

Streamlined Tech Stack: Our development team was also able to eliminate security risks and integrate the Postino order management, email and CRM platforms into a seamless, streamlined operation.

Easy to Navigate Guest Experience: Overall we achieved our most important goal in making an easier to navigate, simple online guest experience. 

As Postino WineCafe expands throughout the nation, bringing delicious wine and food to all, we’re excited to see their new website continue to increase awareness and bring their brand to life.

What Our Clients Say

“LT has become our go-to for all things digital. They have a unique ability to create a seamless digital guest experience that also allows our brand’s personality to shine through at every touchpoint.”


Lauren Bailey, CEO & Co-founder, Postino Winecafe