Whipping up a wicked awesome website experience

Papa Gino’s Website Design & Development

Papa Gino’s is a renowned pizza restaurant brand in the New England region. The brand has been serving up their delicious pies since 1961 and hasn’t stopped since. Now at 50+ locations Papa Gino’s continues to push its growth from the Northeast, southward.


Boston, MA

Year Completed


Team Size

Vigor 5 / Client 6


Web Development

To say that Papa Gino’s is a New England institution would be a notable understatement. Papa Gino’s is about as New England as the Patriots, Paul Revere, and egregious use of the word “wicked.” Maintaining and building that status requires constant reinvention where people interact with restaurant brands the most: the website. That’s when Vigor was tapped.

The ask was simple on the surface, “redesign and develop the Papa Gino’s website.” But after initial calls, the full breadth of the effort became much clearer. Papa Gino’s was endeavoring to launch a completely new online ordering and mobile app ecosystem and this site was to serve as the glue between them and the rest of the restaurant’s tech stack. The Vigor team lead the charge in realizing this next phase of the PapaGinos.com experience.

The incumbent Papa Gino’s website experience was good, but had some critical flaws that eliminated it as an iterative starting point. For starters, updating the website was cumbersome and limited. However, it was the built in online ordering system that blocked any iteration from being a feasible approach. We had to rebuild from scratch.

[Vigor’s] Collaboration has helped us stay on track with timelines, stay true to our brand vision, and set is up for future growth by providing a scalable platform that will grow with us and look great doing it!

– Deena McKinley, VP of Marketing

Restaurant Website Planning

Planning Papa Gino’s new digital experience was more than simple site mapping and features gathering. The brand was stepping away from a custom, seamless ordering experience into a bifurcated one where patrons would shift to a different domain when starting their order. The question to answer was how to eliminate the clicks between consideration and transaction to increase the ease of use.

Additionally, multiple third party systems needed to interact with the new site in various ways. From gift card ordering and balance checking, to human resources management systems, the new site had to become a hub for all parts of the tech stack. Finally there was the online ordering and mobile app provider, Lunchbox, which was building their components in tandem with our work.

One foundational goal of the site was to ensure it was built with future integration and growth in mind. It was especially important considering the potential with Lunchbox’s evergrowing suite of features. In addition to this foundational element, the site needed to be primed for organic search engine optimization.

Restaurant Technology Integrations

Restaurant Website Design

Papa Gino’s brand was evolving as we kicked off the engagement. It underwent a modernization and cleanup to position it for growth. As this workstream was completed, we were ready to take it and build upon it with a suite of user interface design components that would inform all digital real estate touchpoints.

Approaching with a mobile-first methodology, our team built upon a user experience (UX) workstream to apply the new brand identity elements. From these elements the team extended the suite into new iconography like a custom cursor, button styles that grabbed critical attention, and various other graphic devices to flesh out the look.

Underpinning the design approach was the need to be ADA and WCAG compliant. In order to achieve this critical benchmark, the team employed high contrast design, and development best practices.

Restaurant Website Development & Integrations

The website had to load fast on mobile devices so the team built it with a lightweight approach that balanced experience accentuating features with optimized coding. Having the ability to edit content that has a high rate of change month-to-month was necessary to empowering the client team to maintain their agile approach to content.

The team built the site on WordPress, custom-developing a theme that was optimized for load times. On the front end, experience enhancing features like scrolling slogans were added to elevate the brand for visitors. 

Papa Gino’s menu pages are some of the most frequently visited, so we put extra care in their usability to ensure visitors can find the info they need, then easily begin their order process via the Lunchbox portal.

Finally, ADA and WCAG compliance was achieved from the onset due to the expertise of the development team. This ensures Papa Gino’s patrons with additional needs are able to use the site without fail. A win for all parties.

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