Little Italy is a Glasgow institution, and they make tasty pizza. So, finding myself in the car park of IKEA just past 9pm, and hungry, I immediately thought “If Little Italy is still open, I can phone a takeaway order in and pick it up on my way home.” So I checked their website.
The previous version of their website had their opening hours on the front page. The new version is better in almost all aspects - it’s cleaner, it’s fresher, there’s more information - apart from this particular epic fail: if you already know that you like the place, want to order, but can’t remember when the place will be open, the web site will no longer tell you.
To add insult to injury, their “Contact us” page - which, for all I know, might have their opening hours on it - times out, which is pretty much inexcusable. The website was designed by Dunning Design, but the only mention of Little Italy on their website is this news entry from May 2004 about designing “packaging for their take-away services”, which I assume to be custom pizza boxes. Except that Little Italy still use bog-standard pizza boxes, four years later and counting, despite the obvious marketing appeal of having people walk around Byres Road with tasty boxes with your logo slapped on them (similar to how Amazon advertise by the postman delivering parcels with an Amazon logo on them to your neighbours).
The sad thing is, in many ways the new website is much better. The old frame-based layout is gone, but more importantly there’s more information about the people behind Little Italy (I didn’t know that Remo Crolla’s dad ran Dino’s in town). With a bit of effort the site could become far more interesting. Apparently the management team go to Italy once a year for inspiration; that sounds like excellent blog fodder to me.
Now, Little Italy does well enough that perhaps they don’t particularly need to advertise. As I said, they’re an institution in Glasgow’s West End, and for a good reason: their food is very good. (The two Italian restaurants that have opened in the last few years, each within a block of Little Italy, are by all accounts rubbish.) Still, guys, get the basics right?