The Cybercritic: Chefwear

Reviewed Jan. 5, 3 p.m.,
Explorer 5.0

Chefwear believes that even laypeople have the right to don puffy white hats in the kitchen. While the site sells professional attire, offering a wide variety of staple items such as chef jackets, hats, aprons, neckerchiefs, and shoes, it also carries an exclusive line for pros and amateurs alike by fashion designer Nicole Miller. It even sells what it calls pint sized duds, or chef wear for children.

I decide to explore the hats product category. Clicking on the link calls up generous-size photos of the hats available. I click on a style I’m interested in, and the product page presents the necessary information about the item and the order form just as a good Website should, but just as all-too-many Websites don’t. Chefwear also provides comprehensive size charts and conversion charts for men and women.

But in many ways, this site is not living up to its potential. A few of the special offers are quite outdated. For instance, the home page has a button that says, Design a Chef’s Jacket Contest. I’m thinking, How fun! until I read that the contest ended two months ago! Though the site provides editorial about Chefwear, including how to become a member of its Culinary Community and receive information about special offers, products, and trade shows, the site lists a 1999 events schedule! It makes me wonder when Chefwear gets around to processing orders.

The other features are fairly reliable; the home page offers links to Contact Information, About Us, Shop Online, and Terms and Conditions. The Terms and Conditions link brings me to a description of the site’s trademark notices, modification and disclaimer information, and privacy policy. The navigation bar that appears throughout the site includes the Chefwear logo and pictures of the product categories to use, as well as sections labeled Order by Item Number, Catalog Request, Contact and Company Information, View Cart, and Checkout.

The ordering process is easy. At checkout, the secure order promise is shown again, along with delivery information, shipping charges, and a statement that Chefwear can’t process online orders from foreign countries. (But customers from outside the U.S. can print out an order form and fax it to Chefwear.)

All in all, while this site is easy to use and offers some interesting products, it needs to bring its information into the new millennium.

Overall rating 7.3
Brand identification 9
Fun quotient 7
Graphics 9
Depth/assortment 9
Navigation 9
Ease of product ordering 9
Overall ease of use 9
Timeliness 1
Loyalty efforts 7
Information collection 9
Search capabilities 0
Privacy policy 9

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