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Brand Reinforcement: Go Big (Or Small)

Brand development doesn’t stop after a restaurant is named. Although a well thought out name can speak to your customers and cuisine, it needs adequate support to make an impact. Your restaurant’s supporting elements reinforce and drive home the story behind the brand to create a lasting impression on your audience long after their meal. Through branding elements, both large and small that they can see and touch, you lead your customer on an intentional journey from the moment they walk in the door and throughout their dining experience. Second Sight Design has flexed creativity by telling tales through these three main pillars when developing their client’s brand stories.

Menu Names

The easiest and often the most subtle way to detail your brand story is through your menu. Whether it be the menu items or sections, each of these seemingly small decisions further reinforces the story you’re trying to tell. Why opt for the generic label when you can enchant with a cheeky header? It’s the icing on the cake – not completely necessary, but a very sweet and memorable addition.

At JRDN, where the surf meets the sand, their dinner menu section titles are indicative of both the toasty, SoCal beach weather and refreshing Pacific Ocean that this waterfront restaurant lives on. While also calling out the temperatures of the menu items themselves, the menu gently begins with “So Raw” and “Way Cool” featuring items like Ahi Tuna Nachos and Smoked Baba Ganoush before diving into “Burning Up” and “Pure Sizzle” highlighting different cuts of beef and a whole fried fish.

JRDN’s sushi items keep the coastal vibes alive with names like “California Dreamin” and “Sundown” roll while items on their bar menu speak to the easy-breezy nature and incredible beauty of the restaurant locale by featuring mixed cocktails like the “Time Killer” and “Eighth Wonder.”  

Environmental Elements

There is nothing more impactable than a space dripping in graphics and art installations that truly envelops the customer and transports them as the main character into your restaurant’s brand story.

At Rare Society’s OG locale in San Diego, Second Sight left no surface untouched with a piece of 1960’s casino flare. The Las Vegas supper club inspired space uses on brand art installations to fill the restaurant with life. A custom hand-placed 620 card wall installation highlighting the coveted Ace of Spades sets the tone as you walk through the door before guests bring their appetite (and luck) to a custom poker table inscribed at each end with “A Bet You Can Trust,” a tagline tied to its parent brand, Trust Restaurant Group. Guests scooch up to the bar for a cocktail alongside a 1960’s Vegas showgirl revealing a little leg as a red velvet curtain provides her with a cheeky peek-a-boo moment in this life-size installation.

With a picture-perfect location nestled on the Pacific Beach boardwalk in San Diego, JRDN could have easily leaned into their intriguing views and called it a day. Instead, Second Sight used this to emphasize their laid-back cool with ocean blue wall coverings etched with Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” and their prime GPS coordinates.

Surprise & Delight Touches

While environmental elements shine, you don’t have to go big (or spendy) to be impactful to your audience. You can pack a huge punch in each thoughtful decision you make while purchasing necessities for your restaurant. You’ll need check presenters, but why opt for the standard black book when you can get creative by choosing a check vessel that will tell a little bit more of your story. Let your guests’ last moments at their table really stand out by serving their check in a vintage Las Vegas casino ashtray like Rare Society or mini fly fishing tackle box like lakeside retreat, Decoy or on vintage car manuals like at Rambler Coffee’s 70s inspired roadside cafe. It’s these small details that each guest touches that surprise and delight throughout their dining experience as they begin to expect the unexpected from your brand. There are endless ways to tap into this. At Rare Society, managers pass out their business “cards” printed on poker chips and Rambler Coffee presents a steamy cup of joe to their guests in funky “Take It Easy” mugs.