3 restaurant & beverage logo designs accepted into LogoLounge 10
15/06/17 Agency News , In the press # , , , , , , , , ,

3 restaurant & beverage logo designs accepted into LogoLounge 10

We’re always excited to be included in a new publication. It’s even more validating and honoring when it’s one as notoriously brilliant as LogoLounge. This week we were honored to hear that three of our logo designs were accepted into the 10th edition of LogoLounge.

The three logo designs selected are for Defie Moi, Brick River Cider Co, and Fioro.

Logo design for Defie Moi restaurant popup branding in Baltimore, MD

Defie Moi was a pop-up restaurant that focused on Asian-French fusion. The vision of Chef Cyrus Keefer, Defie Moi has graced the Baltimore scene numerous times to much critical acclaim. Our logo design for this food experience is a representation of a classed Chinese dragon mixed with a street-style custom type design.

Logo design for Brick River CIder Company craft cider branding in St. Louis, Missouri

Brick River Cider Co is a craft cider brand based in St. Louis. They have yet to launch, but the buzz is building around this new craft cider experience. The brand identity is a visual representation of the name and it’s Americana roots. Stay tuned for more work on this project as well as announcements of their opening and availability.

Logo design for Fioro fast casual restaurant branding in New York, NY

Fioro is an Italian fast casual brand that launched last year in New York. Read the full restaurant branding case study here. We handled everything from strategy through brand naming and identity design.

 

Learn more about our branding and concept development services for restaurants and our branding and design services for beverages »

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Restaurant Design & Development Magazine Article: 5 ways to bridge the branding & interior design divide
01/06/17 Branding & Marketing Strategy , In the press # , , , , , , , , ,

Restaurant Design & Development Magazine Article: 5 ways to bridge the branding & interior design divide

Originally published in Restaurant Design & Development magazine

We’re all familiar with restaurant interiors. We’re all also familiar with restaurant brands. But over the years, I’ve noticed something: More often than not, the brand identity does not align with the experience created by the interior design. Individually, both may be brilliant — each with their own moments of glory — but together, they fall short, and the gap created by various designers is visually obvious. I’m calling for a collective effort to end this disservice for the sake of our clients — and for our crafts.

When someone visits a restaurant for the first time, it’s a moment of truth. Will perceptions be solidified? From the service to the food to the ambience, there are numerous opportunities to dent — even ruin — the brand as a whole. Despite the particular event’s weight, one mustn’t forget that the impression a guest leaves with doesn’t happen haphazardly.

Trying out a new restaurant (and subsequent visits) often happens only after countless touches with the brand. The prospective guest must hear about the restaurant first. Friends might have praised their experience. The prospective guest might read a review in a magazine or online. Maybe he or she saw an advertisement. Before entering the restaurant, many people visit the website to learn more about it. They may have even followed the restaurant on social media before visiting. Only
after these impressions does a consumer move from unaware and uninterested to an engaged customer.

Advertising, word of mouth, digital outlets, reviews and more all culminate to build expectations, guide perceptions and usher a person through the front doors for the first time. Once at the threshold of the restaurant itself, the space via architecture and interior continues the storytelling. Do the architecture and interior design continue the experience seamlessly or do they convey a different story about the brand?

Often, the brand experience before a first visit is vastly different than the on-site experience. The reason for this is quite clear: There was a blatant lack of collaboration and communication between the interior designers and the branding team. Generally, no single entity is at fault for the divide. In some cases, the architecture is well underway before a branding professional is brought on board, or vice versa. No matter the scenario, it’s rare that these two crucial partners communicate and collaborate the way they should.

Most restaurant startup projects see a mix of creatives working in tandem. Each partner focuses on his or her own discipline and on the process of ushering the client through discovery, design and implementation. In this typical scenario, a restaurant opens with a beautiful space and a beautiful brand. However, these two crucial parts of the overall brand experience compete more than they complement. They are often visually disjointed. It’s not always a glaring difference, and sometimes it’s not even consciously noticeable. However, there exists a visual and emotional rift where a holistic and symbiotic relationship should exist.

There are five key steps to ensure the branding team and the interiors team work to create a seamless experience for guests.

Read the suggestions and ideas on RDDMag.com 

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QSR, NRN & Campaign all publish new articles penned by Joseph
01/02/17 Branding & Marketing Strategy , In the press # , , , , , , , , , , ,

QSR, NRN & Campaign all publish new articles penned by Joseph

2017 has started off with a bang. Our work has been recognized by industry leading publications, GD USA and Print, and over the last couple weeks restaurant and advertising industry publications have shared our thinking. We’re constantly pushing the envelope here at Vigor, and part of doing that is having a finger on the pulse of people’s behaviors and how it affects the restaurant and beverage industries. Both industries are constantly fighting in a sea of sameness; vying for just a modicum of attention from key markets. Whether startup, or growing brands, understanding how your brand fits into their world is paramount for success. The three articles recently published cover some key issues facing restaurant and beverage brands, today. Have a read, and please share if you enjoy.

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Why Are Beer Brands Still Ignoring Women?

Campaign Magazine

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4 Ways Restaurants Can Win Over Generation Z

Nation’s Restaurant News & Restaurant Hospitality

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The New Rules for Naming Your Restaurant

QSR Magazine

 

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Selected for Print Magazine’s Regional Design Annual
29/01/17 Agency News , In the press # , , , ,

Selected for Print Magazine’s Regional Design Annual

2017 has already started off quite brilliantly with accolades and recognition from some of the design industry’s most respected publications and media outlets. Today, we celebrate our first appearance in Print Magazine’s Regional Design Annual – a selection of the nation’s best in class design work for 2016. The brand we crafted for Urban Tree Cidery, Atlanta’s very first cidery, was deemed one of the best in a mix of thousands of entries.

Urban Tree Cidery approached us in 2015 with the vision of bringing authentic cider to the South. Their passion for perpetuating a 100 year old legacy in the form of a family farm in North Georgia, combined with their desire to create a new legacy with their cider. This passion fueled our thinking for visually communicating the brand through packaging, brand identity, interiors, and various other touch points. Checkout the full case study on Urban Tree Cider’s branding and design here

Our recognition is shared by many other amazing designers and agencies who did some stellar work. We’re quite honored. Print also saw fit to include a pull quote from our supplied explanation of the thinking and direction. A little extra ego stroke for our team.

Have a look at the full group of selected work online, and definitely subscribe to Print. You won’t regret it.

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GD USA recognizes our work for Smoke & Duck Sauce
27/01/17 Agency News , In the press # , , , , , ,

GD USA recognizes our work for Smoke & Duck Sauce

When we set out to help our friends over at Smoke & Duck Sauce get into the world, we had one focus: Get people to pay attention to things they thought they knew. For us the opportunity came in Americanizing common Asian food items like the zodiac placemat and takeout menus. Our big thinking led to a redesign of the zodiac mats bringing it up to today’s world. The takeout menus serve as the perfect shape for folding 1 of 1000 origami cranes.

GD USA recently recognized this work via their website. “We’re honored to have the work recognized by such a renowned publication. As readers of GD, we have found the content shared to be of the highest quality and greatest value for the design community. Now, we have a little piece of our hearts and minds contributing to that level of design,” chirped Joseph Szala, Principal and Brand Strategist of Vigor.

From all of us at Vigor, to the GD USA team, thanks a million, friends!

View the full case study for Smoke & Duck Sauce here.

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Featured Article in QSR Magazine: The New Rules for Restaurant Naming
07/01/17 In the press # , , , , , , , , ,

Featured Article in QSR Magazine: The New Rules for Restaurant Naming

Our principal and creative director, Joseph Szala, authored an article focused on successfully naming a restaurant. It starts with the passion driving the restaurant forward. Passion deeper than “good food, good service” table stakes. QSR Magazine picked up the article as an Outside Insights feature. Read it here.

Although published in QSR Magazine, the foundations for name remain relevant for other restaurant formats including Full Service (FSR), Fast Casuals, Casual Dining, and others. Furthermore, the beverage industry from craft beer to spirits and wine can glean the basics of good brand strategy and naming from the article.

Here are some quick quotes to spark your interest:

 

…you’re probably sitting in a room with a committee throwing the proverbial spaghetti on the wall and hoping that something sticks. Design by committee usually ends in a frustratingly boring result. When you have to appease multiple personalities with varying opinions the common result is vanilla.

The strongest brand names are bolstered by detailed, visceral meaning beyond product and service. In today’s world, “good product, good service,” are tablestakes and bottom line expectations. They’re not differentiators by any stretch.

 

Read the full article by Joseph on QSR Magazine’s website »

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Bagels, Bands, and Bravery – Joseph chats on Obsessed with Design podcast
24/06/16 In the press

Bagels, Bands, and Bravery – Joseph chats on Obsessed with Design podcast

Have you ever wondered how I got started in restaurant design and branding? Ever wonder how to find a niche and become an expert in an industry? Ever wonder what The Net is? 

I recently had the honor of speaking with Josh Miles, the host and visionary behind Obsessed With Design. The episode aired today and we cover some great topics for those designers looking to get into the world of restaurant branding and marketing, the design world, and one man’s journey discovering it all.

Listen & Download this Episode, and subscribe to Obsessed with Design »

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Here are the show notes:

As the founder of Vigor Restaurant & Beverage Branding and the blog, Grits and Grids, Joseph has found a home in branding for the food and beverage industry. His passion for great design and great food is evident in his blog, as well as our interview. You can follow them on Twitter here.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How his agency found the food industry and turned it into a specialty.
  • The importance of finding your niche.
  • The creation of his blog, Grits and Grids.
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Joseph chimes in on the Angry Millennial Podcast
06/06/16 In the press # , ,

Joseph chimes in on the Angry Millennial Podcast

I often get asked about how I got started with Vigor and Grits + Grids. I don’t often get asked it on podcasts until recently. Today I embark into the deep underbelly of the Podcast world with some time spent on The Angry Millennial podcast. You may remember the name since I interviewed Jose Rosado, the visionary behind TAM, not too long ago here on GXG.

Jose and I sat down to chat through the origins of Vigor and GXG, trade some fun anecdotes, and fawn over the beauty of a mutual friend’s beard and eyelashes. It’s about an hour long, but mostly entertaining throughout. Have a listen and enjoy your morning.

Listen to the Podcast »

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Featured on Communication Arts
06/05/16 Agency News , In the press # , , ,

Featured on Communication Arts

There’s something about your work getting featured on a respected media’s website. Communication Arts magazine has found our work for Urban Tree Cidery good enough to showcase to the world on their website. They just featured it today, and now our coffee tastes better and there’s a bit more spring in our step. Have a look at the feature »

Soak up the rest of the Urban Tree Cidery branding work here »

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Joseph chimes in on Friday’s “Endless Appetizers” for Huffington Post
09/07/14 In the press # , , , , , ,

Joseph chimes in on Friday’s “Endless Appetizers” for Huffington Post

TGI Fridays launched their controversial Endless Appetizers promotion in what looked to be a desperate effort to boost sales. Alexander Kaufman reached out to me to get my opinion on what this means for the brand and how it can negatively affect it. My comments were right beside notable brand strategists like Aaron Allen and TGI Friday’s CMO, Brian Gies. The full article is reposted below, and you can read it on the Huffington Post website. The conversation continued on Linked In after I was asked to embellish by LinkedIn staff.

TGI Fridays is so hungry for new customers that it’s giving food away.

The chain restaurant launched an all-you-can-eat deal on Monday, offering endless helpings of any one appetizer — potato skins, mozzarella sticks, spinach dip and other options — for $10 per person. The promotion is meant to draw new customers, and it’s getting heaps of press coverage of the sort not seen since the chain’s 1990s heyday.

Yet analysts say the endless apps deal is basically Fridays’ swan song, a last-ditch move that ultimately cheapens the company’s brand. The apps may be endless, but Americans’ desire to visit a so-called “casual dining” chain restaurant is just about over.

“In the short term, [Fridays] will definitely have more traffic, but in the long term it damages their plan and will really destroy them,” said Aaron Allen, founder of Aaron Allen & Associates, a restaurant industry consulting firm. “It’s the signal of a desperate brand.”

David Letterman devoted the Top 10 segment on his show Monday to the promotion.

Sales nosedived at casual chain restaurants during the recession, sending once-popular eateries like Bennigan’s and Friendly’s into bankruptcy. Even as the economy has recovered, most of these restaurants have struggled to regain customers. Millennials want fresh, cheap fastish food from chains like Panera and Chipotle. The Mexican chain’s revenue more than doubled to $3.2 billion from 2009 to 2013. The days of young “singles” flocking to TGI Fridays happy hours are long over.

Even Brian Gies, Fridays’ chief marketing officer in the U.S., said the company was stuck in a “combo-meal malaise” and admitted it needed to adapt to modern tastes.

“There are no silver bullets in this business,” Gies said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “The economy and consumer behavior are constantly changing, you’ve got to change with it.”

Sales are anemic at the 49-year-old company, which has more than 900 restaurants in 60 countries. The chain was sold in May by its longtime owner, hospitality firm Carlson Restaurant Inc., to two private equity firms for upward of $800 million.

Annual revenue at company-owned stores dropped 2 percent to $1.1 billion in 2013, according to numbers shown to HuffPost by PrivCo, a financial data provider on privately held companies. Including franchisees, sales revenue hovered at $2.7 billion last year, the same as the year before.

Gies declined to comment on those figures.

The “endless appetizers” promotion, which runs until Aug. 24, may eat into sales. But for the restaurant that claims to have popularized the term “happy hour” and the Long Island Iced Tea, the real money-maker may be alcohol.

“They’re probably hoping they can make it up on drinks,” said Joel Cohen, a restaurant marketing expert.

But a quick boom in booze sales may just further erode the struggling brand.

“If they’re just up-selling the alcohol, the promotion just looks like a ploy,” said Joseph Szala, a restaurant branding expert at the marketing firm Iris Worldwide.”They’re saying, ‘We’ll do anything to get you into a Fridays for a meal’ — it’s too kitschy, too car sales-y. It’s low class.”

To survive, Fridays may have to raise prices, Allen said.

“That’s the only way you can compete,” he said. “A casual dining restaurant can never be as casual and as fast and convenient as a fast-casual one.”

Or it can jazz up its menu. Sure, Gies said the mozzarella sticks now include asiago cheese and a dusting of parmesan. And, yeah, the potato skins have more cheese and are “more potato-y,” he said. But, according to Jeff Fromm, an advertising consultant at Barkley who co-authored the book Marketing to Millennials, the key to attracting the coveted 20-something consumers Fridays is losing to fast-casual chains is offering some culinary pizzazz.

“They’re going to need to look at creating experiences — creating flavor adventures,” Fromm said. “Less uniqueness means bigger problems for Fridays.”

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