The restaurant industry is fierce.
Profit margins are thin. Staffing is a challenge. Customers are finicky. And their discretionary spending moves like a yo-yo.
Everybody’s looking for an edge.
Sometimes, that edge comes in branding.
In a new editorial series, Springfield Business Journal is following brand strategists Longitude LLC through the process of rebranding a restaurant, from concept to implementation to outcomes.
That’s where you, restaurateur, come in.
SBJ invites local restaurant owners to apply to be chosen for this series by our editorial team.
Longitude partners Dustin Myers and Jeremy Wells have agreed to offer their brand strategy services at no charge to the restaurant in exchange for documentary-style coverage of the process by SBJ.
We’re calling it Made to Order: The Journey of a Restaurant Rebrand.
This column kicks off our application process. SBJ has created a questionnaire for interested restaurateurs to complete for consideration. Our editorial team will review the applications and interview the finalists before selecting a restaurant to cover throughout the yearlong series.
Longitude has no say on what restaurant is chosen for the series. To their credit, Myers and Wells are taking on a new client blindly, yet many eyes will be watching.
The application deadline is Feb. 22, and the series is scheduled to launch in March.
Here are a few of the qualifications we’re seeking in restaurant applicants: in business for two years, with an average rating/review of 4 stars with at least 10 public reviews online; prepared to invest at least $7,500 in hard costs for rebranding strategies recommended by Longitude; full disclosure of financials throughout the whole process with brand strategists and for coverage in SBJ and on sbjLive; and access by SBJ/sbjLive reporters and photographers to meetings and information with Longitude and related vendors.
Coverage in print, on SBJ.net and in video by sbjLive is planned to track the process throughout 2019 or to the extent of the brand strategy implementation. SBJ reporter Mike Cullinan is leading the project in the newsroom, and sbjLive producer Mike Coonrod is spearheading the video coverage. They’ll be checking in regularly with sources to document nearly every move.
You might be asking, who is Longitude?
Most notably, Myers and Wells got the job to create designs for Finley Farms, Johnny Morris’ historic river mill project in Ozark. Their portfolio includes logo design for Brick & Mortar Coffee and Bon Bon’s Candy House, but clients include Bodrum Mediterranean Restaurant in New York City’s upper west side, the Slice Factory pizza franchise in Chicago and a downtown Milwaukee beer hall called Glass + Griddle.
You probably know a restaurant that could use a rebranding. Share this with them. Or you have a client that is seeking a change and would make a good fit. Encourage them to apply.
It could be just the shot in the arm a restaurant needs. I’m confident this opportunity will spread to the right restaurant operators.
I mean, there are some 660 restaurants licensed in the city of Springfield alone, according to SBJ reporting.
The industry is full of activity. In the last month, SBJ has reported on four restaurant openings or plans to open, five closings, four ownership changes or relocations and one name change.
In full disclosure, though, SBJ makes no promises on the results. We’re here to tell the story and provide the business community with first-hand knowledge and takeaways.
What this is not: a local adaptation of the “Kitchen Nightmares” show where chef Gordon Ramsay attempts to turn around a failing restaurant. It can be ugly.
We’re not seeking that disaster. We do expect twists and turns, challenges and victories, real insight into the life of restaurant management and a better appreciation for the dining business.
The table is ready.
Springfield Business Journal Editorial Director Eric Olson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bike enthusiast Cody Stringer is betting his bike share nonprofit will lead to a more bike-friendly city.
As employees are more mobile and have a desire to work from home, Haden Long owner of Ellecor, explains office spaces are trending towards a more home-like feel. Things like shared work spaces, office pets, and cozy furnishings allow employees to be selective about where they work and become more effective as a result.
Every industry has to navigate trend shifts, but Scott Shotts of Missouri Spirits describes the changes in beverage industry as anarchy. Tried-and-true spirits rules are being ignored. Learn how the local distillery balances following the trends for product development with taking risks.
Kevin Wyas, founder of ECRI, started his first business at the age of 19, ran the business for 16 years before selling it. He recognizes the benefits of starting a business so young when he had relatively little to lose. "The stress and the uncertainty of this would be crippling," he says for somebody accustomed to a regular paycheck.
ighty percent of questions are common across industries, so you don't need industry-specific experience to do effective market research according to Debra Kassarjian, independent consultant and owner of DKInsights. As a matter of fact, she thinks there is a great deal to be gained from exchanging ideas outside of your industry.
Danny Collins, 37 North founder and guide, says the biggest leap they took in the first year was to purchase a vehicle. That major financial investment, however, allowed them to provide their outdoor guide services at a price point they felt was more appropriate.
Springfield Diner owner Ömer Önder sits down with a restaurant consultant who starts challenging the menu offerings."No bashful food." The blunt conversation is the launching off point to determine how the Mediterranean influence will affect the young restaurant's offerings in the future. Made to Order is an ongoing sbjLive documentary series in collaboration with Springfield Business Journal tracking the rebranding of a local restaurant.
Haden Long, owner of Ellecor, opened a retail home decor business five years ago in a traditional retail space. When the interior design side of the business took off, she decided to renovate a 100-year old bungalow to better show off product samples and installations.
Scott Shotts, partner with Missouri Spirits, says when they started in 2011 there were approximately 300 distilleries in the U.S. and now there are more than 3,000 so competition has grown significantly. Diversification of their business model has helped them succeed.
Matthew Blystone of Theta Float Spa had the financial means to start the unique business, but used crowdsourcing for pre-orders to determine market interest in addition to gathering a nice cash reserve before opening.
Avery Parrish with the Springfield Regional Arts Council explains how businesses can display local art in their spaces for a fraction of the price of investing in a permanent collection. The corporate partnership program allows a business to select from a customized portfolio of local artists' work curated based on the company's mission and aesthetic that can be switched out every six or 12 months.