Creating A New Vietnamese Food Concept From The Ground Up
Trang Nguyen owns two successful Urban Picnic restaurants in San Francisco, one in the Financial District and the 2nd the SOMA. Both locations serve healthy California Vietnamese fare to hungry office workers. With the success of the first 2 Urban Picnic locations, she decided to take the opportunity to open her 3rd Urban Picnic in the Castro District.
After about a year in a the Castro, the Urban Picnic concept wasn’t resonating with the neighborhood like Trang had expected. She came to Plinth to develop a new concept and brand.
- Develop new concept for the Urban Picnic space
- Build the brand
- Create a brand experience
- Broaden the appeal of Vietnamese food
- Create a Vietnamese concept that would retain authenticity and still appeal to a mainstream audience
- Communicate brand experience inside restaurant
- Demystify vietnamese food while keeping authenticity
- Educate customers about Vietnamese food in an engaging fashion.
TURNING PASSION INTO A NEW CONCEPT
We started at the beginning. Building a new concept starts with finding out what Trang’s passion was and then building a brand around it. She wanted to broaden the appeal of Vietnamese food by teaching people about the cuisine and demystifying it, NOT by compromising its authenticity.
THE SOUL OF THE MEKONG DELTA
For our new concept we took inspiration from Mekong delta. The Mekong delta is famous for it's floating markets where farmers and fishermen from all over exchange fresh produce and goods. We called the concept, the Mekong Kitchen.
The Mekong Kitchen is a place where Vietnamese Soul Food is awakened by the spirit of modern culinary creativity. It's a place where you can lose yourself in Vietnam’s fresh, vibrant, flavors, and discover some of hidden treasures along the way.
A LOGO THAT REPRESENTS A JOURNEY THROUGH VIETNAM
The stamp inspired logo served to convey the dynamic and fresh nature of Mekong Kitchen's menu. We designed the logo to be able to be used on future brand extensions like sauces and to go packaging. After the design elements were established, we hand illustrated the logo to signify the rustic, artisanal nature of the food.
CREATING AN BRAND EXPERIENCE INSIDE THE RESTAURANT
A compelling brand experience has to flow seamlessly from its online presence into the restaurant.
To ensure cohesion, we art directed the food photography, the interior design of the space, and created hand illustrated scenes of a romanticized Vietnam to adorn the walls.