Brand goes beyond a good design

Differentiating a restaurant from the competition goes beyond just having a killer menu –it extends to every aspect of the customer’s experience. AllDay recommends hiring a designer that will thoughtfully develop your restaurant’s brand identity, including a logo, color scheme, and front of house ambiance. Your brand identity conveys the value, quality, and mission of your restaurant concept.

Your designer will help shape all the touch points that a diner interacts with, including cutlery, glassware, lighting, and even the font on the entrance to the restaurant. “An identity should tell the story of the restaurant and create a sense of wonder to diners,” says Drew Heffron, designer and owner of Practical People design studio. “It is important to play up the idea that we’re ultimately creating theatre—people enjoy being entertained.”

A good designer should see himself or herself as a brand strategist and not simply creative talent. When creating a new brand, Drew takes into consideration the local competition to avoid repeating a design and always hopes to create something original. “To create a brand that will resonate, I look for something unique about the restaurants story,” says Drew. He finds his inspiration not only in food, but in different media such as art, film and his travels. Drew recently completed a restaurant project, Mathews, located in Jersey City. For this project, Drew was inspired by the culinary scene in Charleston to design the ambiance of the space, create the menu design, and select the color scheme. Drew was responsible for making sure the final space fit with the vision of the owner but also added his own spin.

Once you decide to engage the services of a designer, it is important to make sure he or she is involved early in the buildout stages of the restaurant. Drew recommends bringing a designer into the mix once a restaurant owner has chosen a general concept and space. If a designer is brought onboard later in the process, the designer may have to force a restaurant’s branding to fit an already built restaurant, causing a disjointed feel.

Most design projects take about three months to complete so it is best to engage a designer with ample time before an opening. Drew also recommends that restaurant owners lean on their designer for the production side of printed materials, such as menus or signage as designers typically have more experience in working with printing vendors.

AllDay Industry has the experience and the network to help you develop your concept from any stage of development. From finding the perfect space, hiring the right executive chef, or choosing a great designer, our team will act as your primary consultant to connect you to some of the best creative talent in the hospitality industry. Contact us at 212.346.0606 or

To learn more about Drew Heffron and Practical People, check out