Rock & Brews: Suds, Sandwiches & Consistency

Few things go together like great food and rock ’n roll, so it’s little surprise that the restaurant chain Rock & Brews has made the mark that it has in the restaurant industry. It’s a family-style restaurant with a rotating menu of 52 craft beers and a real rock ’n’ roll pedigree: it was foundered by KISS’ Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, legendary concert promoters Dave and Dell Furano, and restaurateur and hotelier Michael Zislis.

“When you go into a Rock & Brews, it is a tribute to classic rock. There are live concert videos playing on multiple screens throughout the restaurant,” explains Laura Missioreck, chief creative officer of The Graphic Element, a branding and design firm in Manhattan Beach, Calif. When Rock & Brews was ready to open its fourth restaurant, the owners wanted to make sure the branding reflected the chain’s unique proposition. Luckily, The Graphic Element knew how to play up the restaurant’s legendary appeal and has been their outsourced creative agency for more than two years now.

The Value of Consistency
The first thing The Graphic Element did was create a brand style guide. “There were several instances where the logo was inconsistent across the different restaurant locations,” says Missioreck. As the chain opened new locations, it became even more imperative to take a consistent approach.

“You don’t want to cause confusion in the marketplace by the logo appearing in a different font, color or different style,” she says. “Because it is now a franchise operation, it’s very important for the public to understand what the brand is about and for it to be consistent so people start to recognize what Rock & Brews stands for.”


To provide that consistency, the creative agency worked with Rock & Brews on standardizing the color palette, the fonts and logo usage. That meant determining such details as the minimum size for the logo and its relationship to the tagline. They reworked the original, “Proud to Serve,” to “Serving Those Who Rock,” which better reflected the restaurant’s positioning.

After completing the brand guide, The Graphic Element went to work re-designing the 12-page menu, which included art directing the food photography and developing the layout. The finished product elevated the look and feel from a “bar” menu to something better representative of the restaurant’s high-quality American comfort food, which includes burgers, BBQ, sandwiches, wings and pizza.


Creating a ‘Rocking’ Experience
Next they focused on the website. Not only did they want it to be interactive and informative but it was important that it matched the visual style of the restaurants as well. For example, brick is an element in almost every restaurant, so they incorporated brick into the website interface. They also chose to create a blog-style website “similar to what you might see on a rock band fan website,” Missioreck says. The home page features nine boxes or sections for content where corporate can feature promotions, as well as what’s happening in the world of rock ’n’ roll, Missioreck adds.

Other elements of the campaign included Rock & Brews’ major promotions, and food packaging elements such as the to-go pizza boxes and wax paper that sandwiches and burgers are wrapped in.


“We designed really large text-based graphics that highlight the different aspects of the particular item and also relate to the brand,” Missioreck says. “For example, we emphasized the word ‘pizza’ and adjectives that relate to it like ‘delicious’ and ‘hot,’ but it’s written in the kind of font that’s specific to Rock & Brews.”

One of the main goals of the campaign was to ensure that every graphical element conveyed an accurate representation of the iconic brand. “It was more about taking what was already existing and making things consistent along with coming up with standards for the future,” she says.

That future looks bright as the brand is enjoying tremendous success. Rock & Brews was named one of the top 10 fastest growing small chains in America by Restaurant Business in July of 2015. They just opened their 19th location and they have no intention of slowing down, Missioreck says. “We are super excited to be along for the ride!”


Author: Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a freelance writer and editor who has written extensively about business, careers and success for such publications as Working Mother, Real Simple, and AARP Bulletin.

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