What started with a logo ended up being an entire brand build for what is now a chain of restaurants in Auckland.
And it wasn’t just one restaurant, we went on to design the logo, website, restaurant menus, interior design, car vinyl wraps, and restaurant signage for two more branches.
Namaste Express is a brand with a genuine and authentic story. Unlike the stereotypical Indian restaurants you may have experienced in your life, this one is all about exceptional food with a clean green Kiwi attitude. The founder, Rakesh, believes that good product combined with a clean wholesome environment will keep bringing people back through the doors. As the Vision Catalysts, this is where we came in to bring the vision to reality.
pre-conceived stereotypes, industry price battle, ability to stand out, marketing on a low budget, quality control, communicating the vision to employees.
Like most startups in the hospitality industry, providing a consistent, quality product and customer experience while keeping budgets tight is a tough balancing act. As the founder, clearly communicating your vision to brand new staff is often the hardest on-going task. Think about it, you’re trying to get a team of managers, waiters, kitchen hands, chefs, delivery teams and everyone else involved to be on the same page and understand the exact customer experience you want to offer and achieve.
As a new restaurant, word of mouth is key to initial brand awareness and business growth. It’s not as simple as making sure everyone does their job properly. The key to great customer experience is everyone working together towards one goal, one vision. This is where we found the perfect solution…
translating the vision into a clear brand, branded staff on-boarding, identifying unique value propositions (UVP), identifying brand values, bottling the brand’s DNA into a brand guideline, frequent brand workshops with the team, consistently improving on current customer experience to drive word of mouth (WOM)
We value a great mindset fit when working with founders and teams. Namaste Express is definitely one that fits our values and mindset perfectly. No cutting corners, do it right the first time and make a positive impact on the customer, the community and the brand team. Our Brand Foundation Build helped Rakesh identify and bottle the Namaste Express DNA and clearly communicate it to his team on a consistent basis.
The brand’s DNA was tied to the symbolic meaning of the brand’s logo, name and overall styling.
Paisley Art is part of traditional Indian art. It incorporates centuries of tradition and culture. A major part of the Indian culture are the festivals, rituals and the variety of food that is related to each event. This logo portrays an abstract form of spicy Indian food in a bowl with a flavourful aroma filling the air. It’s encapsulated inside the paisley symbol representing the colourful Indian culture with its various rituals and festivities.
We wanted to ensure that the customer experience was a comprehensive feeling of attention to detail immersion in the overall brand DNA. So attention to detail was a vital part of our ability to differentiate the brand and stand out. Much like most things in life, it’s the little things that make the difference together.
Utilising every resource at our disposal was key to maximising exposure and brand awareness locally! As branding and marketing experts, the first rule we live by is utilising and exhausting all current resources before investing in advertising. This rule helps to form a solid foundation across all brand channels and boosts Word Of Mouth(WOM) organically.
We encouraged Rakesh to invest in the quality of the Namaste Express brand. What that means is every little aspect needs to be done right in order to achieve the ultimate goal of raising eyebrows and feeling genuinely impressed.
One of the key customer-facing elements of a restaurant is the menu. Traditionally, these are seen as an unimportant obligatory expense for the business. But in fact, customers look, touch and feel the menu more than anything else in their restaurant customer journey. So it pays to ensure that it communicates the brand quality and sets an expectation of the kind of service and food quality to come. We teamed up a clean and elegant design with simple yet effective print specifications. The menus were printed on a thicker paper and topped off with a silky smooth matte laminate finish(aka matte celloglaze). This gave the menus a very high-quality look and feel, which subliminally sets the bar for the food, service and the overall customer experience.
In the first year, everything we did paid off. People of Auckland were raving about their overall experience of Namaste Express. Note; it wasn’t just the food or the customer service, it was the entire brand experience. We received great reviews about every aspect of the brand. A common pattern we began to see was that customers were taking our tasteful menus home on their own accord. Why? you ask because they really liked the quality and feel. This meant we were quickly running out of menus haha
So this leads us to design and produce a menu specifically for customers to take home. Keeping in mind our initial strategy of making every customer love the brand, we added a few incentives and benefits for the customers to enjoy in this take-home menu. And none of it involved discounts, but instead, added value. This became a huge hit and keeps the same customers coming back even to this day.
We also added a series of indoor murals for the restaurant that stood 2 meters tall in the centre of the large walls. These told the Namaste Express story and added another element for the customers to connect with the brand. It gave the customers something to engage with while waiting for their delicious sizzling food to arrive.
To further educate customers on how delicious the food looked we added high res photos on the indoor screen that was discreetly displayed by the reception. We often got customers ordering more food than they initially had planned just because the photos on the screen showcase looked delicious!
Here’s where Rakesh decided to open another branch of his restaurant brand.
We had to evolve the brand to suit the location of the new branch. The new location is one of the most high-end neighbourhoods in Auckland. The kind where you only find gourmet bakeries, speciality cafes, guest list restaurants and exotic cars everywhere you look. Kind of like a Beverly Hills of Auckland.
The good news was that the food itself was actually amazing consistently.
Building a brand around a genuinely brilliant product is every brand mans dream! – Amit Anil
This meant we need to keep the overall brand ethos the same but evolve it into a quality focused, luxury restaurant. We teamed up with the ALIGNWORKS architects to design and style the actual venue into an authentic contemporary venue.
To match the great food quality and taste, we decided to develop a visual taste for the venue. We chose a Banksy style for the imagery to go behind the bar;
These images worked well to communicate the authenticity of the food and the establishment. They also worked really well with the contemporary design the ALIGNWORKS architects developed;
Working with Rakesh on Namaste Express branding has definitely been one of the exciting projects for us so far. In our experience, branding is more than often a key part of your business.
In today’s world where there is so much choice and businesses starting every day, it’s vital to take a stand and have a compelling story and vision for your business. It’s a simple and effective way to stand out and attract the right customer. – Amit Anil
Do you have a brand that not only looks great but tells a story that will attract the right customers? If you’re interested to find out if you are experiencing a lack of growth caused by brand asset deficiency, get in touch with us for a free consultation!