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Photogenic food and resurrecting Chipotle's brand

November 8 2016

Sara Frey

In this week’s episode of Branding Bites, Kacha and Shawn got together to share their thoughts on the exciting world of food, beverage, and branding.

Check out the video for their answers to questions including:

  • How can restaurants, bars, and breweries make their products more photogenic on Instagram? (at 0:15)
  • How should Chipotle move past its food safety issues? (at 1:36)
  • Will guests approve of venison at Arby’s? (at 3:07)
  • Are Starbuck’s green “unity” cups a win? (at 3:30)
  • Are pay-by-the-minute cafes here to stay? (at 3:50)
  • Is tapping millennial employees like Cameron Mitchell Restaurants a good idea? (4:16)

Rather read than watch? We’ve got you covered.

// Transcript

Kacha: Good morning, everybody. This is Branding Bites. I’m Kacha, the strategy director here at Skidmore Studio and we’re glad you’re here.
Shawn: I’m Shawn, the design director. We’ve got a lot of tasty stuff for you guys today. Let’s dig in.

Kacha: Here we go. Shawn, question for you. Restaurants are starting to invest in making their food more photogenic and Instagram-worthy, I don’t know if you’ve heard. Washing the tops of buns with an egg wash to make the buns glisten, I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about your buns glistening before, but apparently this is a thing. Getting to the question, what would you recommend brands do to make their food more shareable?

Shawn: Anything you can do to make your food look better, if you’ve got to wash your buns, do so. You probably should do it every day anyways. Beyond that, don’t forget about packaging. Packaging is a key part in all of this. You want to give them something they want to take a picture of, that’s got your brand in it. That’s a guarantee.

Kacha: It’s tucked in the corner, right?

Shawn: There’s no guarantee they’re going to hashtag it, or tag you in a location, but if you get a little slice of packaging in there, or better yet you give them packaging that they want to take, it’s undeniable. It’s going to be in the photo.

Kacha: I totally agree. As a strategist, the product is one of the key parts of your brand. You’ve got to make it shine, you’ve got to make it sing. I’m going to take a nod to the French here, who are all about making it beautiful in the presentation. Make it beautiful.

Shawn: Make it beautiful. Take your time. If you’re a quick serve restaurant and you’re packing the bags, don’t jam them in there. You’ll want to be a little gentle in the way you handle it. You’ll want to make sure the food can come out as great as possible. Things like that.

Kacha: Frankly, give a damn about your food.

Shawn: Give a damn.

Kacha: Awesome.

Shawn: Always. Wash those buns.

Kacha: Next questions.

Shawn: Kacha, for you I’ve got a write-in question from @megancarriker on Twitter. How do you think Chipotle we’ll handle rebuilding after this norovirus scare?

Kacha: Chipotle, first off this is a media story, not a marketing story.

Shawn: Absolutely.

Kacha: Chipotle had problems with food safety at some restaurants. They talked about it, they came out with it. They were very transparent with it. They apologized. They fixed the problem. Get over it! We’re done. We don’t have to talk about it anymore. Chipotle is going to rebound, it’s going to succeed, and every brand’s going to succeed by, I believe, doubling down on the things that made their brands successful in the first place. Fresh ingredients, prepared for you right away, youthful, contemporary vibe and culture. Do that, continue to do that well, a year from now we’re going to be asking ourselves, “What did Chipotle do to get so successful again?”

Shawn: I think that’s absolutely the right direction. It feels like all of the apologies they’ve been giving have just been buying time. I think time heals all wounds, so stop apologizing. Every time you apologize, you remind people of what you’ve done wrong. Get over it.

Kacha: Stick to what you’re doing well and keep doing that.

Shawn: Absolutely. I think it’s time for Bittie Bites.

Kacha: Bittie Bites! Bring it on.

Shawn: There’s a series of four questions in here and we haven’t seen them. We’re going to give a quick thumbs up or thumbs down, depending on how we feel about it.

Kacha: I’m ready.

Shawn: Oh boy. I already love this first one.

Kacha: What do you got?

Shawn: Venison at Arby’s?

Kacha: No, I’m so not down with that. It just feels and sounds unappetizing. I don’t want to be thinking about the animal that I’m eating. No, thumbs down.

Shawn: Thumbs up! I think this is a unique spot. I’m super pumped to try it. I might go tomorrow. Next: Starbucks Green “Unity” Cups, have you seen these?

Kacha: Yeah. I like these. I think they’re cool and I think Starbucks did something that was interesting. Shame on everybody for giving them crap about it. If you don’t like it, go to another coffee place.

Shawn: I think my favorite part about this cup was just the online reaction, “I just want a snowflake!” It’s not even the Christmas cup. Hold on.

Kacha:Give it up.

Shawn: Unity.

Kacha: Unity.

Shawn: Pay-by-the-minute cafes. I think restaurants are now offering an all-you-can-eat pay by the minute services.

Kacha: I don’t know.

Shawn: What’s not to love about this?

Kacha: Where are you at? Where’s your thumb?

Shawn: I’m thumbs up, solid.

Kacha: From the consumer’s mindset, I’m not sure. Am I buying time? Am I buying food? It’s just a weird construct.

Shawn: You might only be a little bit hungry.

Kacha: I’m here for five minutes. Send it out!

Shawn: Just a quickie. Next: Cameron Mitchell Restaurants asks, “Millennial staff to pitch pop-up restaurant ideas.”

Kacha: Millennial staff to pitch pop-up restaurant ideas. Yeah, I think that’s great.

Shawn: Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s nice to get the millennial staff involved and let them come up with the ideas.

Kacha: Whenever you can build ownership in your brand with the people who are working for your brand, should absolutely do that.

Shawn: 100%. Without a doubt.

Kacha: That’s awesome.

Shawn: Great.

Kacha: All right, everybody. This has been fun.

Shawn: Thank you. If you have any questions, like @megancarriker, reach out to us on Twitter @SkidmoreStudio and ask away.

Kacha: Awesome.

Shawn: Thank you.

Kacha: See you next week!

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