Chef Bruce Ucan has long been respected locally for his Yucatan-inspired menus. The Mayan Cafe had grown strongly and steadily in their first four years, but their restaurant interior, website and marketing materials didn’t reflect the sophistication and reputation of the food.
For this project, VIA partnered with De Leon & Primmer (architects) and Kreich-Higdon Photography. We all shared a mutual love for the Mayan Cafe, and together we updated every aspect of their brand, as well as the interior design of the restaurant.
It started with De Leon & Primmer developing a color palette of browns and reds to compliment the cuisine. The rich colors speak of roasted peppers and sauces and are intended to compliment the food on the table. The interior of the restaurant was repainted in these colors with a light-catching design pattern on the walls. Weathered wooden chairs were added to lend a rustic feel to the space. After a trip to Ucan’s hometown, photographers Kriech-Higdon shot several large format photographs featuring local cooking. These images hang in the dining room, displaying the art of Mayan cuisine.
Kriech-Higdon also photographed the dishes and beverages prepared in the restaurant with the warmth and color indicative of the flavors. These high-quality assets created the foundation of the materials we used to promote catering, highlight signature dishes and elevate the day-to-day dining experience.
First we changed the logotype to a more modern sans-serif and then strengthening the glyph, to improve printing and readability at a distance. Next, we developed a menu that could scale easily, allowing for Mayan Cafe’s frequent menu changes based on seasonal food purchases. Our new aesthetic was applied to other promotional materials including the website – which was designed to make it easy for customers to learn about the food, find the restaurant and share their experiences with others.
Restaurant sites are notoriously poor performers, with very few catering to smart phones. Mobile web browsers represents the changing audience of users who need location, hours and menus, all at their fingertips in a moment’s notice.
Menus: Web menus in general are difficult to keep up-to-date. There was also a concern that vegetarian items and allergy information should be easily disclosed. The OpenMenu solution we provided allows the Manager to update menus in a single place, easily updating both web and print versions simultaneously.
Mobile: How often have you decided to dine somewhere and not been able to call for reservations because you couldn’t find the number? We wanted people to be able to view daily specials, menus and easily call for reservations, any time, any where, and on with any device.