We helped Shula’s Steak House, a nationally recognized fine-dining restaurant, redefine its core branding to preserve a legacy and align with a fresh, updated dining experience. For over 30 years, the star power of their namesake, legendary football coach Don Shula, helped attract an audience. However, as their core customer base matured and changed, they remained the same. The introduction of a new leadership team brought renewed focus on simplifying service offerings and elevating the restaurant experience to align with modern fine-dining expectations.
How can a legacy brand like Shula’s, continue to meet the expectations of a maturing core audience while remaining relevant, and appealing to new customers.
Uncover a story that connects the new restaurant experience with the legacy of the brand — then apply it to everything.
We developed a brand story that moved away from celebrating Don Shula’s achievements in favor of honoring the coaching philosophy that brought him success. That philosophy centered on careful execution, high-standards, and practicing to perfection.
Industry research, competitive analysis, and understanding of the team’s vision for their new brand yielded a sophisticated new identity.
The outline of the brand story we presented was about the pursuit of excellence and the result of that pursuit. For the steak house, it's an elevated experience that puts the focus on the guest, emphasizing the importance of the smallest details, from the food and drinks to the service and decor.
Our design took a literal approach to visually represent that concept, shifting focus away from the “Shula” name and placing it on the lowercase “s” — which becomes the primary symbol for the brand, putting emphasis on the letter that connects the namesake to the steak house.
We crafted a brand story and design system that allows the Shula’s team, and future franchisees, to consistently apply the new Shula’s Steak House brand across all customer and employee touchpoints. The rebrand of the steak house also provided a segue to refreshing the Restaurant Group branding as well.
Our guidelines and design system continues to guide the marketing team and their partners to make informed decisions, as they built out social media strategies, assets, and developed their new online web presence. Our rebrand was also noted on Brand New, a brand design blog, and featured on a design blog specifically about restaurant design and branding, Grits & Grids.