A Brand Promise as Simple as a Bowl of Noodles

I’m on vacation in Hawaii and I’m not supposed to be doing work, like blogging. But, I started thinking about this restaurant that we ate at for the second time during our week in Maui.

It’s called Star Noodle (www.starnoodle.com). You have to drive past public storage units and warehouses to find it tucked away in a most unlikely area for a popular restaurant. Yet, both times we were there, lines had formed in the parking lot waiting to get in.

We were lucky our first night and got seating at the bar within minutes, but the general wait was 30-40 minutes. It appeared nobody was put off by the wait because the parking lot was still full of folks.

So what’s the big deal about this restaurant? It delivers on its brand promise that is understood by all even though it is not stated on its menus (which are printed on small sheets of unpretentious white paper). The promise it this: Asian hip comfort food (read house made noodles) at a reasonable price in an attractive, yet informal setting (the décor, not the warehouse location).

Like any good brand, Star Noodle brands from the inside out. They make sure that their food tastes good consistently (no overcooked noodles or canned ingredients here). They make sure their young wait staff is friendly but not overly. Our waiter helped us get vegetarian versions of a number of their dishes.

And they know how to connect with you emotionally. You feel lucky to get seated. You feel like an insider that you know about this out-of-the-way place. You want to have one of their printed t-shirts (I wanted the gray one with the red star on the chest that they don’t sell to the public). You feel satisfied that you got this great meal (with fresh kimchee!) without breaking the bank,

But, what about the graphics? Well, they deliver in the visual branding department, too. The symbol is just a bowl with some free flowing noodles curling over the edges. It says to me: We’re a fun, not fancy, place that knows how to do noodles. As you’d expect, the logotype is a straightforward font with a simple five-point star.

It’s the total brand package. Well done, Star Noodle! You’ve made your brand promise as simple as a great bowl of noodles.

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