As you could imagine from the proposal, no detail was arrived at lightly. Peters says they spent ample time on things like menu typography, paper, color palettes, iconography, photography, and the list goes on.
“Nothing was done randomly. Nothing was done simply because, ‘Oh this is pretty.’ Everything has a purpose to it,” he says. “Branding as we practice it is results driven. Everything is designed to bring people to the restaurants and beef up the bottom line.”
One early success has been the kid’s menus. Nocturnal Branding designed two options: a sugar skull and a luchador mask, for younger guests to color and take home. “It brings the brand out of the restaurant and into the consumer’s life,” he says.
Afraid to flood guests with the message, the company decided to unroll the changes gradually. Many of the features, including a revamped website, will be introduced over the course of the yearlong birthday celebration.
From May until September, Nocturnal Branding used vintage photos to rebuild the brand’s visual identity with a nod to the past. The new logo is a contemporary take on the well-known Macaw parrot that has represented the brand for decades. All of this unfurled after they spoke with everyone they thought had a voice Macayo’s needed to hear, everyone from the wait staff to the kitchen staff to people walking in the door. It didn’t matter if they had been with the company for two weeks or 30 years. “We wanted to find out if everyone internally saw it the same way. And if they didn’t, where were those gaps?” Peters says. “Where was it not firing on all cylinders? And then, conversely, we looked externally from the customer viewpoint. We did market research where we talked to thousands of customers. We surveyed thousands online and in person and we found out how Macayo’s was viewed in the market.”
On September 26, when the new logo and name were introduced, Macayo’s didn’t exactly run to the presses. It was downplayed to a degree. Again, this was done to let the refaced image trickle out; not avalanche into the mainstream.
One of the changes was to restructure the menu. There’s now a contemporary half and traditional half that showcases Macayo’s time-honored classics. Founder Woody Johnson claimed to have invented the chimichanga when he dropped some unsold burritos into a deep-fryer one shift. Peters also adds that Macayo’s will make any classic dish you request, even if it’s missing from the new display.
In 2017, Macayo’s will be moving its original Central Avenue location across the street and rebranding it with a retro theme that resembles what the restaurant felt and looked like in the 1950s.
When the rebranding was first completed, Peters says Sharisse Johnson sent the team a personal note thanking them. “It means a lot,” Peters says. “We’re proud to be a part of it.”