Nicknamed Jonny Meatsauce as a child and committed to using the recipe his father’s been using to make sausage for the past 40 years, Jonny Anderson decided not long ago that he wanted to share his Italian heritage with consumers across the nation. To do so, however, he knew he needed a team that could articulate his passion in a repeatable, memorable restaurant brand. Enter BSR Brand + Environment, the imaging and architecture firm that crafted Anderson’s vision into the Readi Spaghetti franchise concept.
“The Anderson family has been in the restaurant business for 30 years, and they care a lot about family and a lot about food, so for Jonny, the Readi Spaghetti concept was a natural fit from day one,” says BSR CEO and creative director Ken Barnes.
Anderson wanted to position Readi Spaghetti in the fast-casual restaurant market, and Barnes and his staff were perfectly suited to help with this, as they had with dozens of other brands before.
Anderson learned about BSR through another customer, as most of the firm’s clients do. “We’re a small boutique firm that doesn’t do a lot of marketing,” Barnes says. “Restaurateurs talk to each other, and when they see something they like, they ask, ‘Who did this for you?’”
Once the parties met, they spent a lot of time seeking a location for a prototype store, ultimately settling on Bothell, Washington, a suburb of Seattle. “A Red Robin is next door, and a Panera is located a couple of doors down,” Barnes says. “The idea being that people who are looking for a fast-casual dining experience will see Readi Spaghetti as a fresh and viable option.”
The brand development and design were typical of most BSR projects. “We don’t design endless pieces of concepts hoping to strike a nerve,” Barnes says. “We do our homework with the client and the market segment and craft a detailed design program blending BSR’s design expertise with the customer’s input. They can picture what the restaurant will look like before they see it.”
Like most of BSR’s work, the Readi Spaghetti concept was approved at the initial presentation. “The concept didn’t change from the first time the clients saw it because there was so much in it they recognized,” Barnes says. “Their response was, ‘Wow, you’ve taken all of our family stories, our history, and turned them into an environment you can walk into and experience.’”
BSR’s goal was to showcase “traditional Italian through a modern lens.” The overall feel is colorful and light, and the story of the brand is built directly into the decor—with iconic design elements carefully chosen by BSR. A large macaroni-inspired chandelier, fabricated from amber resin reminiscent of the popular pasta, is the first thing customers see when they enter the restaurant. An antique Vespa scooter, a key element in the brand’s new logo, hangs above diners as they eat. And perhaps most unique is the wallpaper, covered with the family’s favorite sayings. “Many customers won’t understand what the sayings on the wall mean, so they’ll ask,” Barnes says. “And in doing so, they’ll become part of the family’s story.”
Most importantly, though, the design is repeatable. “As Readi Spaghetti opens other stores, which the restaurant plans to do this year, the store environment and brand components have been designed and engineered to be flexible, scalable, and to fit into almost any configuration,” Barnes says. “BSR has designed, built, and tested the first store as a prototype; stores from this point forward will not need to be a new invention. ABQ