For the first since opening in 1995, The Flame Broiler is undergoing a rebrand. The fast casual hopes to align its logo, storefronts, interiors, and more with its “simply healthy” message. In addition to the new look, The Flame Broiler is changing how it serves guests, debuting an assembly-line style of food preparation.
Marketing manager Daniel Lee explains what’s behind the rebrand, what guests can expect, and what the future holds.
Talk about the inspiration behind the decision to rebrand. It seems as though the company felt there was a slight disconnect between the brand's quality product and its image. What led to that discovery?
The intention of our changes through the rebrand is to present Flame Broiler’s core value of simple, healthy food to consumers everywhere. We are positioned in a unique place in the market—high quality ingredients at an on-the-go price, making it simple for people to grab a healthy meal. Over the years, our branding and marketing collateral had become too complex and a bit dated. We made the switch in order to fit our positioning—branding that fit the clean & simple quality nature of our product.
What are some key elements of the rebrand? What changed with the interior design as well as the logo?
The rebrand includes a vibrant and simplified new logo and refurbished interiors featuring an open floor plan design aesthetic that will showcase an open-concept kitchen and assembly line so guests will be able to watch the restaurant staff members prepare their meal. Existing restaurants have been given the option to adopt the new floor plan as well. To allow for easier eating, Flame Broiler has also adopted new 100 percent recyclable bowls with a larger width and more comfortable feel for customers.
Flame Broiler’s rebrand also includes changes toward a more lively and user-friendly menu board to eliminate confusion and improve the ordering experience by offering step-by-step instructions to allow guests to build their perfect bowl. The new menu boards clearly display calorie content and ingredients by providing the amount of protein in every size bowl and plate.
What went into the decision to switch to an assembly line model? How do you think that will achieve some of the company's goals?
The idea behind an assembly-line style of serving our food was simple—show people what they’re eating. We’ve always been very transparent about what we serve, and upfront about the quality of ingredients in our bowls—from the meat to the veggies to the rice. We’ll still be serving that quality food, just now it will be in front of house for guests to easily see, instead of in the back. We’re proud of the quality we serve, and have no reason to hide anything.
What is the timeframe and commitment to this project, and what are some of the challenges involved?
The timeframe of this transition has already taken a few months to come into effect, and I believe will take a few more months to fully implement. All new stores will open with the re-branded format—so that keeps it simple. However, because all of our 190 existing units are not re-branded, it will take time to make the transition both inside and out. It’s a very exciting process to see unfold, but challenging for that very reason; 190 restaurants have to have their kitchen gutted, new floors put in, be painted, receive a new exterior sign, etc. There are a lot of moving parts and components and it will just be a practice in patience watching it all unfold.
Do you also see the changes as a precursor to expanded growth?
Absolutely! We’re hoping that by making our mission clearer, it will draw a new audience and poise us to develop a larger national presence. When the message becomes clearer, it becomes simpler for people to want to come, as they have an understanding of what we’re about. The more people we have exposure to and come to try out our food, the more room we have for growth and additional franchises to sprout up.