Monday, October 11, 2010

Building A Brand

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose; By any other name would smell as sweet." -- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Coming up with a name for our restaurant was much more difficult than we thought. We had lots of ideas but were afraid to commit to something. After all a restaurant's name says a lot about it... or does it? When looking at names of other prominent fast-casual restaurants, I struggled to find any that stood out as exceptionally deep or meaningful. Chipotle is a type of jalapeño pepper used in Mexican cuisine. Così comes from the Mozart opera Così Fan Tutte, which was a favorite of the founder. Who knows what Pei Wei, Quiznos, or Qdoba even mean? While the name seemed important, we quickly came to the conclusion that it wasn't going to make or break our concept.

Still we wanted to come up with something unique, exciting, and relevant to our cuisine. A preliminary decision we made was to exclude the word Kabob from the name. Even though kabobs are going to be the core product, we didn't want to limit the scope of the menu. We also didn't want the name to scream Middle Eastern. We shot down lots of ideas before getting to Saffron Grill. Kabob Kafe, Tahini, Kismat, Skewers, Kaboom -- sorry Azam :) We also did a competitive analysis to make sure we were differentiating ourselves from our key competitors - Roti Mediterranean Grill, Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill, Pita Pit, Maoz Vegetarian, etc. Ultimately we liked Saffron, a suggestion from our friend Wren, and added the Grill to highlight the healthiness of our product. Saffron is a rare spice often used in Persian cuisine and is generally associated with high-quality, premium foods. Yet it comes from all over the world much like kabobs so it seemed like a great fit.

There was just one problem. The name Saffron Grill is not as unique as we had hoped. A quick Google search unveils several restaurants by the same name and similar variations. Most of them are sit-down Indian restaurants offering fine dining. We knew we had to come up with something a bit edgier to build the right brand, not to mention a unique name for which we could secure national trademark registration. After several brainstorming sessions we came up with something we are really excited about. We worked with our graphic designer to knock down a logo that represents the concept. Some of you may remember the preliminary draft (pictured above) from the survey you took a few months back. Well today, we're proud to present a preview of the new name and logo to you all today... introducing Zaffron! What do you think?



  1. i think it's cool! and cool logo, i like the grill and flame in it! i'm just going to say this tho - there are going to be goobers out there who see this name and think zac effron (and i'm not one of them ;) ), but that's a minor point. i love the name, it's simple and it has the letter z in it.

  2. glad you like it sarah! haha yea we've heard the zac efron association a couple times now. i figure one day when he's featured on 'where are they now' we can afford him to be the spokesperson for zaffron :)

  3. Are the other Saffron Grills also based in Philadelphia? If not - it's fine to use the same name. I like Saffron Grill because it really targets a broad population. No sense in limiting your audience before you even begin!

  4. good point naveed.. there was a saffron restaurant in philly but no saffron grill. the issue was when we checked the national trademark database saffron grill was in the system so we wouldn't be able to claim it. either way we hope zaffron can still appeal to a broad audience since it has no apparent meaning or ethnic association.

  5. "i figure one day when he's featured on 'where are they now' we can afford him to be the spokesperson for zaffron :)"

    Nice thinking! LOL

    I agree about the name having broad appeal, I don't think it's any less broad than saffron grill.

  6. Personally, I think you're better off with elements of the old logo. This logo is too jagged, and manly. The more I look at it, it also reminds me of a vacuum cleaner, because of the "ron", like "tron"..

    What about "Saf Grill"? It's softer, and more conducive to being shortened in "Wanna go to Saf's?".
    + It also has a double meaning, since it preserves the original saffron you wanted to include, and
    + is similar to the Arabic word "saif", which means sword -, which is appropriate since you've got kabobs. But it's different enough that you can spell it and it appeals generally, while cool enough that you can explain the hidden meaning.

    Or just call it Saf's (though that may be trademarked). Just my $0.02.