EXPANSION TO NEW MARKETS + STAND-OUT DESIGN
Amato’s got its start over one hundred years ago as a dockside stand in Maine serving up belly-warming food to Portland fisherman. When Louis Torrieri, head of marketing at Amato’s, got in touch with us, the business had plans to expand to Vermont, New Hampshire and New York, launch an e-store, and reach the youth demographic, primarily through a blog and social media. Torrieri recognized the first step in this growth plan had to be updating the brand and website.
Torrieri gave us full reign with the brand, including the web copy. And that’s exactly where we started! To nail the voice and design, our creative and content leads Christine and Hilary put their heads together to create a cohesive design style and persona. Playing on Amato’s blue collar roots, its community focus, and the authentic Italian cuisine it’s been religiously serving for decades, we determined that friendlier, more playful writing would flavour the bland brand, and make it casual and fun for the younger demographic—without alienating the loyal following of the after-work crowd, Gen Y and Xers, baby boomers and retirees, of course.
While Christine cooked up cheeky culinary puns and punchy text, Hilary worked on her vision to use design to tell Amato’s story. She started by infusing a vintage feel as a nod to Amato’s long history. And she carefully crafted the information architecture of the site to place emphasis on the blog, which Amato’s can use for text, photos and video. Hilary also tackled the challenge of how to celebrate Amato’s mouth-watering dishes when every Amato’s restaurant has its own menu through the site architecture. Her solution: she introduced an “Eats” page that showcases the types of foods Amato’s serves, and she used their modernist food pics to convey their specialities at a glance.
In 30 days we had Amato’s new site ready, complete with their first-ever online store. The company was thrilled to usher out their old website and make the most of their simply delicious new brand. “We’re an old company, but we’re relevant again!” says Torrieri. “We’ve struck the perfect balance between appealing to younger people and staying true to our loyal established following.”
“The new branding has also translated very well into our bricks-and-mortar business: we have started shifting signage, menus and paint to match the website. We’re also expanding online by using social media to connect with the next generation of customers. Before now, we didn’t use social media because we didn’t want to drive people to our dated site. Now it’s a different story. Our goal is to get into blogging and use Instagram and other social media as soon as possible.
You guys nailed it!”
— Louis Torrieri.