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Stacked: Food Well Built Is It's Name

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This is a special Business Marketing Memo about a relatively new restaurant chain in Southern California by the name of Stacked: Food Well Built. But you might know it just by its slogan of Food Well Built or just by Stacked which is what some of its employees call it. While it's a great restaurant with a strong menu and service, its use of different names in its marketing is confusing. That is the subject of this special Business Marketing Memo. This Marketing Memo was revised after I heard from the CEO of the company.

STACKED: FOOD WELL BUILT IS A GREAT RESTAURANT WITH A CONFUSING BRAND

Update August 14, 2017  I can only say wonderful things about the group of Southern California restaurants called Stacked: Food Well Built. The other night I found one of their locations in Thousand Oaks at The Oaks Mall and absolutely enjoyed a casual dinner there with a friend who happens to also be in advertising and marketing. Stacked: Food Well Built gives you an opportunity to create your own burger, salad or in our case macaroni and cheese skillet. My friend had chicken pesto with macaroni and cheese and raved about it; I had macaroni and cheese with lobster and I added sauteed mushrooms to the creation and I loved it too -- and I loved the leftovers the next day for lunch at home. The service was fast and the servers were friendly and the prices were attractively moderate and I can't wait to go back. But that's not why I have this article as a Business Marketing Memo. Please continue reading. 

Menu at the restaurant Stacked with the name of
webassets/20170812_201533stackedmenu2.jpg
restaurant as you would expect on a menu.

We found Stacked: Food Well Built totally by accident. We were actually in The Oaks Mall to go to the Cheesecake Factory but there was a long wait and we saw Stacked: Food Well Built across from Cheesecake. What's Stacked we asked (we saw the name on the menus)? There was no wait, so we walked over and discovered it's also a restaurant. (Well, it was in the restaurant section of the mall, so we thought it was a restaurant.) There were plenty of available seats and the menu had nice pictures and so we decided to take a chance. Above is the menu for Stacked. Frankly, we had trouble reading the name. Sometimes companies can be too creative with their fonts and printing. But at this point we didn't even know that the name of the place was Stacked. Read on.

The slogan for Stacked is Food Well Built and the
webassets/20170812_201544foodwellbuilt.jpg
slogan is actually more prominent than the name.

As soon as we were seated our server came to us and asked if we had ever been there before? No, we said, so she immediately explained the concept. We can order from their menu either with the computer on the table or the actual printed menus and customize our dishes. We loved the idea and we loved the selections. We looked, we ordered and we enjoyed. But we still didn't know the name of the place. I looked on the wall where there was a big sign that said Food Well Built and at that point I figured the name of the place was Food Well Built -- and what a great name that was because you could build your burger or salad or dish just the way you wanted it. Our food was served and we loved it. But half way through our meals I really needed to know what was the name of the place? You see, we really didn't remember that "Stacked" on the menus and there was nothing on the walls or in the restaurant (that we could see) that reinforced the name Stacked.

The official name Stacked is displayed as a wall
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for the patio inside the mall. Can you read it?

I had my cell phone with me at the table (of course) so I did a Google search for "Food Well Built" and sure enough I found the restaurant under "Food Well Built." Then the server came to the table to check up on us and I asked "is this restaurant called 'Food Well Built'"? She laughed and said "no, it's Stacked. But everybody gets confused." Then she confided that when she first applied for a job there she didn't know what the name of the place was either. And it's Stacked, she said. We were told the name Stacked appeared outside as the wall of the exterior patio or eating area. Take a look at the photo -- carefully. Can you read it as Stacked? We had to look very closely to see it.

The only clear sign with the name and slogan was
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provided by the mall, but it's too high and too small.

Actually the only clear signage for Stacked: Food Well Built was provided by The Oaks Mall as a store locator sign which was small, high on the wall of the hallway in the mall. It clearly says the name and slogan on one sign. (I later found out from the CEO that the actual name is Stacked: Food Well Built and "Food Welll Built" is more than a slogan and actually part of the name.) Unfortunately it's not in a position that's easily viewed since this shopping mall has very high ceilings and walls.

Luckily for Stacked: Food Well Built it also markets under Food Well Built so if you do a web search for Food Well Built you will also find the restaurants. But for a new company in the very competitive and difficult to survive restaurant business, needing to promote both the name Stacked and the slogan Food Well Built can be costly and expensive. Frankly, just the name Food Well Built would be great though it does sound a bit pedestrian. Stacked sounded sexist to my marketing friend who is a woman. And both of us were confused by the font used on the menu and signage for Stacked.

The bottom line is that in this mass media world where there are so many names and so many signs and so many messages and so many media, simplicity wins out. Stacked in its styled font is not simple. Food Well Built is and clearly sends a message especially in its bold, easy to read font. And I promise you this, even if the name and font confuses you as it confused us and so many others, Stacked: Food Well Built has really great food.

A RESPONSE FROM THE CEO OF STACKED: FOOD WELL BUILT

I received an email from Paul, the CEO of the company, and it turns out they are very aware of their problems with their name and identity. Here are the important parts of his email to me:

I am glad that you and your friend enjoyed our restaurant.  I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about our brand, our name and our logo.  I absolutely understand your concerns and I appreciate the opportunity to explain.

The name of our restaurant actually is.....(drum roll, please)......

STACKED: Food Well Built

At first, we named the brand just STACKED.  But, as you indicated, that was somewhat confusing and possibly subject to misinterpretation ("Oh, you mean like Hooters").  So, we added on the "Food Well Built" to clarify what we are referring to by the word "STACKED."

As for the logo, we spent months and months trying to come up with an appropriate look for the word STACKED.  What we finally came up with is somewhat controversial, in that it is not as easy to read as maybe it should be.  But, none of the other logo fonts we considered had enough character for us.  

In our defense, our TO (Thousand Oaks) restaurant gave us the least opportunity to display the logo appropriately.  (The) front of our Huntington Beach restaurant which I believe does it much more justice. (Photo is below.)

Alan, again, I really appreciate your perspective and you are certainly not alone in your opinion.  I was most surprised by the response of your server when you asked about our name.  Clearly, we need to do a better job of communicating to our staff.  

Thanks again for reaching out and for writing about our restaurant. 

The email was signed by Paul Motenko, the Co-CEO. So, now I wax poetic and remember a famous line about names. What's in a name? This restaurant by any other name would still be fantastic. For more of my Business Marketing Memos please click here.

Thanks, Alan Mendelson

STACKED: FOOD WELL BUILT the full name.
webassets/IMG_9498stackedhuntington.jpg
Trying to make the best of it.

Here on our new media website "Moneyman" Alan Mendelson who is the original Best Deals TV Show reporter on KCAL9 and consumer advocate, shows you the best deals on TV, and the best buys, bargains and where savvy shoppers go to save, and how to get the most for "your money" with the best of Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County.  Our Best Buys TV Show has the best TV deals and is the only regularly scheduled weekly best deals TV show in Southern California.  We show you the best buys and best deals on TV and more deals and bargains on www.alanbestbuys.com and www.bestbuystvshow.com and watch for our Las Vegas TV show Vegas Best Buys.  Some of the content can come from paid advertising and from our advertiser paid TV infomercial programs.  The Best Buys TV Show is a paid infomercial program which may also include news and information which is not sponsored or paid for by advertisers.  AlanBestBuys.com has the highest ranking among competitive sites in Southern California according to the independent website ranking companies Alexa.com and Quantcast.com and our Best Buys TV Show is the most watched shopping and consumer information show in Southern California.

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