NEW YORK / PHILADELPHIA - Former restaurateur turned Restaurant Designer Raymond Haldeman who’s exploits in the hospitality industry have been well publicized in such notable publications as The NY Times, USA Today, Gourmet Magazine, Bon Apetit, and Town & Country, says the question of whether to Rebrand has dogged many a bar & restaurant owner. Although many are employing this increasingly popular trend very little has been written about it.
As with restaurant operations, restaurant rebranding is a comprehensive endeavor and owners must be honest with themselves when they assess their shortfalls and address the right strategy for meeting their businesses needs. A cosmetic make-over will not change or improve your image if the the food and service still lack consistency. However, a designer-rebrand when combined with improved kitchen function, the right menu, a price point that services your locations demographics and an upgrade to the server’s knowledge & attitude can provide an immediate “about-face” for any operation experiencing declining sales & waining popularity.
Yes, a Rebrand can, IN ONE DAY, provide you with a new start. In one day, sarcastic Yelp reviews will disappear forever, in one day, cold food, bad meals and long waits experienced by customers are forgotten. In one day, you have an opportunity to mold and craft public perception anew. This opportunity when approached comprehensively can put any restaurant back on the road to profitability and give weary operators a reason to be excited and optimistic about the future of their establishments once again.
If you plan on using a designer please be aware that most interior designers, without having experienced the actual management of “day to day restaurant operations” unwittingly sacrifice function for visually appealing design. This shortfall can be costly to you, the operator as it can detract from the efficiency of your operation and marginalize the efforts by your professional staff to provide the ultimate dining experience for your customers. It is critical that you align yourself with a professional who is intimately familiar with running a restaurant.
Rebranding does cost money as it is important that you remove any trace of your previous operation so restaurant patrons experience your reinvented eatery as new, valuable and exciting. By the same token, it is still the best option available and also a bargain when you consider you are able to create a new income stream under your current overhead. Remember you are not starting from zero, your lease is in place, the infrastructure exits, the kitchen is operating, the bathroom plumbing exists, the zoning is there, you are intimately familiar with the market. Now you can start developing a concept by carefully and thoughtfully applying all your wisdom into your rebrand and get it right the “second time” by addressing all that you now know needs fixing. Make a plan, schedule time for the construction and get started. The following is outline of a recent Rebrand by Bar & Restaurant Designer and Rebrand Consultant Raymond Haldeman.
FINS BAR & GRILLE, CAPE MAY, NJ / FORMER PILOT HOUSE
A winning combination for a Rebrand is the integration of efficient & functional design with WOW-FACTOR which will maximize your brands appeal. This powerful combination is evident in Restaurant Designer Raymond Haldeman’s latest rebrand & design fete, "FINS Bar & Grille” located in Cape May, NJ, a quaint and sophisticated Victorian hamlet on the southern most tip of the Jersey shore.
Operated as the former Pilot House for over 3 decades, the restaurant was purchased by a group headed by Jeff Gernitis who kept the restaurant operating for several months while formulating a rebrand plan. During this time Jeff and his partners set about familiarizing themselves with the nuances of the location on Washington Street Mall a pedestrian promenade of shops and restaurants, about a mile away from the oceanfront front site of the iconic Peter Shields Inn & Restaurant which they also own.
The old “fried seafood combo platter” menu format was tossed and replaced with a more contemporary “fresh fish” & “local ingredients” type menu developed by Chef Carl Messick.
Gernitis gave Restaurant Designer Raymond Haldeman free reign in the conceptual theme and functional details of the redesign and the seasoned designer took full advantage of his confidence.
Haldeman decided to exploit the city’s excellent reputation as a tourist destination by creating a beautiful and unique concept that would also propel the restaurant into the town's “Top Must-See Tourist Attractions” that would appeal to all ages. If an hour and half wait for a table at 7PM on a Wednesday evening is any indication, this goal was most certainly accomplished the day they opened.
The entire space was gutted to "open concept status" and then large design elements such as two 12’ aquarium-walls and a 10’ see-thru stainless steel and barn-wood fireplace were custom built and installed to break-up the vastness of the space, separate the bar from dining areas, and enable the operators to shrink & enlarge the space as needed depending on the day of the week and time of year.
Ultimately Haldeman went with a Casual & Contemporary Aquatic Theme using 700 linear feet of soft, dramatic and glowing LED lighting, detailed architectural craftsmanship and quality finishes.
*CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT HE DID!
(scroll down for High Resolution Images & Descriptions
-For more information visit: www.raymondhaldeman.com
-For Raymond Haldeman Bio: www.raymondhaldeman.com/bio
-For High Resolution Before & After Photos & Descriptions Scroll Down
-For Questions Call Raymond Haldeman Direct 305-968-8855
-FINS Menus: http://www.finscapemay.com/menus.html
FINS BAR & GRILLE
142 DECATUR STREET
CAPE MAY, NJ 08204
-Questions for Owner Jeff Gernitis, call direct 973-997-7727
All good rebrands begin with a "good plan" that should remain fluid during the conceptual process. Below is version #19 of the FINS FLOOR PLAN, which means it was revised 19 times!
Haldeman proceeded to strip the building’s exterior of it’s Victorian “stage-prop” appliqués to reveal its original facade, a fairly straight forward building with clean lines. Colors of Anchor Blue Framed in White Cap white and the addition of awnings were chosen and classic outdoor utility lights were turned upside-down to make awning-illuminating sconces. (see photos below)
The old Pilot House was closed and the interior furniture removed and then the space was gutted providing the Restaurant Designer Raymond Haldeman with unlimited options for the functional and decorative design of the space.
-A walk around bar provides 60 linear feet o service area and features a 2” thick custom designed, poured glass bar top, edge-lit in LED that operates remotely and can illuminate the bar in ANY color. (see photos below)
The bar was constructed in the front window replacing the old booths that had blocked 50% of the windows for over 30 years. This was done in order to create a late night bar scene and additional income stream with focus on the stunning bar visible to the steady flow of pedestrian traffic. A floating Stainless Steel Soffit suspended from the ceiling was designed for liquor and glass storage. Haldeman always recommends a walk around bar, space permitting as it increase the amount of linear bar feet, allows quests to visually see each other and provides a traffic pattern allowing patrons to take stroll and check out the “atmosphere.” A service island was positioned in the center of the bar to house the draft beer & draft wine taps & hoses, the POS and wine storage for the functional convenience of the bartenders. BEFORE & AFTER: (see photos below)
A 3D “Wave Wall” installed above the custom made pedestaled banquettes and cantelevered stainless steel tables replaced the old bar. BEFORE & AFTER (photos below)
A view of the restaurant from the back to the front shows the dramatic change from dark & dank to vibrant and exciting. BEFORE & AFTER
The walls were opened between the 2 buildings that comprised the old Pilot House and a See-Thru Fireplace was used to support the structure and now unites the 2 rooms. A 42’ long illuminated “Sky Mural” floats above the Upper Deck Dining Room and white beams created installed to house the pinspot lighting that projects a 30 degree beam of light on each table top. BEFORE & AFTER
(see photos below)
Ceiling Treatments include the Sky Mural in the Upper Deck Dining Room and the Underwater Arbor illuminated in Black Light to simulate being underwater and looking up to the surface, a nice surprise when restaurant patrons gaze upward. (see photos below)
The SEE-THRU FIREPLACE is flanked by a pair of 2-toned “Alice in Wonderland” type chairs that Haldeman designed for picture taking (and all night long people are having their pictures taken in those chairs!) The photo below of a recent restaurant guest illustrates the large scale.
A pair of Giant 4’ Infinity Port Holes designed to create an optical illusion that they continue infinitely separates two dining areas.
An outdoor deck was created after demolishing an awkward lobby type structure and awnings and fans were added.
Both the Lady’s & Men’s Rooms were redesigned with a combination of designer tile, vessel sinks with waterfall faucets, wallpaper and louvered doors. Designer Haldeman recommends focused attention on the creation of comfortable lavatories with beautiful finishes as guests are in close contact visually and physically with every part of the design and registers a positive impression and a "seal of approval" that further enhances your brand's image. (photo below)
-For more general information visit www.raymondhaldeman.com
-For Raymond Haldeman Bio visit: www.raymondhaldeman.com/bio
-For questions, call Raymond Haldeman direct 305-968-8855
-All photos on this page are high resolution 300dpi and suitable for publication.
FINS BAR & GRILLE
142 DECATUR STREET
CAPE MAY, NJ 08204
-Questions for FINS Owner Jeff Gernitis, call direct 973-997-7727