Tender Greens is a fast-casual restaurant that serves delicious, locally sourced, "farm-to-fork" cuisine prepared by professional chefs. Pentagram designed a new identity for the restaurant that helps position the brand's unique chef-driven model as it begins to expand across the country.
Founded in 2006 by a group of chefs with the mission to make fresh, high-integrity cuisine accessible to everyone, Tender Greens works in partnership with local purveyors and farms to offer the freshest meals possible, along with a line of packaged products from its chefs, and catering. The company currently has 24 locations in California and is preparing for an expansion to the East Coast, with its first New York restaurant set to open in early 2018. The restaurant has received backing from Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group and represents the only investment the group has made. ("I wished I had come up with this concept myself," Meyers has said.)
The Tender Greens brand identity answers several challenges. The Tender Greens name has great equity with the restaurant's existing following, but does not accurately convey the menu, which goes well beyond salads and includes steak, chicken and fish. As Tender Greens grows, it wanted to showcase this wide variety of offerings to new customers. The identity also needed to establish a cohesive structure that would allow for differentiation across the various locations, which each feature their own menu, daily specials and products.
The designers developed an iconic and instantly memorable logo––a distinctive lowercase "g" built of shapes that evoke a pan and plate. The round spaces of the "g" can be filled with color, or feature images of meals and food. The "g" can appear on its own as a symbol, or accompanied by the full wordmark, which is set in a customized version of the typeface Sharp Sans (with the "g" redrawn with round counters). The treatment of the "g" helps shift the focus away from the name as a whole and puts the emphasis on the food, where it should be. At the same time, the modern typographic approach helps set the brand apart in its category.
The contemporary color palette is used to distinguish different locations or menu types. The graphic program is accompanied by a new program of interior design for the restaurant, with signage that features digital displays, where the "g" showcases Instagram-ready photos of the delicious daily specials.