Menu Development Project: The Wayne Bar

In April of 2013 I was hired by the team behind the new Wayne Donut and Ice Cream Bar in Wayne, PA to develop a menu for their first retail venture.

The space that was selected was very tight, restricting not only the layout of the store but also the potential of what could be produced and sold. Limiting context and programatic boundaries such as this, I find, can be great catalysts to the design process. Being forced to think beyond what usually works for a typical program and devise a unique solution for the concept is not only personally satisfying but also can reveal new design insights and concept development opportunities.

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For the Wayne Bar menu development project I wanted to seek to deepen the brand identity by building the menu from a ‘brand concept’ foundation. I presented to the Wayne Bar team two concepts both of which I though would not only be producible within the context of the site, but also turn those limitations into details that would enhance the brand by developing its own unique character traits that would make it stand out from the crowd. Without going into too much eye-glazing detail the first concept centered on in-store product customization so that every customer would be able to personally connect to the brand through their own unique individualization of the food. The second concept presented is a twist on the ‘farm-to-table’ ethos by taking base ice cream and donut products and adding fruits, herbs, nuts, dairy and vegetable glazes, toppings, fillings, etc. to diversify the product offering as well as be able to talk about seasonality and locally-sourced ingredients. Another aspect of this identity concept would be for the brand to act as a ‘curator’ of all of the area’s seasonally available ingredients by messaging it’s careful selection of the best fruit, best organic milk, etc. to be used in it’s store as well as featuring the area farmers that it has built relationships with.

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The Wayne Bar donut and ice cream shop is finishing construction and soon to open. It was a very fun project to work on and will be very exciting to see how the final menu develops for opening.