One of the initial marketing challenges with Wild Rice was messaging, specifically distinguishing it from its well-established, popular sibling Red Lentil. Both are located in Watertown, Massachusetts, right outside Boston.
While owned and operated by the same person and both serving vegan fare, each offers a very different dining experience. Red Lentil is a more traditional restaurant: sit-down service for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. The chef / owner’s vision for Wild Rice was—much like Panera Bread—a more order-and-go experience. The cafe offers locally sourced vegan breakfast and lunch cuisine. While there is a dining area, patrons order at the counter and there is no waitstaff on hand.
It was essential to manage expectations through messaging and marketing so that visitors—many of whom would be fans of Red Lentil—wouldn’t feel that they were having a lesser dining experience at the self-service cafe.