I have never had a more confusing dining experience. The items on the menu suggested very advanced Cajun cuisine indeed, though at a mid-level price. The atmosphere, though, was a strange batch of mixed messages. The menus appeared to have been done in Print Shop for DOS the night before. The tables had fresh flowers, but paper tablecloths. The restaurant was arranged for an intimate dining experience but had fluorescent lights. It was difficult to tell if it was supposed to be a fine dining experience or a diner.
The strange part was that afterwards we couldn’t really remember how the food had been. It’s often said (and has been told to me by restauranteurs) that in the restaurant business, atmosphere will make the food taste good but food won’t save the atmosphere. That experience was certainly consistent with that notion.
That long-ago restaurant had branding confusion, to say the least. “Branding” usually brings to mind logos, web sites, retail spaces and color schemes, but “Branding” is everything a customer can see. Any part of a business, any element of the product and service that a customer can see, is an aspect of branding, and a disconnect between any of them can confuse the customer and distort the message.
That restaurant isn’t there anymore.