Beautiful Photography of Yummy Summer Menu Spices up New Look
Dallas-based Corner Bakery is an American chain of cafes that specialize in pastries, breads, breakfast dishes, gourmet sandwiches, homemade soups, salads, and pasta and is part of a fast casual market segment. Their 192 locations provide a higher quality of food and atmosphere than a typical fast food restaurant and also offer table service.
AdChat DFW had the opportunity to interview Donna Spangler-Josephson, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer at Corner Bakery, about their recent re-branding, their tasty seasonal offerings and how the company started with one small bakery on a corner in downtown Chicago.
AdChat DFW: Corner Bakery was originally based in Chicago, when did it move to Dallas?
Donna: Corner Bakery was established in Chicago in 1991. Brinker bought the bakery cafe in the early 2000’s and moved its headquarters to Dallas. Now, Corner Bakery is owned and operated by CBC Restaurant Corp. with nearly 200 company owned and franchised locations around the country. Corner Bakery restaurants are located throughout 26 states in major cities like Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, D.C. and Seattle.
AdChat DFW: How was the name Corner Bakery conceived.
Donna: On a corner. That’s where it all started. Corner Bakery started as a small neighborhood bakery on a corner in downtown Chicago. Neighbors began to ask us for sandwiches made with our delicious, fresh bread, followed by requests for soup, salads and even made-to-order scramblers. Today, we continue to fulfill the desires of our neighbors with a menu of ingredient-inspired, prepared-to-order food. We still passionately follow the traditions that we established all those years ago.
AdChat DFW: Who is your current ad agency?
Donna: Our current ad agency is Houston-based Norton Creative. We have also worked with various food stylists in Dallas.
AdChat DFW: Are you changing the look and feel of your brand?
Donna: Yes, with the help of Norton Creative and our in-house creative team, we are currently in the middle of bringing Corner Bakery’s brand story to life. We are also experimenting with new photography styles and changing the look and feel of all of our merchandising. In the past, most of our photography has been done in-house, but now we are outsourcing this task. We do have outside professionals with specialized expertise come in and style our products then take beautiful photos of our food and atmosphere.
AdChat DFW: Tell us about your in-house team.
Donna: Corner Bakery’s marketing team is small but mighty. We typically have about eight or nine people working together on a day-to-day basis. Even though our team is extremely smart, it’s difficult to do all of the heavy lifting that our marketing department needs to do, which is why we’re partnering with Norton Creative. We work smart and efficiently to make our dollars stretch because we are not a big media advertiser.
AdChat DFW: What media do you buy?
Donna: You don’t see us on much television or radio because the Corner Bakery footprint is pretty spread out in high media dollar markets. We have to be smart about what we do and how we engage, so we are mainly in digital and print. Occasionally you will see us in an out-of-home execution. We’ve purchased outdoor billboards in Dallas, L.A. and transit, but predominantly you’re going to see us digitally: social, digital ads, etc.
AdChat DFW: The photography on your website is mouth-watering.
Donna: Oh good, thank you! That’s really exciting to hear. We just updated our website with our new seasonal line up and we are working on adding additional summer flavors right now. We have brought in new ingredients, like fresh mixed berries, which will be included in several of our summer menu items.
AdChat DFW: Do you test your items before putting them on the menu?
Donna: We test new menu items at our Prestonwood Cafe Innovation store. We have digital mini-boards that showcase our new weekly offerings. Even though the menu items are served at our Prestonwood location, it doesn’t guarantee that they will become permanent menu items system-wide. But, the customers that visit that location get to try the new items and the crew gets to learn how to make them. For example, we may test 10 new salads at the Prestonwood location. We don’t think that all 10 will make it to national promotion, but we want our operators to give us feedback about how easy or hard they were to execute and our guests to vote with their purchase.
AdChat DFW: Do you do regular seasonal flavor offerings? Tell us a little about your current seasonal menu.
Donna: Yes, we do. We are committed to menu innovation and the arrival of a new season brings fresh ingredients that we like to utilize in our seasonal offerings. We just launched our newest seasonal menu, which includes sweet options like our Berries & Cream Pancakes, Berry Pecan Salad and White Chocolate Strawberry Cold Brew. Or, for something savory, we launched Turkey, Bacon Ham Stack Sandwich, Turkey Avocado Cobb Salad and Asparagus Pasta Primavera. Some are only available for a limited time because we will debut a new seasonal menu as the seasons change, but the Turkey Bacon Ham Stack and the Turkey Avocado Cobb salad will be staying on the menu for a while!