Mina Group Makes Brand Experience a Centerpiece of Its Restaurant Collection

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When it comes to articulating a brand promise, Mina Group goes all in, partnering with San Francisco culinary brand agency, UNIT partners.

There’s a reason Michael Mina is one of today’s leading celebrity chefs, with destination restaurants in many of America’s top food cities, and it’s not just his culinary skills. A strategic marketing approach and a nuanced understanding of brand development give Mina a competitive edge against any restaurant group that treats branding as an afterthought.

“Everything I do is deeply personal; it has to have a story and heritage, and that needs to be expressed in a way that the customer recognizes. Not in a superficial way, but in an authentic experiential way, at every touch point. That’s why we forged a partnership with UNIT partners,” says Mina.

Based in San Francisco, UNIT is a brand strategy and graphic design agency dedicated to culinary, hospitality and retail brands. With a professional eye toward building brand loyalty and a personal passion for food-related projects, UNIT was a natural fit to team with Mina Group.

“We don’t just act as art directors for our culinary clients,” says Ann Jordan, partner and creative director at UNIT. “We become part of the restaurant’s team, helping to shape menus, attending chef’s tastings, mapping the customer experience and contracting professional culinary writers and authors.”

UNIT’s efforts on Mina Group’s behalf extend beyond traditional design assets into way-finding strategies, monuments of convenience, architectural cues and storytelling vehicles.

According to Mollie Allick, vice president of marketing, “Mina Group prides itself on raising the bar for the guest experience. It is important that we consider the entire brand experience so that it is unique, customized and memorable. UNIT partners helps us bring this vision to life.”

UNIT has partnered on brand work for four Mina Group properties to date: The Ramen Bar and PABU in San Francisco; StripSteak in Miami and Locale Market in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“Working with Mina Group means finding the soul of each restaurant and anticipating what the guest wants from it,” says Shardul Kiri, partner and creative director at UNIT. “It requires a heightened level of insight and creative thinking that guides our end product, be it tangible or experiential.”

In today’s market of rapid restaurant expansion and pop-up culinary culture, brand consideration can get sidelined.

Mina Group President Patric Yumul says, "We obsess over every detail and focus on making the entire experience exceptional. We chose UNIT partners because they understand how central the cultural experience is to Mina properties. It’s everything.”

About UNIT partners:
UNIT partners is a multi-disciplinary branding agency and graphic design firm with a simple goal — help brands reach their full potential. Founded in 2006 by Ann Jordan and Shardul Kiri, UNIT has developed relevant and actionable brand experiences for a wide range of clients across a spectrum of industries — with a focus on hospitality, retail, and consumer packaging.

Understanding the importance of developing solutions that translate to all communication mediums, UNIT's work covers a full spectrum of branding services, including logo design, websites, environments, marketing collateral, packaging design, applications, brand strategy, copywriting and trade shows.

Based in San Francisco, UNIT has a diverse client base that includes Kia, Hi Neighbor Restaurant Group, Herbalife, Harry & David, Old Navy, and San Francisco Soup Company.

UNIT is a member of AIGA, the professional association for design, and the Designers Accord, a coalition of designers, educators and business leaders working together to create positive environmental and social impact.

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