Fosters Freeze

Mystery helps revitalise Fosters Freeze, a much loved Californian F&B institution

Established in 1946, Fosters Freeze grew to over 80 restaurants in it’s mid-century heyday and became one of California’s best-loved fast food brands. Sadly, over the last decade the franchise has been in steady decline, until now, that is!..

Having been recently acquired by a new owner, an experienced operator with a passion for the brand, Fosters Freeze has given another chance to make memories for a new generation of Californians. Their first action in this process was to appoint Mystery’s LA office to help revitalise the business.

Following an in-depth strategic branding process, during which we interviewed many current, former and potential customers, our insight was that three generations of Californians had been taken to Fosters Freeze when they were kids and still had extremely positive nostalgic memories of the brand, despite its more recent decline.

Brand vision

Our vision was to revitalise the brand by focusing on its authentic Californian heritage, aiming to tap that powerful force of nostalgia to connect with customers on a deeper emotive level.

The combination of heritage and nostalgia represents wholesomeness, while the revitalised Fosters Freeze brand positioning has been defined around the ‘innocent’ brand personality archetype, that personifies quintessential Californian positivity, its unwavering cheerfulness, and community spirit.

With this clear focal point, we have enabled the brand to advocate, own and stand for the universal principle that simple pleasures - like sunshine and ice cream - are the key to happiness.

"It’s an easy sell when you’re providing some of life’s best simple pleasures - nothing ritzy - just the regular everyday happiness that Californian sunshine and ice cream brings!” says Dan Einzig, founder of Mystery Inc and brand strategist for Fosters Freeze.

“Knowing what people are buying, as opposed to simply knowing what your brand is selling, helps to define a clear brand vision like this that everyone in the organisation can get behind and helps ensure they all pull in the same direction.”

Brand identity

Taking inspiration from other great heritage brands, such as Fiat Motorcars, we set about evolving the identity to celebrate Fosters Freeze's history and resurrect ‘Little Foster’, the brand mascot that had been steadily scaled back and marginalised over the past couple of re-brands.

We have used the new identity design to create a suite of new signage applications, a color palette, font set, photographic style guide and brand pattern.

To ensure the new and energized design concept touches all aspects of the brand experience and marketing collateral, we also recognised the importance of the Fosters Freeze take-out packaging in the revitalization process.

Everything has been redesigned, including bags, cups, boxes and wrapping paper. Mystery also designed the new menu systems and modernised the presentation through digital menu board displays.

Interior and exterior design

In collaboration with our partners' Relativity Architects, we have designed an all-new ground-up, drive-thru flagship restaurant concept.  This has been inspired by a rare image we unearthed of one of the original Fosters Freeze franchises and the ‘Googie' architecture movement, that defines quintessential mid-century Californian roadside architecture.

Keeping the big blue mansard roofs that have become an important and recognisable brand element, we elevated and pitched the angles to create a stand-out, iconic roadside branded destination with nostalgic lifestyle appeal.

Design for Franchisees

As a franchise business, inspiring existing franchisees to upgrade their units is absolutely vital to the success of the brand revitalization.  With this in mind, we compiled a Fosters Freeze ‘Refurbishment Guide’ that brings our vision to life, by illustrating the rejuvenated furniture, reinvigorated finishes, lighting, colors and FF&E package.

Ongoing brand activation

Having been retained as brand guardian of Fosters Freeze, Mystery has also re-designed and will continue to develop a guideline of brand marketing materials, including new product photography, billboards, posters and promotion templates.

The reception to the new branding has been great. There are franchisees who are really excited about the forward movement and looking to make improvements in the future, if they haven’t already done so. We have had multiple parties contact us expressing interest in opening up new locations. So with the launch of a new website and being more active on social platforms, we are looking forward to new store openings coming soon!  Sanjay Patel, CEO.

With an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the new branding from many of the existing franchisees, the Fosters Freeze brand owner can now focus on developing new franchisees and growing the Fosters Freeze business, with a portfolio of flagship restaurants both within California and across America. There are also plans to export this piece of Californian legacy around the world.

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