Cooking Up Something Amazing with First Watch

It’s every restaurant chain’s dream: huge growth and expansion, high demand for your delicious food. But some aspects of accomplishing that dream can become extremely challenging. Overseeing remodels and new store openings can get hectic and be hard to manage. There are hundreds of moving parts that require coordinated execution. One misstep can put the downstream tasks in jeopardy and potentially impact the ideally-timed opening. And the result is inconsistency among the restaurants and the customer experience. When facing this challenge, brands are looking for more than just a sign company; they need a company with experience in engineering, design and program management who can provide creative insight and help solve any problem. First Watch has been living this experience over the last few years, and in 2015, they were diligently searching for someone who could help with their expansion and make their dreams a reality. It was then that First Watch found Image Manufacturing Group, who has since worked with First Watch to provide a full-service solution, allowing them to accomplish their goals.

Prior to engaging with IMG, First Watch had been reliably serving up mouthwatering breakfasts, brunches and lunches across all locations; however, the company did not have that same uniformity when it came to their brand image in all restaurants. Originally, signs were composed of channel letters of varying sizes and didn’t feature much design consideration. With the introduction of a new Development Director, First Watch wanted to streamline their brand image and in turn, give their guests the best experience.

To do this, IMG assisted First Watch in the development of their current concept and created a “Brand Book” that is distributed to current and potential Franchise Partners. Maintaining their Urban Farmhouse branding, First Watch’s design concept utilizes faux barn wood coupled with industrial metals. Earth-toned color schemes and shadowing on the letter faces helped bring this concept to life. Additionally, it was important to convey their attitude of “breakfast, brunch, lunch” always and to maintain “Daytime Café” as part of the name. With the fully-developed brand concept and the new Brand Book, Image Manufacturing Group made it easier and more efficient for production with increased volume, particularly as First Watch added new sites to their ambitious growth plans.  

According to Leigh Hix, First Watch’s program manager, IMG’s team effort has made all the difference. With weekly calls to review project updates in addition to easily-accessible organizational tools, Leigh feels most comfortable entrusting IMG with the First Watch program. She specifically recognized Eddie Jarrad, Account Executive, and Melanie Woods, Project Manager for going “above and beyond, doing whatever it takes,” including their advocating for First Watch branding in meetings with municipalities, design committees and zoning variance boards. Before working with IMG, First Watch was working on 15 new stores and 5 remodels. In 2018 alone, IMG successfully completed 89 locations, comprising three categories of installs: new restaurant openings, remodels, and conversions of their former Egg & I locations to the First Watch branding. We are incredibly proud to serve First Watch.