Etto, creating a new brand and category for Italian street food. With quick service traditionally limited to burgers, chicken and pizza, Etto is not only another offer, it is reshaping the category and introducing Italian street food to Australians. Truly Deeply partnered with Etto’s founder to help realise a vision, shape the business and create a thriving brand-led offer.
Pasta is a much loved food, but has previously not been offered in Australia outside of restaurants serving Italian food or sandwich bars serving a D-grade product to lunch-time office workers. There was a gap in the market for a new approach to enjoying fresh pasta.
The Etto founders had a vision for a seriously good eating experience combined with a quick service time to provide a fresh, delicious and quick option for casual diners.
The concept encourages customers to be immersed in the whole food experience, by selecting their favourite fresh pasta, choosing from big flavour sauces and then watching it being cooked to order in minutes with love and passion. The menu includes the classics like a slow cooked Bolognese, and Wagu meatballs, along with authentic Italian tastes like black truffle and salami. Most of Etto’s pasta is made fresh in-store each day with a focus on fresh and premium ingredients.
One thing that has always defined us as a branding agency is the manner in which we seek to truly partner with our clients. Etto is the perfect example of our approach, as Truly Deeply founder David Ansett walked in the clients shoes and became both owners of the business as well as leaders of the agency team.
This experience over four years and now a small chain of three fresh casual format restaurants has provided us with deep industry insight that we bring to bear for our hospitality branding clients.
With no existing formula for quick service fresh pasta in Australia, we needed to create the category as well as the brand to educate the market about this new eating proposition.
Pasta is inherently Italian, and the spirit and passion of Italy is closely associated with great pasta, yet none of the founders are Italian. We had to tap into the Italian spirit in a way that was fresh but also authentic and honest.
The brand also needed to appeal to the multiple and diverse audiences from inner city urban dudes to local families out for an affordable evening eat.
There is also an ambition to make this a multi-store brand, without looking like a typical franchise. It was a delicate balance between creating a unique and easily recognisable brand visual language without looking like a ‘cookie-cutter’ franchise.
Pasta is the Hero. The common theme throughout all of our research and strategy development was ‘pasta’.
Pasta is at the core of the offer and we believe that the brand can own pasta in the quick service food market. This insight led us to take our fresh pasta making into store as a key proof point for the brand.
The spirit of pasta also provided missing Italian authenticity. Whilst they’re not Italian, the founder’s passion for pasta allowed us to capture the spirit of Italy – what’s not to love about riding a Vespa, drinking chianti on a warm evening and talking with your hands?
The opportunity was to position fast, fresh pasta as something that did not require compromise; it could be cooked to order, with a waiting time acceptable to the busiest of people.
The name ‘Etto’ is inspired from an Italian cooking measure of 100 grams, which is infused into the brand experience with every serve of pasta being a generous interpretation of an ‘Etto’. Every key decision was brand led. The brand strategy captures and defines the spirit of the brand with the right layers to drive the brand design, store design and staff recruitment and training programmes.
Ever since the ancient Roman days, Italians have demonstrated a love of being out on the streets. Strolling with friends and families, creating and sharing in a natural energy that reflects their love of life. As a consequence, the streets have always been the perfect place to partake in the favourite of Italian pastimes – eating.
It is this idea of great food on the go that has inspired the Etto essence of ‘delectable Italian street food’.
Through the brand’s mind-set, we identified and implemented the philosophy of ‘Pasta Respect’. This has provided the opportunity to build a culture around being the experts in this category. From understanding the product like no one else, to importing the best quality Italian pasta making and cooking equipment, Etto rates respect for pasta above all else.
Etto staff are trained in the craft of making pasta from scratch, cooking to al dente and matching the perfect harmony of pasta and sauce. Once qualified, Etto employees earn the title of ‘Maccaronari’ – masters of their craft and the pasta equivalent of the barista.
The Etto brand identity needed to capture the spirit of Italy without being cheesy, or claiming false authenticity. There was also the added complexity of maintaining an edge to the design when repeated through multiple store locations. At the heart of the brand identity is the Etto word mark. The mark is based on the three-dimensional typographic signage common to restaurants and bars throughout Italy. The black and yellow colours featured in the mark reflect an urban brand with vibrancy and energy, a brand that is connected to tradition whilst current and contemporary.
The secondary visual language has a number of elements that provide the flexibility to be shuffled through varying applications of the brand, whilst remaining unique and highly recognisable in the market. This includes a palette of fresh, vibrant and slightly quirky colours, a graphic pasta pattern, harlequin check pattern used predominantly in the store environment, a range of reconstituted Italian visual icons, and a highly identifiable, typographic messaging style.
This design strategy provides the edge and freshness for a large-scale retail brand rollout, while avoiding the ‘cookie cutter style franchise’ image.
Truly Deeply developed the Etto brand from the ground-up and from the inside out. Being involved with the business from its inception meant the brand was present at the table through every discussion and facilitated the best possible environment to build the business. Truly Deeply led the strategic positioning of the brand, brand definition, naming, product development, brand identity, store design, packaging, signage, stationery, menus, environmental graphics, uniform design, marketing strategy, local area marketing, promotional campaign development and execution, website design, social media strategy and activation, brand voice development and messaging, employee brand engagement and training.
Etto launched in January 2013. From the day it opened its doors, the brand and store design have drawn customers from the street in their droves. The Etto business is running at 200% ahead of projections for the first months of operation.
Stephane Meyers, Founder and Managing Director of Etto, describes the business as a small start-up with big dreams and a brand to match its aspirations. “Partnering with the Truly Deeply team has been an amazing process of realising my vision and seeing it take shape and come to life. We have had to build the business and the brand from the ground up, and developing the two parts in synergy has been a highly valuable and rewarding process,” says Meyers.
“Whilst we’ve had to be creative in our use of budget to launch Etto to market, Truly Deeply have been able to deliver an uncompromised brand experience. I truly believe we have the best brand in the market and that is a critical component of our growth strategy. I often describe the pasta as delectable, and the brand simply as sexy. But I’m a little biased,” added Meyers.
For more information on ETTO visit etto.com.au
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