brand experience brief: eureka!

Eureka! is a chain of polished casual restaurants that claims to deliver a value driven experience defined as “eatertainment.”  Check out this video audit and analysis of the brand experience to see if it delivers on that claim.

Brand Experience Brief: Eureka! from Denise Lee Yohn on Vimeo.

Other Brand Experience Briefs (video audits and analyses of new and interesting retail and restaurant concepts):


Hi I’m Denise Yohn and in this Brand Experience Brief I’m sharing my audit and analysis of Eureka!, a chain of 15 polished casual dining restaurants in the West and Texas.

Eureka was started by two real estate developers who wanted to get in on the better burger category — and you can tell.  The restaurant design is impressive from its eye-catching exterior to the reclaimed wood ceiling and unique fixtures, to the cool art work.  The bar is huge and bright yellow lights frame an extensive wall of beer taps and backlight the liquor. There’s a striking display of whiskey and wine bottles, and cocktail ingredients are artfully displayed on the bar counter.

You can also tell Eureka is inspired by chains like Shake Shack and Burger Lounge because it tries to out-do those concepts.  Like the others, Eureka uses top quality, locally sourced ingredients.  But not satisfied to sell mere sweet potato fries, Eureka offers Honey Cinnamon glazed ones.  Not just a spicy burger, a Jalapeno Egg Burger.

Also like others, the concept conveys its brand personality overtly — artfully in some cases like the backs of the server’s t-shirts and not so subtly on its website.  And it uses a lot of digital screens.

The food was delicious, and the service, excellent, so it’s no wonder Eureka is popular among reviewers.  But the experience was quite unmemorable.

The problem, it seems, is that Eureka tries to be too many things — the lack of focus makes for an unremarkable experience.  For example, the name Eureka suggests discovery but it’s hard to see how a burger concept could be that original.  Plus the menu has such a broad range of salads, starters, and entrees, the concept’s burger focus doesn’t really stand out.  Also it uses the line “Discover American craft” and limits its beer and spirits offerings to domestic brands only, but the decor and the food menu which includes choices like Naked Chicken Saltimbocca and a Tortilla Burger don’t seem particularly American.  While Eureka’s chef-driven menu appeals to foodies, the restaurant doesn’t use other foodie cues like ingredient displays, an open kitchen, or unique tabletop items.  The craft beer and handmade whiskey selections are quite impressive but without the live music which the restaurant hosts only a couple nights a week, the bar seemed dead.  There was no distinct vibe, no sense of energy.

The company’s website claims “Our exceptional hospitality and unique environment creates a value driven experience defined as “eatertainment!” — even though I’m not quite sure what eatertainment is, I’m pretty sure I didn’t experience it.  Eureka will have to focus on 1 or 2 key differentiators and design a more striking sensory experience around them in order to deliver on such a claim.

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