Brand Experience Brief: Modmarket

Modmarket was named one of the top 5 hot concepts of the year by Nation’s Restaurant News.  What distinguishes it from the other fast casual restaurants serving better-for-you food?  Check out this brand experience brief.

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This brand experience brief is about a restaurant company with the mission to change people’s expectation of what a $10 meal can be.  It’s called Modmarket and it’s a newish chain based in Golden, Colorado.  A lot of fast casual restaurants serving better for you food have been popping up lately but Modmarket was named one of the top 5 hot concepts of the year by Nation’s Restaurant News so I figured it was worth stopping into one of its 6 current locations.

In some ways, Modmarket is a lot like Veggie Grill, Energy Kitchen, and Fresh2Order.  It serves a range of salads including the Superfood made of a Spinach/Kale Blend and Quinoa Pilaf, Sandwiches and Pizzas, and soups including a cashew butternut which was quite tasty.  At $8 for a ½ soup ½ chicken sandwich combo, the value is about comparable to a Panera which I find slightly lacking but most people seem to think is acceptable.

The restaurant décor is clean and modern, with lots of digital screens and mod furniture. The staff was nice and my meal came in the promised 5 to 10 minutes.

A few things distinguished Modmarket.  The open food prep area where staffers sliced chicken and prepared salads added great theater to the experience and reinforced the fresh, whole ingredients nature of the food.  The menu featured homestyle plates which offered a protein like roasted chicken, tofu or steak with two sides on a plate.  This combined with the real china and silver and glassware created a more homecooked meal perception.

The location I visited had some standout design features like a very high ceilinged area with huge windows and a fire pit out on the patio.  And in my research I found that the design of other locations were quite striking.  The thing that stood out the most was the receipt – it listed the nutritional content of my order.  This communicated strongly the company’s commitment to serving healthful food.


So on balance the Modmarket brand experience was enjoyable, but there wasn’t a big idea to distinguish it from other fast casuals in the increasingly popular good for you space.  The owners say they expect to have 14 units open by the end of 2014 and are eyeing new markets like Phoenix and Dallas.  In order for that expansion to go well, they’re going to need to build on what they have and punch up the concept’s differentiation.

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