Case study // JOEY Restaurant Group Culture Book

Growing restaurant brand gets their unique culture on the record

It’s authentic and fun and so totally ‘us.’ I can’t wait to give copies to all our stores. It’s going to be a major cornerstone of our recruitment and training program as we expand across Canada and the US.
— Britt Innes, VP Marketing of JOEY Restaurant Group

CHALLENGE: Create a Culture Book to Capture Values and Celebrate a 25th Anniversary

JOEY Restaurant Group came to us at a time of exciting growth. The successful premium-casual restaurant brand were opening two to three locations per year, and expanding quickly into the US. Their strong corporate culture (profit-sharing for managers and chef trips to Italy, anyone?) and resulting employee loyalty had always been their edge in a fiercely competitive industry, and they didn’t want it to dull as a result of their expansion. They asked us to help them mark their 25th anniversary with a culture book that they could use to recruit the right managers, give to each new employee as an effective onboarding tool, and help the evolving brand stay true to its founding values.

SOLUTION: Capture Contemporary Culture with a Nod to History 

We knew we needed to honour the brand’s history, but they didn’t want to dwell too much on the early days. Specifically, we were tasked with capturing the diverse and contemporary vibe that elevates the JOEY culture today. We riffed off the brand’s successful marketing campaign The Way We Cook and created five chapters, starting with “The Way We Were.” This chapter is where we baked in the legendary and inspiring start-up lore to remind everyone of the shared attitudes, quirky rituals, and unwritten rules that serve to unite and guide them as a growing tribe. We were also careful to interview and include voices from all levels of the organization to reflect one of JOEY’s unique employee value propositions: promoting from within (JOEY’s current president started as a dishwasher). Our Art Director embedded herself at JOEY HQ to get inside their culture and brand, and the result is a visual feast of a book that straddles the precise JOEY blend of sophistication and play.

RESULTS: A Culture Book That’s Unexpectedly Good for Business

The book was launched and distributed at the JALAs (JOEY Annual Leadership Awards). Employees signed each other’s copies, and had great fun scrutinizing 320 thumbnail portraits on the cover and flipping through the vintage and candid shots inside. Since then, JOEY has made good use of the book as a powerful weapon in their ongoing war for talent, especially as they open in markets in the US where their brand is not yet well known. What we didn’t expect was hearing back from their VP Marketing that the book has also been instrumental in their negotiations with landlords for prime real estate locations. Just more proof that showcasing your vibrant, authentic culture is good for business.

One more cool thing

We included 11 iconic JOEY food and drink recipes. This is a foodie culture so it made sense to infuse their book with the secrets of their trade. Plus, everyone should know how to make a killer Cosmo (hint: cucumber).