Ay caramba! I love to eat. I particularly like the Mexican food served in cheap neighborhood places frequented by those who work physically hard for a living.
But what does this all have to do with branding, you ask? Quite a lot, it turns out. Let me offer up Los Primos Taqueria on San Mateo’s Ellsworth Street (near Poplar for those of you who want to swing by) as an example of branding done right.
There’s no confusion about what Los Primos is—in stark contrast to the restaurant I wrote about in an earlier post. What you get is consistency from start to finish.
The first thing you see when you walk up is “Home-made, authentic Mexican food” hand painted on the plate-glass window. Then you step through the door and are hit by the wonderful aroma of beans, frying tortillas, and carne. Proceeding on to the cash register, you catch a glimpse of the grill cook at work and hear a telenovela or soccer game blasting on the two big TVs. Then there’s the food. Boy, is it good!
Everything about Los Primos, from the patrons grabbing a hearty meal and a beer at lunch to the collection box for a sick relative in Mexico, tells you exactly what you’ll get, great food in a no-frills, workingman’s café.
Whether it’s fancy, polished, or not, I think that’s the essence of branding. A promise, a consistent look and feel, and always-on delivery. Los Primos has it right. I stop by every week, as much for the experience as the food—though you will probably never catch me sampling the menudo. That’s for the boys in long pants, as my grad school dean used to say.