Junior's Burger Pit Stop
This identity is a racing themed restaurant concept. It is named and characterized by the late Robert Glenn, "Junior," Johnson.
Junior came from the foothills of North Carolina along with other NASCAR pioneers. During economic troubles of the 1940's, he began helping his family's liquor business at 14. It was highly illegal at the time however, per U.S. prohibition laws. This led to moonshiners modifying their cars to outrun federal agents, and eventually racing against each other in official, organized competitions.
Fast-forward several decades later, Johnson would own a team in the NASCAR Cup Series, and win 50 races himself. He was one of the first superstars, and was later nicknamed, "The Last American Hero." Because of his rich ties to the sport's beginning, his name and likeness was chosen to be the personality behind this brand.
After his moonshine days in the famous 1940 Ford Coupe, Junior would go on to drive many different cars during his career. Two of the most popular, were the #3 Impala and #27 Ford Galaxie. The Galaxie is actually referred to as the, "yellow banana," because of the modifications made. The height, windshield angle, and rear were altered for aerodynamic down-force. The vintage yellow of it was incorporated into this project as an accent color.
The #3 Impala is arguably Junior's most iconic ride, excluding the coupe. Many tributes and throwbacks have been ran by teams over the years, hence it being included in the logo mark. I believe it distinguishes this identity from others that use the coupe, like the iconic Midnight Moon Moonshine company he launched.
This is an enterprise company with locations nationwide. I anticipate a restaurant like this would thrive, setting up diners inside of iconic motorsport stadiums. Daytona, FL, Talladega, AL, Bristol, TN, Darlington, SC, Martinsville, VA, and several others come to mind as viable locations.
Out of all landmark places in the motorsports world though, one stands out as the perfect place to be the brand's home-base. This location is, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Not only was the town's speedway a birthplace for racing and Johnson's moonshine tales, it was near and dear to Junior his whole life. A grandstand was named after him, and he was a local hero. North Wilkesboro Speedway was his home away from home in more ways than one. He took great pride in finishing well at his home track.
After it's doors were closed in 1996, Junior tried as hard as he could to make NWS come alive again. He got a group of investors together, intending to buy the property. That plan did not come to pass, but the speedway still stayed close to his heart. It stayed close to all diehard fans' hearts in fact.
As visitors enter the venue's main entrance, they see the restaurant front and center on the way in. It is the feature dining spot of the venue. The interior of the restaurant intentionally has an old-fashioned look to it. It has a wooden visual texture on the walls and lighting that brings about a sports bar vibe.
The ground floor can seat 250, with an upstairs deck adding 300 seats. Along with this, there are standing tables and waiting benches outside. This space allows the restaurant to potentially expand as the years go on, to keep up with the demand.
Menu items include themed dishes named after NASCAR stars from Johnson's era. Under the featured, "Junior's Picks," menu column, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Sr, and Fireball Roberts are hinted at.
The employees wear apparel that resembles vintage NASCAR uniforms of various kinds from the era. Some of my inspiration came from Winston Cup Series race official uniforms, as well as pit crew uniforms from the time frame.
The website is one continuous page for streamlined navigation on mobile. This reduces the number of clicks, and therefore, loading times. It has quick options on the bar to the left to call, text, or order from the restaurant through food delivery services. Patrons can continue scrolling to read about the restaurant's services and products, or order and reserve at the top.
Social media is one of the best opportunities to showcase brand personality. Early bootleggers like Johnson were known to be very boisterous, and smug by nature. They knew that they were good at their craft, and they were not hesitant to say so.
The attitude of the post copy challenges the reader to think. The banter makes the reader desire to qualify themselves. "Of course I can eat that, I've had spicy food before ..." I believe that this emotional response voices the old school, brash personality of the era, and adds to the customer experience.
Each post is slightly tailored to the personality of the driver featured. For example, "rattling your cage" is a classic saying that Earnhardt used at Bristol after a run-in with Terry Labonte.
Another Easter-egg was used to promote the Johnson Moonshine Burger. There is a play on words based from the lyrics of, "Carolina Moonshine," by Matt Dylan.
Dishes that are themed after past NASCAR drivers have special, unique packaging to make them stand out from others. The signature, "Intimidator Fries," feature Dale's #3 Monte Carlo illustrated, accompanying his nickname.
To advertise, Junior's is pictured, partnering with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing team. The front has stripes in the center of the hood just like Junior's Impala featured in the logo. Along each side of the hood, the address of the restaurant replaces the horsepower or cubic inches of the engine being displayed. Midnight Moon Moonshine is an associate co-sponsor, as it was started by Johnson himself in the 2000's. It is the exclusive alcohol supplier for the restaurant.
There are many other ways to advertise to the target market outside of the track. One way is to have outdoor boards in neighboring cities of speedways which have restaurants. For example, the Wilkesboro location could use this method in downtown Charlotte in close proximity to the NASCAR Hall of Fame tourism area. They could also branch out into Mooresville nearby where several teams are located. Other places where there is a dense population of motorsport fan and industry traffic would be effective as well.
I'd love to know what your thoughts are. Let me know in the comments!