Restaurant Marketing & Brand Positioning Testimonials
These restaurant marketing and brand positioning testimonials, from the top executives of leading restaurant and franchise brands, will give you a first hand look at what Ellish Marketing Group and Warren Ellish have done to profitably launch, turn-around or grow their businesses.
“I enjoy working with Warren. He is clear-thinking, strategic and creative.”
Richard Melman, Chairman and Founder, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
“Seldom have I seen the principals of an agency so involved in understanding what makes a brand tick. Ellish Marketing helped define the eatZi’s brand promise and then worked to help deliver it. No task was too small and no idea too big. They have the expertise of a large agency without the large agency overhead and bureaucracy. Using a virtual agency like Ellish Marketing helped to leverage a modest marketing budget into big results.”
Lane Cardwell, former President eatzi’s (Brinker International) and President of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
“Warren Ellish and his team have brought significant value to Bennigan’s Franchising Company as we set out to transform this 35-year-old legacy casual dining brand into a model that resonates with today’s consumer. Warren led the brand re-positioning efforts, developed our overarching strategy, and actively engaged our franchise community to build conscientiousness and trust. In addition, Warren developed and executed a consumer research project which aided in the development of our new menu, communication strategy and many elements of our new prototype. Warren did a great job of partnering with our internal corporate resources and franchise community which ensured buy-in and active participation. We will continue to call upon Warren and his group of professionals as we continue to move our brand forward.”
David Goronkin, former CEO, Bennigan’s Franchise Company and CEO of Garden Fresh Restaurants
“Four years after opening Chili’s in Costa Rica, we were struggling to find our way. One Saturday morning I Googled international restaurant marketing consultants and decided to send email inquiries to interesting marketing agencies. Warren contacted me within the hour. and within two hours we were on the phone together. Within 60 days of the initial conversation, Warren made the trip to Costa Rica. We spent three days together and during that time Warren made macro recommendations as well as micro detail recommendations on how to position a global mature brand in a relatively new market, how to improve our marketing, grow our business and to become profitable. He has continued to drive this effort ever since. We implemented all of Warren’s recommendations and immediately saw great results. In fact, after our first year following his recommendations we were awarded Chili’s Global Franchise top comp sales award. We have consulted with Warren for the past four plus years from marketing strategy and calendar creation, full advertising development and execution, the development of special promotional and menu offerings, leading menu engineering for a reduced menu size and then the actual menu design, creating and leading Facebook and social media programs and driving our Loyalty club program and email implementation. It has been great to have Warren as the leader of our marketing efforts for Chili’s in Costa Rica.”
Bob Florsheim, CEO, CRB Restaurants (Chili’s Franchisee, Costa Rica)
“Ellish Marketing Group has been an invaluable asset to American Blue Ribbon Holdings. Warren’s insight and experience has helped guide the positioning of our Village Inn brand and has contributed to the turnaround that we have been experiencing. Additionally, the ability of Warren Ellish and the Ellish Marketing Group to identify the key guest benefits of one of our new product introductions insured the success of the program. They guided us and focused our marketing efforts in the right direction. As a result, this new item is now our biggest seller on the menu.”
Hazem Ouf, CEO, American Blue Ribbon Holdings
“Warren is a leader with a focus on sales and profits. I worked closely with Warren at Burger King in the late 80’s when he was in Marketing with responsibility for the Breakfast Daypart. I hired Warren/EMG in 2001, when I became the Denny’s CEO. I needed someone I could trust and deliver results. He led as consultant/business partner for brand positioning work, menu optimization/simplification and menu design. As part of this project EMG developed new traffic-generating products and the consumer research to validate the work. Warren has the leadership, the knowledge and the resources to deliver solutions that work. He knows how to help you make money.”
Nelson Marchioli, Former CEO, Denny’s
“Warren has the ability to take a concept, help position it in the marketplace with a focus and then produce a concise message with a clear plan of execution. He does all of this with a sense of urgency while understanding our company’s needs, goals and budget provisions. Warren keeps it simple and executes well.”
Kevin Brown, CEO, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises
“The work that Toppers Pizza did with Warren was productive in many respects. First, we involved many interested parties to the brand work, including Franchisees, marketing and operations personnel and myself. One of the unexpected outcomes of the work was that we disparate and sometimes hard – headed participants found ourselves substantially on the same page at the conclusion of the projects. That resulted from the methodical research based approach that Warran uses, reducing personal biases.
Toppers took several substantial actions as a result of the work with Warren, several of which were tertiary benefits of the primary targeted projects we had hired him to conduct. The brand positioning and strategic marketing assessment work resulted in a substantive change of reference in our approach. We ultimately changed our signage and many of our base identity elements following the work. The extensive research in the areas of menu optimization and promotional offers resulted in our eliminating 2 menu categories with very little push back from operators in our system. The customer reacted as predicted and I feel as confident today as I did then about that decision.
Warren is an accomplished brand and marketing consultant, but also is one of those people who can at once challenge the status quo and build consensus among stakeholders with a combination of science and solid facilitating communication.”
Scott Gittrich, President, Toppers Pizza, Inc.
“As our company approached our 50th year, we really needed some keen insight into our own brand and what we needed to do to stay relevant. Warren did not simply give us a cursory review with canned solutions – he truly did a deep-dive into our history and culture, and then proceeded to evaluate our whole operation – from menu to brand positioning to marketing strategy and beyond. It is exactly what we needed to chart our course for the future and make sure we were not only focused on key metrics, but realized how to “get out of our own way” and really push ahead full-steam towards solidifying our place in the market and making our growth strategic.”
Tom Giftos, President, National Coney Island
“The guidance and leadership Warren and his team provided as we sought to refine our positioning in a highly competitive market was invaluable.Warren took the time to fully evaluate our existing operations and lead us through a complete rebranding effort including brand positioning, a strategic marketing review, menu engineering, state-of-the-art food photography and the development of consumer communication materials including direct mail pieces.Warren’s experience in the food and beverage industry is evident and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Warren and Ellish Marketing Group to anyone seeking a hard working professional.”
Denis McGlynn, CEO, Dover Downs Leisure Management Corp.
“Ellish Marketing Group was of great to help to Pollo Campero as we evolved our brand in the United States and modernized it to meet today’s consumers’ demands. From Brand Positioning to menu engineering, food photography and designing marketing collaterals, Warren Ellish and his team helped throughout the entire marketing process—converting consumer insights into strategies and developing local plans. His attention to details throughout the entire project resulted in stand-out work that delivered the results we were looking for. His great work has been taken into other markets within the United States as we continue implementing our new global brand platform.”
Roberto Denegri, President and COO, Campero USA & International
“Warren Ellish brings passion in challenging conventional thinking – both our company’s and my own; he has an in depth understanding of our Brand and the implications and boundaries inherent in Brand Extension.He has been a true partner, helping us make our new concept’s design meet our overarching company objectives. His commitment to excellence is demonstrated both in his in-depth preparation and ability to facilitate/co-create a unified Brand Positioning Statement that translated into tangible executable strategies. Warren has a depth of knowledge, as well as commitment to moving the needle, that’s hard to equal.”
Robert Giaimo, President/CEO/Founder, Silver Diner Development Inc.
“We were so right when we decided to hire Warren Ellish to help us revitalize our brand! Somehow Warren always creates wows! But the restaurant discovery he organized for our brand refresh was a real wow+! He handpicked the best restaurants and markets to experience (according to our needs) and the whole process was mind-blowing. He then conducted a brand positioning session with our management team, where the soul of our brand was created. He culminated the process with the creation of a brand concept book where the ideal Tai Pak experience was described. The brand positioning statement is so powerful, and has been driving our brand with total organizational focus. We are also deploying all aspects of the concept book and our guests are loving it!
Warren Ellish and the team at Ellish Marketing Group continue to create great results for us over and over again. We have worked with Warren for the past 2 years in a 360º project. His most valuable asset is without a doubt his passion and he is someone you enjoy working with. He became part of our team right away and he has even become a personal mentor to me. The results of our collaboration are sales that are up double digits for the second year in a row while the local restaurant industry is flat. Warren’s passion definitely translates into results!”
Jaime A. Pun, CEO, Tai Pak Asian Wok Kitchen (Mexico)
“Great Wolf Resorts engaged Warren and Ellish Marketing Group in the fall of 2012 to assist us in rebranding our 11 domestic resorts F&B outlets. Over the next 12 months we met for in-depth food Discovery tours and multiday branding sessions. The results have been nothing short of impressive, many locations have been rebranded, food quality and presentation greatly improved and per guest spend is up high single digits. I would highly recommend Warren to assist any company in Brand Positioning and overall marketing effectiveness!”
Tim Black, EVP, Great Wolf Resorts
“We brought Warren Ellish in to help us identify the brand positioning for our Blackjack Pizza brand. Warren worked with a team consisting of our Franchise Advisory Committee and senior-level management from all departments, encouraging wide-spread participation among the group. Warren’s extensive knowledge of the restaurant industry helped the team identify the direction they wanted to go. Throughout the process, he was able to guide the team in to a focused direction pin-pointing our strengths and creating a fundamental message to help communicate them. Because of his effective facilitation of our session, we now have a clear positioning statement that will be our roadmap into the future. This has helped catapult our journey to full management alignment within our corporate infrastructure, franchisee’s and store level management as one!”
Sam Askar, CEO, Askar Management
“I attended a session that Warren Ellish presented at the IFA national convention and I was so impressed I engaged him to assist us in bringing clarity to our brand positioning. Warren brilliantly facilitated an intensive all-day session with our Interim HealthCare executive team and key franchisee leadership. His ability to foster collaboration among a diverse group of both new and legacy franchisees was instrumental in leading us to the development of a solid brand positioning statement. We could not have accomplished what we did without Warren’s guidance. He is truly a brand positioning expert and the foundation he helped us establish has been used as a basis for making critical decisions.”
Linda Shaub, CFE, CSA | Senior Vice President, Marketing, Interim Healthcare
“Warren Ellish is an excellent facilitator with an uncanny ability to guide a group of individuals through a rigorous process that ultimately yields a substantive outcome. Our Soccer Shots executive team and franchise leadership were engaged throughout the day-long exercise, and our team forged a bond through the experience. This collaboration and wide-spread participation has prompted belief and buy-in for the direction we’re going with our brand. Thanks to Warren we now have a brand positioning statement that clearly articulates the Soccer Shots brand, and it has become a point of operational and marketing focus for us.”
Justin Bredeman, President, Soccer Shots Franchising LLC
“Seasons Pizza has hired many restaurant and marketing consultants over the years, but never anyone as strategic, resourceful, focused, and experienced as Warren Ellish and Ellish Marketing Group. Warren definitely delivers powerful results and is a great value compared to the bigger firms. We hired him to refresh the Seasons Pizza brand and were thrilled with the insights and the solutions that were provided on all levels. He patiently took his time to understand our company, our consumer and the reasons for our prior successes, then with focus and discipline helped us define our Brand Positioning, our marketing message, and our menu. The results and the numbers speak for themselves, all the way to the bottom line.”
John Mazarakis, COO, Seasons Pizza
“Warren and Ellish Marketing Group helped uncover key elements to successfully reengineering our menu. Warren also helped us with a number of marketing initiatives, one of the most impactful being his help with direct mail. The insights and lessons Warren provided were essential to the revenue we were able to drive and a key part of our success with direct mail marketing. This is now part of our ongoing strategy.”
Angela Zoiss, Vice President of Marketing, Bottleneck Management
“Warren is a top notch marketing executive who really understands the restaurant business. We contracted Warren originally for concept positioning and he was able to work well with our team and help us develop new positioning in a fast efficient manner. Subsequently, we worked with Warren on various projects including menu development, grand opening marketing and direct mail campaigns. In each case, Warren had a tremendous level of knowledge and many creative ideas. He also understands the importance of return on investment and is very focused on measuring the results of every program. Upon moving to Salasarita’s, I engaged Warren to lead the brand positioning for us and he delivered with exceptional results. Warren has the highest level of integrity and commitment, and is a real asset to any organization looking for marketing, branding or positioning expertise.”
Larry Reinstein, former CEO, Fresh City and President & COO of Salsarita’s
“The direct mail work Warren and his team of professionals developed for Corner Bakery Cafe was right on target. Our brand was strengthened with the delivery of a strategically crafted, visually striking, and relevant message.”
Dave Wolfgram, former President, Corner Bakery Café
“At the end of 2015 we were looking to better hone our brand and branding strategy and we decided to hire Warren to help guide that process. We were a growing startup at the time, but we felt like we could grow faster and accomplish more with improved branding and marketing. His process helped us create a fantastic, focused branding strategy and also created universal buy-in across the entire company since we all created the strategy together. That strategy is a big part of the reason we’ve been able to grow nearly 8,000% over the past 5 years. Hiring Warren was an absolutely fantastic investment.”
Charlie Mulligan, CEO & Co-Founder, GiveGab
“We truly enjoyed working with Warren using his Brand Positioning process. We started with a research Discovery Tour in 2 very different markets. This allowed us to see what is new and trending in the breakfast daypart. We then used the ideas and experiences we gained on the tour coupled with the knowledge of our business to develop our Brand Positioning statement. Using this, we updated our menu and several aspects of our operating model. As a result, our PPA has significantly increased, and our customer feedback is very positive. Ultimately, the entire process has helped to increase our focus and discipline in sticking to our values as we successfully grow our company.”
Jennifer Weishaupt, Proprietor, The Ruby Slipper
“In 2018 the Assiniboine Park Conservancy (APC) was looking to develop a restaurant concept based on the pillars of our new attraction, Canada’s Diversity Gardens (CDG.). APC awarded the expertise of Synergy Restaurant Consultants and Warren Ellish of Ellish Marketing Group. Warren and his team provided a strategic recommendation to maximize our business opportunity while reinforcing the mission of CDG, including concept and restaurant name.
The analysis began with an immersion in existing Park offerings, surveyed trends and voids in the local restaurant market through a discovery tour, followed by an in-depth brand positioning session.
Warren illustrated commitment to the project travelling several times to Winnipeg and exploring the culture of diverse restaurants in Winnipeg and Chicago, all the while presenting and collaborating marketing goals, philosophies and assessments.
Warren’s branding and marketing expertise was placed into action as he immersed himself in the culture of our City while observing the close association our citizens have with the Assiniboine Park and the appreciation of the importance of plants to daily life and wellbeing. He was inspired by our mission illustrating a brand for guests to explore the role plants have in shaping the life and identity of the community.
We developed a great partnership with Warren and admired his dedication to our restaurant concept. We appreciated his attention to detail, creative approach and we are excited to incorporate his vision.”
Bruce Keats, Chief Operating Officer, Assiniboine Park Conservancy
“We had a great experience working with Warren. We needed some strategic help around positioning, pricing and marketing. Warren worked with our team and the result was a shift in our thinking about who we really are and what we can offer to our clients. We started thinking bigger!!”
Michael Caito, CEO, Restaurants On The Run and former Global Chairman Entrepreneurs’ Organization
“When we were first setting up what would eventually become LookFar, I knew we needed professional help of the highest caliber. I had been lucky enough to attend one of Warren Ellish’s talks at the EO Global Leadership Conference in Chicago about a year earlier and it really resonated with me. I decided that since Warren was the best I’d ever heard speak on the subject of marketing and branding that I should reach out and see about working with him. That was 100% the right move. Warren, and then later his team, walked us through articulating the guiding principles that inform our Company’s every action to this day.
Our work with Warren was far beyond developing a name and a logo, even though those came out the best of any I’ve done in almost 30 years in business. We realized what we were trying to do and what LookFar would stand for. Years later, it is still amazing how on the mark we landed during our work with Warren. Truly the professional’s professional and an inspiration to me on how to communicate what you stand for and care about.”
Chris Reade, President & Founder, LookFar
“Warren hit the mark in helping us clarify our brand positioning. His experience and talents in bringing cross-functional teams together to generate the best and brightest ideas led to a successful outcome for our brand. He also inspired some creative and forward-thinking menu ideas that we are excited to incorporate.
Scott Norrick, President, Grand Traverse Pie
“We were tasked with developing a consumer facing marketing campaign to launch our new Bausch & Lomb Ultra Lenses brand including television and social media. Warren was with us every step of the way as we developed the marketing plan and tools required for a successful launch including brand positioning, key communication messaging and a research plan to test our materials. Warren also consulted on the agency search process, creative development and testing and director and casting selection. Throughout the entire process, Warren working seamlessly with our internal team and agency partners to ensure a breakthrough campaign. I am consistently looking for opportunities to engage Warren again.”
Guy Guglielmino, Vice President of Marketing – Vision Care, Bausch & Lomb
“Working together with Warren on a “first of it’s kind” project for Omelet was truly inspiring. His knowledge in this space helped us to feel comfortable in making the investment into the restaurant development business. He’s a great professional that takes the time to educate even the most opinionated clients . . . (like us). We look forward to putting many of his insights and tactics into practice.”
Ryan Fey, CO-Founder and Chief Brand Officer, Omelet
“I engaged Warren to run a process of helping VICORP Restaurants to establish a strategic marketing direction and, in connection with that, to execute a search process to identify and hire a new advertising agency. Warren’s knowledge of the industry (both agency and restaurant) enabled us to go through the process very efficiently–both in terms of the time to execute and in terms of identifying appropriate agencies and negotiating an appropriate contract. All of the constituencies at VICORP (the CEO, the head of marketing and myself) were very pleased with Warren’s knowledge base, his ability to assess relative strengths and weaknesses of the bidding firms, his attention to detail and his ability to deliver on a timeline.
Tony Carroll, former CFO, VICORP and current CFO at Palo Alto, Inc.
“I had the privilege to work with Warren Ellish on the food service brand refresh initiatives for my family’s business – The Sacramento 49er Travel Plaza and Silver Skillet Diner. Warren led the discovery phase, brand positioning and developed the brand concept book. His creativity and ability to understand our customer base quickly was admirable. Warren also developed our ingenious, unique and chosen brand descriptor. Warren’s overall kind and infectious demeanor was truly a pleasure to work with.”
Tristen Griffith, President, Sacramento 49er Travel Plaza
“Warren Ellish was easy to get along with, a precise listener and gifted at extracting creativity. He was very professional and focused in his conduct and this allowed for an extensive brand positioning session that was both timely and precise. This session brought our premature concept to life and brought out an enthusiasm in our team as we placed a name, a face, and a personality to our new restaurant brand. His brand positioning session and all other other involvement were very organized and detailed and flowed smoothly. The finished branding product was on spot! It has been a pleasure to work with Warren and your team as we look forward to opening our new restaurant concept.”
Kathleen Galy, Executive Director Asset Finance, ANSA Merchant Bank Limited and Partner 600 Degrees (Trinidad)
“I have used Ellish Marketing Group in many capacities for over ten years–both with an established and the launch of a new dental practice. I have always found Warren to be responsive, truthful and a pleasure to work with. His skills have been particularly effective in branding my business, even during tough economic times and with many new practices opening in my trade area. His direct mail marketing campaign continues to bring a constant flow of high quality patients through our door each month. Warren’s ideas are fresh and timely and he also ensures we stay current with social media marketing.”
Joseph P. O’Leary, D.D.S., Founder and Owner, Meadows Dental Group
“Arbor Dental Group used Ellish Marketing Group to develop and produce a unique direct mail program to solicit prospective patients. We have been using this program for over fourteen years with great success and have recouped our investment many times over. They have also helped us tremendously with our web marketing capabilities. When people search for anything related to our practice in our geographic area–Arbor comes up strong. We have been working with Ellish Marketing for 14 years now and will continue to use them for some time to come.”
Mark P. Kinard, D.D.S., P.C., Founder and Owner, Arbor Dental Group
“Warren knows marketing strategies, brings creative solutions and has solid resources for implementation. Ellish Marketing Group developed our great new website and the supporting SEO strategy. Warren gets the job done!! ”
John Shelford, Former President, Naturipe Farms
“Warren and his team at Ellish Marketing Group have helped us a great deal in formulating our winning marketing strategy. His team is also very much involved in the execution of the strategy. Thanks to his help we have grown 150% in the last 4 years!”
Stanislas Vilgrain, President and CEO, Cuisine Solutions, Inc.
“Warren is a class act. He’s a solid marketing professional who will operate as a dedicated member of your team. His work is excellent; his commitment to his clients is unmatched.”
Victoria Starr, Founder & President, Starr Map Company
“Warren is a true professional who has extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of the restaurant and hospitality marketing. He was instrumental in bringing our different product offerings to market in a very short duration.”
Tony Padam, President and CEO, Capture Code
“I loved working with Warren. He brought a combination of passion and professionalism I have rarely seen. I value his process and the output of his work with us has been eye-opening and fruitful. Thank you Warren.”
Jeff Buck, CEO, Quantisense