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'Cookhouse & Pub' from Whitbread : Case Study

Cookhouse branding by Bonfire

Whitbread, the UK’s largest hotel, restaurant and coffee shop operator, appointed Bonfire to create the branding for its newest pub restaurant offering Cookhouse & Pub.


When Whitbread identified growth potential in the current casual dining market for a quality, contemporary and great value restaurant pub chain it turned to Bonfire to create the brand identity and collateral for the first site launches. Cookhouse & Pub is an exciting new concept that aims to re-invent the pub dining experience, delivering the quality food and service of an informal, all-day casual restaurant, with the relaxed vibe and affordability of a pub.

Whitbread had researched and selected the name, so Bonfire set about researching the casual dining landscape to get a greater picture of this highly competitive market. The new brand had to be contemporary, inclusive and fresh, and needed to stand out in a saturated environment. It needed to communicate a distinctive feel from the outside of the restaurant and across numerous touchpoints both inside the restaurant and digitally. Our pitch-winning concept was to build a visual brand world around the idea of “togetherness” and reflect the pub restaurant’s open and inviting environment where customers can create and share great memorable moments.

The identity itself is the epitome of togetherness: the design concept is based around creating a unique, ownable ampersand from letters ‘C’ and ‘P’ of Cookhouse and Pub. The identity has a handcrafted feel, with a complementary block-printed style typeface in simple, warm grey colours and this natural and relaxed approach inspired the rest of the branding style, featuring hand-drawn illustrations on a paper background of natural pairings such as a knife & fork, bottle & glass and steak & chips.

The brand uses a fresh palette of colours including teal, mushroom and off white, with accents of ochre yellow and amber, along with natural materials, to give assets and interiors a contemporary feel.


The complete Cookhouse & Pub brand identity was delivered by Bonfire along with launch collateral for the first site opening, which included a full menu suite, point of sale, signage and interior graphics. Alongside the Whitbread marketing team, Bonfire has written and designed brand guidelines for Cookhouse & Pub so that future openings and roll-out are consistent in delivery. Bonfire worked closely alongside Whitbread’s other agencies to bring the new brand to life across social, digital and ATL advertising, as well as the interior designs on the environment.

In month one, Cookhouse & Pub was Oldbury’s joint number one rated restaurant on TripAdvisor and the chain now comprises eight restaurants across the UK. The brand has also won the “New Pub & Restaurant Concept” category at this year’s Menu Innovation and Development Awards.

We continue to design and produce materials for the pub restaurant chain and we’ve been bringing the brand to life across a multitude of consumer touch-points both in and out of the venues. As the chain takes on board learnings and customer feedback from the sites already open, the brand look and feel has been evolving. We’ve refreshed the menu suite to reflect new and updated dishes, created new collateral for major promotions around key calendar moments such as Mother’s and Father’s Day, and designed point-of-sale material to advertise the new menus.

Stephen Judge, founder & strategic development director, Bonfire Creative Intelligence

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