Jeff Stottle of Foo’s Fabulous Café shares advice from their rebranding.
Everybody knows and loves Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard for its cool, creamy treats.
And that’s an unusual problem for Jeff Stottle, who owns and operates the Foo’s store at 9421 Mission Road in Leawood. His team has earned a reputation for exceptional custard, but they serve up a menu that also includes soups, sandwiches, pastries and more.
Unfortunately, not everybody knows that. Unless you already visit Foo’s, you might miss everything else they do.
So starting this month, just in time for its 10th anniversary, Stottle’s shop will be known as Foo’s Fabulous Café. The name change is part of a larger rebranding effort, one that will hopefully open Foo’s up to even more customers.
What’s in a Name?
There are two Foo’s stores in Kansas City. The original, located in Brookside, is owned by Betty Bremser. (Going forward, the original Foo’s will still be known as Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard.)
Years back, Bremser created a company to franchise Foo’s. When Stottle approached her about becoming a franchisee, not only did he open up the Leawood store, he also became a part owner of the franchisor, too.
His shop was designed to serve as a prototype for future Foo’s franchisees. Bremser and Stottle carried over the elements that make the original Foo’s so successful, including its fun, eclectic, family-friendly vibe.
To capture more business, the Leawood Foo’s started opening at 7 a.m. most days. The store sells chocolates, pastries and coffee from iconic local favorites like Le Monde Bakery, The Roasterie, Christopher Elbow and Oddly Correct. Over the lunch hour, you can order sandwiches, wraps or soup.
“I guess we just thought customers would come in and pick up that we do a lot more than frozen custard,” Stottle said.
Changing the name to “Café” signals that Foo’s has a wider menu. It also conveys the shop’s reputation for being a neighborhood hangout, a place where study groups, soccer teams and PTA leaders can get together. Its new tagline says that Foo’s is a place to “Plan, Enjoy and Celebrate Life.”
“They’ve taken ownership of the shop,” Stottle said. “It’s a really fun thing to watch.”
Why Over What
Stottle had been thinking about the rebrand since late last year and made it part of his official plan for 2016.
To prepare, he attended a branding workshop at the Enterprise Center in Johnson County. Grant Gooding of Proof Positioning led the session and asked questions that forced Stottle to focus on why customers choose Foo’s.
“Grant knew the answer,” Stottle said. “But he challenged me to stretch my brain and figure out the answer on my own.”
Stottle also hired Westwork Content + Design to rework Foo’s logo, website, signage and other design elements. That includes product shots of the shop’s food, which will be displayed on a new digital menu board.
Stottle has advice for other business owners thinking about a rebranding.
First, you’ll need to marshal your resources so you can do it right. “It’s not going to be inexpensive,” he said.
It’s also wise to seek opinions from a range of people—experts, customers, other business owners—and listen without responding. Keep an open mind about what they tell you, Stottle said.
And finally, try to focus less on what you do and more on why you’re actually in business, why people come to your space. Customers love Foo’s custard, and custard is core to the company, but people enjoy coming into the store because it’s a fun, family-friendly place to be.
“They’re here more for the why than the what,” Stottle said.