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The Award Winning Bauer Kitchen Menu

Interview with Ryan Stockie, Senior Designer at The Charcoal Group of Restaurants and winner of the Design Miscellaneous - S eries from Applied Arts for The Bauer Kitchen menu redesign!

What inspired the design?

The Bauer restaurant now lives in what once was an old felt factory, so we wanted to replicate that feeling in our menus and give a nod to the past. Starting with that idea and getting the green light, we ran with it. Using industrial elements and items you would find in factories, I began to sample design elements like file folders, hole punches, stamps, and Avery labels to complete the vision. The menu itself resembles inventory sheets that you use in a factory with quantities labels, dates, paper clips, etc. Everything was done to reflect a factory environment within the contemporary menu design.

How were the colours selected?

The Bauer Kitchen gives off a naturally warm feeling with the wood, brick and industrial metal that makes up its interior. We wanted to select a colour palette that would contrast that. Drawing inspiration from the factory, I was inspired by transfer papers–separate colours for separate functionality. We ended up with a more muted palette with some strong colour elements. Using the soft greens, oranges, yellows and browns, to me, makes the design feel more worn and vintage.

How did you approach the idea? Where did you start?

Like this... With an idea and a sketch book.

How many variations of the menu did you go through before choosing the final version?

The process was long! I spent most of my time deciding the colours of each element. We probably had 20 different colour variations done up before deciding on what we have today.

Another aspect that took a long time was the holder. We wanted something sturdy that looked like a file folder. After the utility of an actual file folder was not going to work we switched to a more durable 30pt Styrene that is almost indestructible (please note, this is not a challenge)

What is your favourite aspect of the design?

I enjoy the subtle design elements: the overlays, watermarks, the stamps. These are the elements that you don't necessary notice the first time but when you come back to it, you notice and can appreciate.

What is the hardest thing to do when designing a menu?

The layout and functionality because you can have a pretty looking menu but it HAS to work. The information needs to be displayed properly and easily navigated by guests (which is why we chose to do tabs on the wine and cocktail lists).

You won the Design Miscellaneous award with Applied Arts! How does that feel?

It is a great feeling to be recognized for the work we do from a reputable award platform. Recognition is always nice because it is a great way for me to know that I am creating content that is admired by other designers on a national level.

Read more here: Design Miscellaneous - Series Winner

How have the reactions been?

Well, My grandma was super impressed and she wanted a copy of the magazine! That said, I don't think she had any idea what she was looking at! HAHA – I still think she thinks The Bauer Kitchen is the felt factory.

The Servers and Management Team were all on board. They were very happy with the new layouts and holders. So far no complaints, just a lot of oohs and ahhs!  

With the new design comes new menu items! Come into The Bauer Kitchen to try and experience! 


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