The agency was approached by Kitchen Concepts to create a home-grown, franchiseable café brand that would supplement its impressive portfolio of well-known restaurants.
Café Cuba was to act as a counterbalance to some of the more upmarket restaurants run by the hospitality group; a casual, vibrant brand represented by large al fresco spaces that have now become some of Malta’s most popular restaurant hotspots.
The brief was to create and manage an identity that would be recognisable enough to corner the market for Maltese bistro franchises, and robust enough to withstand the introduction of international players such as Costa Coffee, into the market.
Given a tight time frame to coincide with the launch of the café in Sliema, Steves&Co. went to work, creating an energetic brand aesthetic that focused on carefree, balmy Havana lifestyle, simplicity of approach and quality of delivery. Implementing the brand across the café’s large inventory required careful project management, attention to detail, and a close relationship with the client.
It became apparent early on in the project that the brand had the potential to occupy a large space in the Maltese restaurant scene, and to do so for a long time. This was something that was factored in when considering the importance of longevity and neutrality across the design. The brief had become an exercise of balance, balance between carrying through the energy of Cuba’s vibrant culture and ensuring the brand was strong enough and simple enough to endure the test of time.
There are now two major cafés in Malta that bear the Café Cuba brand, at prime locations across Sliema and St.Julian’s. The café has become a popular hangout for tourists and locals alike, either hoping to escape the midday sun and enjoy the cool, down to earth atmosphere, or to start their night with Salsa music, dancing and margaritas.
What sets the franchise apart is the way customers buy into the culture that we worked so hard to capture, and we’re proud to have made such a contribution to the landscape of the Maltese bistro-culture.