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Coastal Cowboy Brings the Turf to the Surf

Farm Food Drink SPOTLIGHT - True Coast Meats

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A self-made restaurateur, Dustin Riley’s formal training was in the trenches. From White Rock to Australia, and back to various BC ski resorts, he worked up the ranks learning from talented chefs, but particularly loved the front of the house.

Learning from the restaurant and resort life, what stood out for Dustin was that tourists always look for a great breakfast joint. Where they’ll try somewhere different for dinner each night, they will go to the breakfast place more than once.

That’s what he did with The Blue Room Bistro in Ucluelet (Ukee). Originally hired as a cook, he bought the restaurant and turned it into an all-day breakfast and lunch spot.

Dustin’s other focus is around serving great meat dishes. Most people going to the west coast of Vancouver Island are looking for fresh fish and seafood options. Dustin wanted to complement all that amazing seafood and provide an alternative choice for those who want to have another option, something a little hardier.

The Need to Pivot

Things were going great and then the pandemic hit. Tourism lockdown combined with restaurant restrictions sent Dustin’s business in the wrong revenue direction.

He took advantage of the Food Business Refresh program, funded by the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Western Economic Diversification, and Small Scale Food Processor Association, where he received support to develop a pivot plan.

That Refresh plan’s evolvement now includes a retail meat shop at the bistro location, and a complementary product line. Dustin engaged Farm Food Drink Inc. to lead the creative charge to develop brand and marketing approaches for his new vision.

The Project

A new retail venture plus a condiment product line needed strong brand and positioning to stand out in the market. Conducting an Environmental Scan, the Farm Food Drink Team was able to identify the target market (now and future), and where he would fit into the market place of Ucluelet and neighbouring Tofino.

Using that data, the Creative Marketing Team was called in.

The Creative

Dustin’s charismatic personality drove the creative process. While cooking at events like festivals and pig roasts, or just cruising through town, he donned a cowboy hat and boots. The Cowboy meets the wild west coast.

And, people recognize him for that bravado, especially in a region full of artists and surfers.

The creative process was truly collaborative, and mutually fun. Dustin had some initial ideas, and The Team helped to refine those. He had full trust and confidence that his needs were understood and that his vision would be captured.

Brand and Logos

Word play and naming influenced the overall brand, with spirited client input. The meat shop was named True Coast Meats. The product line starting with rubs, hot sauces, and jerky, took on the moniker of Coastal Cowboy.

  • As people look for quality meat for their own cooking, the shop needed to clearly define that it was a place you could buy meat.
  • Coastal Cowboy is a balanced alliteration – easy to say, paints a picture, and worthy of a whole product line.
  • Separate but synergized logos show a Vancouver Island sea scape image behind a silhouette of a cowboy holding a grill spatula.

Product Naming

Riding on the Coastal Cowboy theme, The Creative Team came up with some humourous product names for labels, leaning towards quirky not tacky. They are fun, memorable, and elevate the brand. Dustin is experimenting with many creative recipes that will follow the naming convention.

Shop Signage

To get some instant visibility and alignment with the bistro, a new True Coast Meats sign was created.

The Result

Brand execution is in full swing. The True Coast Meats shop opened May 16, 2021 with product in the fridges, and on the shelves with colourful new labels. The website is live and will eventually include an online store to get more exposure, and more sales opportunities into other markets.

Although in its infancy, Dustin has a talk-of-the-town concept with a strong, unique, and memorable brand to back it up. Their Facebook Page is already lighting up.

Ride tall in the saddle Coastal Cowboy!

Client Reaction

Dustin is excited to start living this brand. He loves to push boundaries with jokes and food, and True Coast Meats and Coastal Cowboy will fuel his creativity.

Rising from the pandemic dust, Dustin embraced the branding process as he gave creative license to his Farm Food Drink posse. He appreciated the honest, fun, and collaborative communication amongst the team and with himself, through the whole process.

“The brand is the cowboy’s story and the truth behind it,” explains Dustin. “I am proud to stand behind that.”

Watch out Ukee! You’re in for a wild ride.

If you have a new or renewing brand project on the rise, contact Farm Food Drink for a free consultation. 

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