A popular Erie restaurant has received a big promotional boost from Edinboro University’s Center for Branding and Strategic Communication.
Faculty and students at the center led Tandoori Hut and owner Dharma Gurung through a full rebranding that included development of a new logo and collateral branding materials as well as a revamp of social media platforms. The restaurant, which specializes in authentic Indian cuisine, has relocated to 2605 Washington Avenue after departing its former North Park Row location.
“We just felt the timing and situation were perfect for working with Dharma and Tandoori Hut,” said Dr. Tony Peyronel, executive director for Entrepreneurial Development at Edinboro University and director of the Center for Branding and Strategic Communication. “This is a successful business that was facing a unique challenge, and we were happy to help with their transition by providing a full rebrand.”
Several students in art professor Cass Reese’s Design Practicum class met with Gurung throughout the fall semester and ultimately developed a new logo, business cards and a redesigned menu that includes more than 100 different food items. Design students Katelyn Whitman, Hannah Florentine and Hannah Flynn – along with faculty member Scott Gladd – developed their logo design using a font that resembled Nepali writing and the authentic shape of a tandoor oven that is commonly used for cooking Indian cuisine.
Professor Chris Lantinen and student Julia Carden set up a new restaurant Facebook page and renamed and reestablished the restaurant’s Instagram page, also putting together several posts to get the social media accounts up and running. Tandoori Hut has quickly picked up more than 100 followers on each platform.
“Dharma is a history-making business owner within the Erie scene, as at one point she was the only female restaurant owner under 30 in the entire city,” said Lantinen, who serves as digital media coordinator at the center. “Personally, it was a joy to meet and work with her.”
Edinboro’s Center for Branding and Strategic Communication is part of the NWPA Innovation Beehive Network, which also includes Gannon University, Mercyhurst University, Penn State Behrend and the Erie County Public Library. Former beehive client Kristen Santiago, owner of Gone Local and Ivy + Atlas, helped connect the Tandoori Hut owner with the resources available through the NWPA Innovation Beehive Network, which provides free consulting services to entrepreneurs, small businesses and other organizations.
“Kristen was spot on in her assessment that Tandoori Hut would be an ideal client for us,” Peyronel said. “She is not only a successful small business owner and former client herself, but is also connected with many of the key partners and players who are working together to drive economic development efforts here in the Erie region. We are proud to be a small part of that.”