Ola Milky Lane launches new look and menu

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Ola Milky Lane chain of ice cream-themed restaurants has launched a new look together with a new menu featuring refreshed icons and photographs of dishes. The makeover started with Fourways, Montecasino and Eastgate restaurants in Johannesburg and Galleria Mall in KwaZulu-Natal and will be rolled out countrywide shortly.

Darren Sandras, brand operations director of Promise Brand Specialists, says that despite being a successful brand, the chain's look has become dated and tired. Ola Milky Lane's image was originally developed in 2003 following the acquisition and repositioning of the brand by Unilever.

As brand custodians, Promise Brand Specialists has been an integral part of the restaurant design team, partnering Ola Milky Lane's new brand team and working closely with designer Jo-Ann den Hoed of Josh Designs.

Sandras says the design team aimed to filter the tone and design of the new menu into the dcor, to tie in with what customers see, order and experience.

He says the icons and hero shots on the menu have proven popular and have done a "big selling job" for Ola Milky Lane. They reflect the carefree, fun lifestyle associated with the brand and its wider menu offering. This includes new donuts, savoury dishes and Java Heights Speciality Coffees.

The brand's core market was traditionally families. It now enjoys wider appeal, including teenagers and business people, who can plug in their laptops.

"The new store look needed to communicate the energy of the brand without being pretentious. The environment needed to be fun, lively and welcoming - a place to treat yourself and those for whom you care. Ola Milky Lane is about indulgence, although it is definitely not over-the-top," Sandras explains.

Den Hoed describes her role as taking the icons and graphics and giving Promise Brand Specialists the space within which to work. Icons have been taken through to new wallpaper design and lampshades. Hero shots have re-emerged on in-store posters, including those used to advertise promotions.

Attention-grabbing product images and the fun icons appear on new back lit display boards and counter fronts. Den Hoed says that because these are at entrances and form the business hub of outlets, especially take-aways, the design is aimed to give "as much light and life as possible" and a warmer appeal.

"Instead of completely remodelling Ola Milky Lane restaurants and kiosks, we decided to retain familiar objects to which customers could relate. We wanted to keep a familiar feel and then to use graphics to push the brand as much as possible," she adds.

Cheeky phrases now feature on walls and bulkheads above counters and furnishings range from bench seats to round tables and poufs to divide up the space and emphasise an interactive dining experience.

Bright colours have been retained, with white tiles replaced by beige tiles to minimise stark contrasts and modernise the restaurants.

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