Four years have passed since Harry and Judy Kilmer bought the Old Kettle Saloon in Wabash, Indiana. Now, due to a $500,000 Main Street makeover (part of Deluxe’s Small Business Revolution) the couple is following their dream: Adding kitchen facilities so accomplished Chef Harry can cook up and serve all his favorite recipes.
Harry has been cooking from scratch since age eight. As a younger man he dabbled in insurance sales and factory work before turning back to the culinary world, ultimately earning the head chef role at the nearby Honeywell Center. He and Judy bought “The Kettle” in 2012 with an eye toward incorporating a full-fledged eatery showcasing Harry’s cooking skills.
Over the past several years the Kilmers have continued to build the bar’s friendly, comfortable atmosphere beloved by generations of Wabash-ians, gradually funneling profits into modern kitchen equipment along the way. They recently pivoted from a bar to a restaurant, and are now enacting the multi-channel marketing strategy. The goal? To generate excitement among loyal long-term clientele while simultaneously showcasing the gastropub’s charms to out-of-towners.
The building of a brand
The process with Deluxe went like this: After meeting with the Kilmers to learn more about The Kettle’s legacy, the Deluxe team identified three concepts key to the pub’s longtime brand — its rich local history, atmosphere of fun and reputation for great craft beer.
Then the team incorporated those elements into a new logo that would be the centerpiece of the brand. Within five days, several different logo concepts were developed using Harry’s iconic color palette and kettle icon, with a new slant focused on Harry’s role as head chef. Eleven different font formats and a new style guide were given to the Kilmers, as well as new print materials developed to show off the new designs.
Later, in crafting Harry’s new mobile-friendly website, the team opted to convey online the same atmosphere experienced when stepping into the actual pub. It also ensured the story of Harry’s was immediately apparent to site visitors, and that all information about the restaurant was easily accessible. This is part of the marketing mix restaurant owners need.
Further Deluxe efforts involved maximizing the places Harry’s listed their restaurant online through popular directories, apps and search engine listings. In one measure of success, Harry’s Yelp traffic increased 471 percent over the last year.
Branded materials take customer awareness to new heights
Also thanks to Deluxe, the eatery’s new name — Harry’s Old Kettle Pub & Grill — has been creatively incorporated into the company’s new website, menu and myriad fun collateral including coasters, bags and take-out boxes.
“So many people are excited about the food,” says Harry. “To have Deluxe come in and help us do this just doesn’t even seem real.”
Hard work pays off
This fall, for the first time in 50 years, the establishment served food hand-crafted by Harry himself. That’s been a life-changer for the Kilmers who, after years of working late nights and holding down two jobs each, are more than ready to live out their dream. Harry’s Old Kettle Pub & Grill isn’t just another eatery; it’s an establishment that has stood the test of time, defied industry odds and now stands as a community gathering place for generations to come. A reviewer on Yelp recently referred to it as “A legendary bar… a great place to meet up with friends, watch sports, play pool or hang out. The stories and history of this establishment are endless.”