The Duke

The makings of the DUKE

Becoming the most sought out food truck

Follow the DUKE


The Duke

The Duke is a noble member of the royal family.  He is a multi-sensory experience, providing one-of-a-kind memories at any gathering.  And he so happens to be a 1974 French Citroen food truck.


Brand Challenge

How could we use branding to disrupt a widely saturated food truck market?  When they approached us, they weren’t offering a proprietary recipe, or a famous chef so we had to discover what their disruptive offering to the world.  We decided to approach the brand similarly to the way Disney implements their brand: “provide lasting memories”.

Brand Function

Pricing: High end price point

Reach: High end brands and premium events

Frequency: Easy and often means to sell

Trust: Small barrier and high loyalty



We exist to: connect fine dining experiences with fine dining folks: “Create a place to indulge the senses”


We do that through: creating a unique dining experience that combines a traditional motif with modern, delicious dessert concepts.


We’ve created: an “out of this era” food truck that takes the consumer on a voyage through time to taste and experience things outside their world.



Some of the obstacles we face are:

  • Compete for business (B:B) against other food trucks (And Caterers)


  • Consumers decision to spend calories + money on a “guilty pleasure”


  • Corporate planners caring for mass appeal (Gluten, caloric intake, accessibility)


How we counter their obstacles:

Position food truck as a truly “high end” experience

  1. Exclusive feel
  2. Finer things + Gourmet
  3. A “Have to have” experience


Focus on the positive of the consumer dining experience

  1. Taste > treadmill
  2. “Out of your world” experience in taste and ambience
  3. You deserve it


It’s a crowd pleaser; expressive of your company

  1. Unique company needs unique experience
  2. Employees feel loved; expense for them (High end)
  3. Not main dish, dessert (who cares about a few extra calories, it’s dessert)


Market the craft of a place over the dish – brand is positioned as a complete experience; with only a tasty dish, the experience is incomplete. Marketing efforts should aligned to the experience: ie take photos of every part of the experience, describe truck as holistic experience on the social and online channels, etc.



  • Name should be easy to recognize and spoken
  • Name can be trademarked
  • Web availability is not the highest priority, but preferred
  • Familiar but unique feeling
  • Old fashioned Europe with modern twist
  • Sounds 1950’s, european, (possibly) masculine
  • If foreign sounding, needs to easily be spelled
  • Not competing with too many other names (stands out)
  • Story-based name over empty vessel
  • Visually appealing combination of letters
  • One word name (ideally), less than 3 syllables


Name Storming

  • Mascot: Duke, Dutch, Bristol (Aircraft)
  • Foreign: Ciao, Ambrosia, Rondevous, Roux, Roué
  • Post War Era: Boomer, Bomber, Hoover
  • Time-Traveler: Voyage, Zeit
  • Sweet: Dulce, Kreple, Devour, indulce
  • Finer things: Decorum, Etique, Royale


  • Duke
  • Dutch
  • Boomer
  • Hoover
  • Kreple
  • Roux
  • Ciao

Verbal Systems


When talking about The Duke; make sure you personify him, make him human.

Use his regnal name in third person: The Duke may be pompous, but he’s never late

Substitute vocabulary: Use nobility and European verbiage – reign, honorable, march, superior, finesse, Bon Appetit, Chao

Use food Mantras to live by: “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” -Ernestine Ulmer “We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” -Anna Thomas



  • Fine noble eateries
  • Vintage Food Truck for hire
  • A Vintage and Noble Eatery
  • Sweet + Noble
  • A Noble Eatery
  • Tasteful experience for hire
  • European for Hire
  • Royal member for hire
  • An honorable craft
  • Taste the royal cuisine
  • A Taste of Vintage
  • A Finer taste
  • Noble cuisine

Visual systems

With the positioning complete, our next challenge was to translate those words into visuals.  We keep the same standards for the logo to keep consistency throughout every experience of the brand.

These images show how the logo iterated through stages:


6 months

Measuring brand results

It’s very difficult to measure viseral reaction and behavior change.

Emotional value can be understood by looking at deltas and correlation. Causation is almost impossible to define.  Three indicators that help measure a brand’s function are: Trust, Emotion, and Growth.

We asked the DUKE 6 months after launch how their results were.  Below are their amazing results:



Mantra question:

“What behaviors are associated with followers, employees, and customers – ie do they buy quickly, do they share to friends, do people want to work for the duke, do high end brands want the Duke?”


Duke response:

  • Followers-
    • People absolutely love the entire concept and the Duke’s personality.
    • The followers feel a connection to him and followers routinely comment that they love to see where he will go next.
    • A ton of people share with friends
    • Social media growth has been mostly organic and word of mouth


  • Employees- We have found employees easily through meeting them at an event… they basically ask to work for us!


  • High end brand partners (past event and future):
    • Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro- Bouchon’s Macaron truck
    • Concours D’Elegance Pebble Beach Car Show- Louis Roederer Champagne Truck (Cristal)
    • Quintessa Winery- Quintessa’s Illumination Sauvignon Blanc Truck
    • If Only – Rose Truck
    • Arizona Cocktail Week Feb 2016- We are partnering with a liquor brand will utilize The Duke over the 3 day event… we still haven’t solidified brand yet


  • Partners that we had to turn down due to our lack of availability:
    • Napa Valley Film Festival- YIKES! I am so sad I missed this
    • Somm 2 Movie Premier
    • Airbnb  Holiday Party


  • Price Point
    • Price point is the top obstacle as we are a very high end brand. There are less expensive options, however, nothing compares to the experience and service that The Duke truck will provide. You don’t need expensive things… but you want them… and he is worth it.



(Interactivity, engagement, participation)

  • Followers:
    • “Just seeing this truck makes me smile”
    • “Where has this been all my life”
    • “I want to have a party just to use The Duke”
    • “Brilliant”
    • “This is the coolest thing I have ever seen”
    • “Duke you are a tiger. Rawwwrrr”
    • Branding: I have been told by multiple people that the branding is amazing. They love the “Royal Member for Hire” and are intrigued to learn more about what we do.


  • Customers-
    • “The Duke was an amazing addition to our Bastille Day Event in Yountville. We will absolutely have the Duke there every year!”- Ross Melling, Chef De Cuisine, Bouchon Bistro
    • “Thank you for being part of such a magical night. We are so grateful.” – Monica Stevens, Chair of WinaPAWlooza charity event for JARR (Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch)
    • “I think we stepped into a Wes Anderson movie yesterday while being served by The DukeTruck. I am still not over our drive up Rose bar.” – If Only



  • Revenue growth months 6-11 (October 2015 – Feb 2016): vs Months 1-6 (April 2015-Sept 2015)-  37% growth in Sales


  • Average monthly revenue: Up 64%


  • Average revenue per event: Months 6-11 vs Months 1-6- Up 215% (we have become more selective)


  • Conversion rate of inquiries to sales has increased to 20%
    • Weddings are quick becoming a very important part of our business … we have had 8 inquiries for summer 2016 in the past 2 weeks- None of these are included in the revenue numbers
    • We anticipate even higher conversion rates with brides

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