Meet Max

My name is Max and I was found as a stray on July 12th in Scottsdale near McDonald and the 101. My foster mom was walking her older dog and I followed them home. I am praise motivated and am a 60 pound lap dog. My foster mom refers to me as her shadow because I never let her out of my sight! I love long walks and when it’s hot I have been known to roll in the water on the sidewalk to cool off. I also have a plastic kids pool which I enjoy everyday. I walk well on the leash and am getting better everyday. I am 100% potty trained and almost crate trained. I get along great with other dogs and kids.


I like rides in the car and behave at the vet.  I am not afraid at all!  I have an excellent temperament and this was also confirmed by the AAWL.  My foster mom will be sad to see me go but she is unable to keep me as she already has three dogs.

Max has a awesome personality and aims to please.  He is well behaved and responds immediately to verbal corrections.  He is a loving young dog looking for someone with time to continue teaching him new things and love him endlessly.  His forever home will be very lucky to have him and he will be greatly missed by his foster family.

Age:  18 mos
Weight:  60lbs
Good with kids and dogs, cats unknown but probably since he is easily trained.

If you are interested in Max, please contact Julie at 480.824.3397 or click here for more information.

Thank you so much to Cactus Canine for these wonderful photos of Max!

4 tips to increase profit with drink menus

  1. Define your liquor cost. Restaurants calculate  liquor costs many different ways – some include juices, garnishes, and Red Bull while others only account for beer, wine, and liquor. After you’ve defined what contributes to the cost of liquor, determine where you  make the most profit, and where you are losing money. A helpful tool is the BCG matrix.
  2. Educate your staff. Train your staff and give them the confidence they need to sell specialty drinks, wine, and beer. If your servers and bartenders can make a guest familiar with the taste of a new cocktail or type of wine, the guest will be more likely to venture out of their comfort zone and try something new. Your staff should be using the menu as a jumping – off point, and play off the descriptors in the menu. Remember, these descriptions should use words to paint a picture and engage the senses.
  3. Promote. Make it easy for guests to see what special drinks you offer. Instead of having a separate drink menu available upon request, use table tents and other visual aids to promote your money-makers. Force people to see your unique concoctions. If you are supporting a cause, create a specialty drink to create awareness and promote your brand. Ling and Louie’s in Scottsdale created a Second Base Cooler in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Along with a very cool t-shirt and menu this drink showed off their mad mixology skills, and shows how their very “not boring” brand uniquely supported a wonderful cause.

Another way to promote your yummy drinks is through social media. Post pictures, and see what people like and dislike. A photo of a happy hour margarita might just be what you need to get that extra business on Friday afternoons. You can also use social media to give guests a behind-the-scenes look into how drinks are made. Kai Restaurant at The Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa has a special section on their Facebook page: KAI-Tails – From our Mixoligist where they describe each new cocktail and how locally sourced ingredients creatively blend with choice spirits.

4. Placement and organization. “The menu is the heart of the restaurant. It embodies the restaurant’s demographics, concept, physical factors and personality,” (from this blog on menu design). Use your menu to create an experience with your guest before they even sip on your drinks. Incorporating tactile elements in menu design for a sensory appeal can help give guests a sense of the cocktails also.

Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?


Establish consistency with a brand handbook

A brand handbook is essential in establishing consistency within a brand. It is an internal document that conveys the company mission, vision, and visual standards. The following is a little bit more about the handbook:

What’s in it?

A brand handbook can contain various things. In general, it should have at least the following:

  • Cover
  • Table of contents
  • About the company
  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Values
  • Logo Usage – where and how the logo will be seen
  • Color specifications – Pantone, CMYK, RGB, Web Hex
  • Uses and Misuses of the logo
  • Typography – including font type, alignment, headers, sub-headers, etc.
  • Design Elements and/or variations of the logo
  • Publication examples
  • Contact information

Why is it important?

A brand handbook is important to have because it lays down rules for the elements that visually represent a brand. It is a resource for the ways in which a logo should and should not be used, what colors represent the brand, stock imagery that should be used in association with the brand, and what the company stands for.

The brand handbook also reflects the foundation and essence of a company. The brand handbook should serve as inspiration for not only marketing and design projects, but for strategic decisions about the growth and goals of the company.

Why standardization?

The elements in a brand handbook are important to standardize because these elements are the pillars supporting the brand. Standardizing the elements in a brand handbook ensures that their usage aligns with brand messaging, and that the brand is not diluted by inconsistencies. Logos, fonts, typeface, and layout are easy to distort, and if a brand doesn’t regulate the usage of these elements, the brand’s core message of  is harmed.

Establishing standards can also help reduce research and design time.  While still permitting certain creative liberties, standards ensure that messaging is consistent.

More on brand handbooks here and here

3 ways to choose a graphic designer and be happy





Ask your network

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get the information you need. Your friends, colleagues and business acquaintances will have recommendations for you, and will be honest about their experiences with graphic designers. Feel free to ask more in-depth questions, as this will help later when you are determining exactly what your expectations for your designer are.


When looking at a potential design firm’s portfolio, look beyond the work.  A few key questions:

  • What kind of clients are they working with?
  • Do they have experience in the type of design you need?
  • Do you need a graphic designer, or a web designer or programmer?

Ask another designer

Designers generally have a completely different network than most business owners. If you work with a website designer and you need a new logo, ask them for a recommendation. This is also a great option if you’re not positive about what you need – a designer will likely be able to pinpoint it.

Do you have more to add, including what has worked for you in the past? Let us know in the comments!

How typography influences menu design

In a previous post, we discussed a little bit about how typography can impact a menu, but we barely scratched the service on the influence it has on the restaurant brand experience.

A menu’s typeface, when put to correct use, can be the window into a restaurant’s kitchen, environment, and even its culture.  It can form the impression that keeps your guest entranced by your brand after they are greeted and seated, but before they taste the food you have to offer. While it may be tempting to get fancy and elaborate with fonts and typefaces, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, your guest must be able to read the items on your menu. This means that when choosing a font it is best to keep the lighting in the restaurant and the age of your customers in mind. You should also try to avoid clutter by spacing items and sections so guests can process what is on the menu. Everything associated with your specific restaurant brand should target your niche market and reflect its needs and tastes, including the readability of your menu.

There is some debate on the perception people have when they have trouble reading a menu. Some menu engineers say that the harder a menu is to read, the perceived value of the items increases, with some restaurants going so far as to hand out reading glasses to patrons, while others have seen a sales increase that coincides with better legibility.  Identifying your brand and target audience will help with choosing a specific theme for your typeface.  Keep in mind that if you do choose a hard-to-read font, you do not want to cross the line from “difficult and intriguing” to “impossible to see, I’m not coming back.”


Have you seen any menus that are hard to read and deterred you from returning? We’d love to hear about it!

Microsoft default typeface

When Microsoft changed its default typeface from Times New Roman (Word) and Arial (Powerpoint, Excel) to Calibri, you might have assumed that Microsoft decided it was time for something different. But in business, there is always a reason for change. In this case, the change reflects a culture shift. Do you print every e-mail you receive? Probably not. In our blog Font vs. Typeface, we discussed how sans serif typefaces increase readability on computer screens.

Calibri is a san serif typeface created specifically for Microsoft by Lucas de Groot. It is part of Microsoft’s ClearType technology. ClearType technology was created to “improve readability on LCD screens.” Because LCD screens are the status quo for computers, tablets, smart phones, netbooks, and notebooks, the shift to sans serif was the right choice.  Our culture thrives on mobility and adaptability, and Microsoft aimed to increase readability with the default typeface change.

Did you notice when Microsoft changed to Calibri?

The design of wine labels- uncorked

Not everyone is a wine expert, and sometimes we need a little help in choosing a bottle. Do we ask for help? Occasionally, but usually we just look at the label and find one that looks best, or sends a message we respond to.

Wineries are constantly looking for ways to stand out. Most people buying wine aren’t at a winery – they’re in a grocery or liquor store.  Selling a bottle before someone has tasted it is not easy. This places a lot of pressure on the wine label.  The design needs to grab the attention of the buyer, convey certain vital information about the wine (type, red or white, grape varietal, region of origin, surgeon general warning, health information, etc.), and tell a story that aligns with the experience the buyer is trying to create. The experience created arrives from sensory design, which is design that evokes an intuitive response by engaging one or more of the senses.

Modern wine labels are designed to stand out.  A perfect example is Fat Bastard, a wine from Southern France that uses its unique name and a sitting hippopotamus to play to the idea from their website that “most people bought a bottle because of the name and returned to buy cases because of the quality.” This technique has worked very well for Fat Bastard, which is now the best-selling French Chardonnay in the United States.

This doesn’t mean that all wineries should rename their wine and put an unexpected animal on the label.  The wine label must align with the brand and positioning of the producer.  The label may have a traditional French chateau, indicating the region where the grapes were harvested. Or it may have images of the family that created the wine, with the different generations of family members indicating the maturity and age.

Next time you’re choosing a bottle of wine, maybe you’ll notice that the label has a bit more influence on you than expected. Or have you already noticed? We’d love to hear about you favorite label!

Widows, orphans, and rags- Oh my!

Today we have a quick typography lesson regarding widows, orphans, and rags. Even if you’ve never heard these words associated with typography before, I’m sure you’ve seen them in your reading.

A widow is a single word or short line at the end of a paragraph.  Widows create too much white space in between paragraphs and break the reading pattern.

An orphan is one word or short line at the beginning of a paragraph.  Although less common than widows, they still affect readability.

A rag refers to the vertical margins of a paragraph or page.  Bad rags are uneven and irregular, whereas good rags are in line or have slight differences.

What other typography terms have you heard, but are unclear on their meanings? We’d love to know so we can post about those too!