The Challenge

Simmer was tasked with a unique and complex situation. With one unit operating, and three more to be converted and renovated from their existing concepts, Sweetcatch needed a complete overhaul of the existing brand to compete in the highly competitive NYC poke market.

The business had been operating two units for years, but with a sudden change in ownership and closure of one, it was a crucial inflection point. The Sweetcatch team reached out to Simmer to assist - as fast as possible.

Our mission was to refresh the existing Sweetcatch brand, entice new guests, give past customers a reason to try it again, establish the brand as one with staying power, and prime it for expansion.

Our Approach

Before Simmer could start on interiors, branding and the core of Sweetcatch, we had to learn more about the poke market as a whole.

Simmer ran customer surveys, blind taste-tests, analytics on review sites and intensely looked at the competition. We came back armed with a comprehensive data set looking at both qualitative and quantitative points, and we then collectively decided on what was needed to create a lasting and successful brand in the NYC market - and beyond.


Qualitative Research
Category Insight
Menu & Beverage Development
Branding & Identity Development
Architecture & Interior Design
Packaging Design
Signage & Wayfinding
Hawaiian Photo Shoot
In-Studio Photo Shoots
Video Production
Marketing Strategy
Website Design
Reputation Management


If we’re opening a fast-casual poke spot, let’s start with the poke. That’s exactly what Simmer did... We got to ordering poke, putting dozens of NYC delivery people to work, and visiting as many competitors as possible.

With the food laid out, blind taste-tests commenced. We invited friends and neighbors in the office, and took detailed notes on a variety of factors. We walked away with a few simple takeaways for Sweetcatch and got to discussing them with the culinary team, ensuring these tweaks would be implemented into the new Sweetcatch brand we were about to build.


After multiple on-site tours, Simmer was ready to propose store floor plans, layouts and customer flows. In depth, we discussed multiple options for ordering and pick-up, and the layout we landed on for each unit ensured we were efficiently utilizing the space.

Plans were finalized, and Simmer’s design team went to work on maximizing the experience for the guests. Eye-catching, moving neon signs were installed at points of maximum visibility to ensure we would attract all the eyes possible from the street. Beautifully oversized drone photos of Hawaii (that our very talented photographer shot) and custom graphics and signage were all placed in various strategic positions, ensuring that every foot passing by caught a glimpse into the world of Sweetcatch.

The rewarding part here? Seeing guests waiting to order, snapping photos of the neon signs Simmer designed, tagging Sweetcatch Poke, and in-turn, telling all their hundreds of friends to come visit.

"The essence of Hawaii is captured in every detail of Sweetcatch’s branding. Even the poke bowl stickers are scratch n’ sniff to take you to Hawaii in one single breath."


In an intensely overcrowded NYC market, Simmer was tasked with making Sweetcatch memorable. Simmer went to work on ethos, tag lines, brand art direction, call outs and incorporated them in-store as well as on packaging and other branded touchpoints.

The most rewarding part for us? Walking down the street, blocks from the nearest Sweetcatch, and seeing our bags in the hands of guests. Those eye-catching, walking billboards are an incredible tool for funneling new guests - and not overlooking details is one reason why Simmer is the best team for executing a concept refresh.

"An expansive dreamscape of textures encapsulating a myriad of flavors." - Lukas E, Yelp Review

"We wanted to create an experience for guests...transporting them for that brief period of time to Hawaii."


With four stores successfully built out and operating, Simmer has shifted focus to the growth and marketing side of the partnership.

The future is bright for Sweetcatch, and we're happy to be along for the ride...

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