For this study, I will be analyzing a restaurant located in Culpeper, Virginia called Grass Rootes.
Facebook Page– https://www.facebook.com/GrassRootes/
Identity Strategies illustrated on Grass Rootes website:
- Association- Within their website, this restaurant immediately associates themselves with positive values and traits, such as “serving incredible farm-to-table cuisine” which makes their guests “feel at home,” setting a comfortable, amiable feel, which is what all customers look for in their dining experience. Additionally, this organization’s website is sure to associate its owner with a positive, professional identity, noting his experience in the food industry and even his restaurant-associated experiences through travel opportunities.
- Differentiation- On their website, this organization sets themselves apart from other local restaurants by emphasizing their farm-to-table cuisine, the buildings historic background, and even the diversity within the owner and head chef. Additionally, this restaurant adds a lot of emphasis on their bar and overall cocktails, which a lot of Culpeper restaurants seem to lack.
- Branding- While this organization does not have a set logo, other than the yellow, cursive font that is portrayed within the restaurant, this organization repetitively utilizes the brick pattern of their facility and iron signs, such as the one shown above, to portray their roots in Culpeper and the overall history associated with their organization.
By utilizing these three strategies within their rhetoric, Grass Rootes portays a sense of care for the history that runs through Culpeper County while bringing a local, laid-back atmosphere to their audience. Additionally, these strategies aid in the creation of the raw, organic, traits the organization attempts to associate themselves (and their food) with.
Identity Creation and Maintenance- While a lot is portrayed through their website, a lot can be shown through Grass Rootes Facebook page as well. While this source does not prove to be the most reliable in terms of their “services” and overall, what the restaurant has to offer compared to others, their Facebook page aids in identity creation and maintenance through their use of weekly postings about seasonal cocktails and live music. However, I feel that it would be extremely beneficial for the organization’s identity maintenance to post more about their farm-to-table cuisine, the benefits that this type of service brings to the community, etcetera. Lastly, there are a few components, such as unexplained pictures and comments throughout Grass Rootes Facebook page that would likely be better off unassociated with the page.
Ultimately, the goal of Grass Rootes appears to be closely related to their nightlife and bar scene. However, I feel that this restaurant should include more content that discusses their food sources and options to better explain/clarify their expensive prices in comparison to other local restaurants who might not be as pricey. Additionally, because this business wants to focus more on their bar and cocktails, it might be beneficial to have weekly or monthly drink specials, or if they already do, to post those specials. With that in mind, Grass Rootes could have drink specials or discounts for given individuals/groups, such as military, school or nursing staff, etcetera to better appeal to the community.
Key Elements of the Rhetorical Situation
Grass Rootes is faced with numerous opportunities for their organization to overall become more involved with their local community while enhancing their business altogether. Being one of the first farm-to-table restaurants in Culpeper while also attempting to form a reputable bar scene (which Culpeper also lacks), this organization certainly has some opportunity to enhance and further publicize their services.
On the other hand, this organization also faces some challenges, such as being faced with criticism from older populations in Culpeper who might be opposed to a historic downtown restaurant pushing for nightlife. With that in mind, Grass Rootes chiefly focuses their rhetoric around younger populations in the 21-40 age range. To keep their business functioning day-to-day, this organization targets their functional audience, which largely includes local customers.
Identity-Building Rhetoric or Identity Maintenance Rhetoric? Or both?
Being a Culpeper local myself, I feel that this organization could use both identity-building rhetoric and identity maintenance rhetoric. While this organization’s rhetoric hints at a few of the strategies, they still lack in appealing to social values, portraying their involvement within the community, and/or distinctly differentiating themselves from others with their unique services. Additionally, Grass Rootes rhetoric, especially that presented on their Facebook page, lacks clarity and could ultimately be improved to better suit their main audience while also reaching out and gaining the interest of those who might not be an immediate follower.