Graphic Design Grad is Chief Brand Officer for Love Serve Remember Restaurant Group
We recently caught up with FIDM Grad, C. Brennan Woo, who is the Chief Brand Officer for the Love Serve Remember restaurant group, which includes Café Gratitude, Gratitude, and Gracias Madre.
Where were you born and raised? Santa Rosa, California
How did you first hear about FIDM? I first heard about FIDM from my sister, who graduated in 2010 with a degree in Beauty Marketing & Product Development. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do after graduating high school, so after a year or so of working I decided to enter FIDM’s National Scholarship Competition. I ended up winning for a handmade collage campaign I created for a hypothetical Levi’s event, receiving a year of fully paid tuition. Before I knew it, I was a student again, and started my FIDM education at the San Francisco campus in 2010.
What was your FIDM major? I majored in Graphic Design. I did my first year at the campus in San Francisco and then moved to Los Angeles for my second year where I continued the Graphic Design major with an emphasis on the Entertainment Industry.
When did you graduate? Did you work while in school or upon graduation? I graduated in 2012 with an AA in Graphic Design. I worked as a bartender/server at The Plant Café Organic in the San Francisco Marina during my first year of school at that campus. I moved to LA for my second year of school where I got a job as a host at Café Gratitude, which had just opened its first Southern California location on Larchmont Boulevard in Hancock Park.
How did you get involved with Love Serve Remember (Café Gratitude, Gratitude & Gracias Madre)? I got involved with the Love Serve Remember restaurant group purely by chance. I was in the process of moving to Los Angeles from San Francisco in 2011 and was desperately trying to lock a full time job down before moving. Making sure I had a job lined up before moving was very important to me, so I somehow got the cellphone number of the General Manager at Café Gratitude and was able to pretty much talk him into hiring me over the phone.
I hosted for a while, then began bartending, and was soon promoted to management, which was a blast and one of the best learning experiences of my life. While managing, I noticed that no one was spearheading design jobs for the restaurant: retail labels, signage, menu updates, back of house plating guides, etc. I took it upon myself to create a system for getting these updates and designs in place. Around this time, Gracias Madre was in the process of opening in West Hollywood, so I decided to jump in and work with Chef Chandra Gilbert on getting their menus and plating guides ready as well. Before I knew it, my workload had increased exponentially- all while I was still managing at Café Gratitude Larchmont. I realized that I was not fully able to commit to managing and the design work, so I called a meeting with the CEO at our and created a full-time position for myself as Chief Brand Officer.
Tell us about your role as the Chief Branding Officer. What are your day-to-day responsibilities? Today I designed custom menus for a private dinner we’re hosting for Barry’s Bootcamp, had a meeting with a new restaurant delivery app we’re partnering with called DoorDash, and scheduled comped influencer dinners at our newest location in Beverly Hills. Yesterday, I was at a photoshoot for a collaboration Gracias Madre is doing with Kat Von D. Beauty and made adjustments to our new winter menu at Café Gratitude with our Executive Chef. Tomorrow we have a food tasting for the new winter menu, and I’ll start working on key art for our New Year’s Cleanse promo in January. I get pulled in different directions day to day, but design, social media, and content creation are always on my plate.
What do you enjoy most about your position and why? I get to be creative every day. It’s amazing. I have a lot of creative freedom which is incredible. I am also consistently learning. Whether it be how to manage my time more efficiently or how to get higher engagement on an Instagram post, I am always learning something new. I never want to stop learning.
What advice would you give someone who wants to work in your field? Work. Get a job and work during your time in school. Don’t have to work? Work anyways. If you can, work in the service industry. It teaches you humility, patience, teamwork, empathy, time management, and communication. Pay attention in your Pre-Press class. I thought that somehow that class didn’t apply to me, and I was so wrong. Now, I am in communication with my printer more than anyone else I know, but it took a lot of trial and error that could have easily been avoided if I had just paid attention in that class.
Make sure your social media is cleaned up. You better believe I’m looking at your social media profiles before I even finish reading your resume. You should present yourself online the same way you would present yourself to your boss. And have a cute, clean, polished resume. Word docs are not cute.
How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? FIDM helped refine and strengthen my craft, primarily in the Photoshop department. Art Babayan taught a Photoshop class in my second year that changed the way I used Photoshop entirely. It was absolutely incredible. Time management, effective communication, and the ability to constructively give and receive a critique were also amazing side effects from my time at FIDM. And the Art History classes I took at the San Francisco campus with instructor Denise Lederman were truly profound and opened my eyes to so many sources of inspiration. I will never forget her classes, and still seek inspiration from things I learned in those classes today.
Learn more at cbrennanwoo.com or @cbrennanwoo.