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pico bistro

PICO BISTRO is the US expansion of “bar do adão”. with 30+ years of history, the brazilian restaurant is the "top of mind" tradition of rio de janeiro when the subject is pastel - or, how we call it in the us, brazilian empanadas.


in 2017, the owners, romulo and gisele, decided to bring their lives and tradition to the US. 

after testing the waters driving around florida in a FOOD TRUCK for a few years, they came to ARA with a big challenge: 


develop a new brand positioning and philosophy, elevating the perception of the audience, adding refinement to their service, while uniting both american and brazilian cultures in the process, so they could open TWO new stores.  all of it, in the middle of the pandemics.

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after a thorough business and competition analysis, ARA presented a full rebranding strategy, proposing a new visual identity and a complete revamped online presence, while developing a new offline strategy for short and long term.


ARA worked closely with the partners throughout the process - from conceptual development to the final product - defining menu, decoration, seating layout; hiring and training team; creating the musical identity for the bistro; creating and executing new photo campaigns; bringing a clear storytelling narrative for the customers to consume on a daily basis.

“update the tradition!"

- they said

our brains were working overtime for this one. we had a lot of “naming” challenges. first, their main delicious (seriously, DELICIOUS) product, the “pastel”. we couldn't call it “pastel” for english speakers; no one wants to eat a color.


and for spanish speakers, pastel means “cake”. so we had to call it BRAZILIAN EMPANADAS, a term that was shyly used around but we helped popularize, going from 920.000 hits on Google in late 2020 to 1,010,000 in late 2021.

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photos by ton gomes

but harder than that was the name of their restaurant. romulo and giselle had tried their best, naming it “Ad40”, as a slick way to say adão (the 4 is like the “a” and the zero is the “o”), since the “ão” phonetic is something that doesn't exist in the english language.


but even then, we asked: how will you explain the meaning of that to a customer that asks why 40? what does the AD stands for? 

that was a tough one, but we were able to do our magic.

and thats how the foodtruck AD40 became PICO BISTRO and opened two new stores...

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PICO has many different meanings.


in portuguese, pico means “PEAK”; the highest place you can get. at rio de janeiro, "bar do adão" hometown, pico is slang for a cool place. and more than that: PICO DO PAPAGAIO is the name of a grajaú hill - the neighborhood in which their first restaurant was born, a place so important to them, they had a mountain drawn on their logo. 


for americans, being a consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel word, it's easy to pronounce. and, to top it all, in spanish, it means small bites of food, which is totally on point with what they already did.


the bistro was easy to add, since it's exactly what the owners wanted: to offer good affordable food, presented in an elegant way, in a small cozy ambiance.

once the two stores were open, our strategy continued...

after conceptualizing and delivering a new photo shoot, according to the new branding, ARA started working with a totally new aesthetics for the instagram page, combining it with the new copywriting strategy. plus, providing public relations (PR) services, working in partnership with local influencers and global celebrities. 

the result? 

in one year PICO BISTRO Instagram reached almost 5,000 followers, received over 50+ influential guests and it's reviewed 5 stars on google.

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