By Melissa Donovan
In 2012, Digital Output reported on Hingham, MA-based eatery Wahlburgers. We recapped the October 2011 launch of the gourmet burger restaurant owned by the notable Wahlberg family and headed by executive chef Paul Wahlberg.
The décor throughout Wahlburgers utilizes digitally printed applications, from a signature wall mural detailing the company’s mission statement on Photo Tex Group, Inc.’s original Photo Tex media to Kernow Coatings’ Tacklite polyester film used for the menus.
Fast forward and Wahlburgers is expanding. A second location in Lynnfield, MA had its grand opening in June 2015 and franchise locations on Coney Island, NY and near Boston, MA’s Fenway Park and Logan International Airport are in different phases.
The same graphics team that worked on the wallcovering and menu boards for the Hingham-based Wahlburgers continues its relationship with the family-oriented company and designed, printed, and installed graphics for these new locations as well.
Second Time Around
Norwell, MA-based Image Resolutions, owned by Bill and Phyllis Wenzel, were kept abreast of plans for a second location and knew that their print shop would be graphics central. While certain graphic elements would be repeated, there was also opportunity to create even more artwork than before.
In May 2015, with major construction finishing up at the Lynnfield location, the Wenzels were given access to the final plans and visited the site with Lisa Corrado, creative director, Wahlburgers.
“We walked through the unfinished restaurant and quoted the different walls where signage would go, sizes we would need, number of pieces, etc. A lot of different ideas were batted back and forth,” explains Bill Wenzel, owner, Image Resolutions. “Between the management and architect, they really were collaborative, asking us what we thought should be done and heeding our suggestions.”
With a base to build on from the previous location, the Wahlbergs wanted to continue the signature green wallcovering with the company’s mission statement. Besides that, it seemed there was a clean slate when it came to advancing the graphics from the original restaurant.
The theme that Wenzel says they were adamant to convey was, “Wahlburgers is a family restaurant.” While the Hingham Wahlburgers had a graphic each of Donnie and Mark Wahlberg, Sousa Design Architects, Inc. and the Wahlburgers corporate team decided to enhance the family’s presence even more in Lynnfield.
The collaborative ideas came to fruition in the form of large graphics in a number of different dimensions—some 5×10 and 4×8 feet—placed on various walls around the restaurant, many of which are framed to add a level of homey-ness. For example, a 58×104-inch image depicts the Wahlberg brothers and their mother, Alma. Additional images include the boys at various stages of their childhoods.
Another new and notable graphic is a map of the world and one of the U.S., both of which allow visitors to stick stars on the locations of their homes, showcasing where customers are traveling from. A second graphic was created to serve as a backdrop for the merchandise wall.
Ready to Serve
Based on the size of the graphics, Wenzel knew he didn’t want to traditionally frame them with glass serving as the primary mode of protection—the added weight would be a liability. In response, he turned to his media supplier, DP Media Solutions, who suggested Kernow Coatings’ HydroSol Satin Lightblock film.
Once printed, the media provides a high level of scratch resistance—ideal for the type of environment the graphics are placed in. “It is an interesting material, while it’s not really designed for portrait photographs, it features such a nice surface finish and it works well for us,” explains Wenzel.
For the larger graphics, Wenzel printed on the 7-mil version of HydroSol Satin Lightblock and then mounted it on 3A Composites USA’s Dibond. The 15-mil version of HydroSol Satin Lightblock was also used for featured menu items. Velcro was then placed on the back to enable easy change out by employees.
It was the physical dimensions of some of the larger graphics that challenged the Image Resolutions team. The company works in a relatively small space—3,000 square feet—and handling big graphic panels required two or three people to maneuver the media.
Printed with solvent ink on its 64-inch Epson Stylus Pro GS6000, Wenzel says he would place a full 100-foot roll onto the printer at a time and it would be completely used up. The total square footage of media used for the Lynnfield project was roughly 500 square feet.
To keep up with the vast amount of graphics quickly running through the printer, Wenzel invested in a BBC Industries, Inc. Digi-Dri portable infrared dryer. The dryer is placed in front of the Epson Stylus Pro GS6000 and as the graphic comes off the printer, the Digi-Dri cures the ink before it is wound on the take-up spool. “This ensures there are no issues and it keeps things moving. It really changed the way we work—you can queue up jobs and just let them print,” says Wenzel.
The timeframe was short, due to the newer graphics and debating what else was needed to enhance the restaurant. Discussions began about two weeks before actual delivery of the product for the beginning of June. Wenzel explains that around six more panels were requested after the soft opening mid-June and required to be printed and installed a week later for the official grand opening.
Install was handled by various tradesmen depending on the application. For the mission statement, printed with an Epson Stylus Pro 11880 on Photo Tex’s newest material—Photo Tex EX and sprayed with a finish to protect from abrasions, ClearShield Wall Armor from Marabu North America—Wenzel brought in a professional installer that he works with regularly.
The larger graphics that required frames were given to the architect and construction workers installed each piece in their respective location using drills. Small graphics, like the menu boards, Wenzel and Corrado worked to install together.
There is no rest for Image Resolutions. While printing the graphics for Lynnfield, it was also ramping up production for work on Coney Island, where a franchise of Wahlburgers is located—this one with two floors and a roof deck.
There are plans to open a location next to Fenway Park and Logan International Airport. Graphics will be similar to the Lynnfield location, but due to every building varying in architecture, Wenzel believes dimensions will differ.
“Between every location, you know you are in a Wahlburgers, but each is completely different. None of the management requires the space to be a cookie cutter template of the one before. The art is different and sized appropriately to the building,” he shares.
With that in mind, the plan is to streamline working with each separate restaurant site in the future. “As it grows, I see us buying something like a PVC tube with a latch and each location will have its own. When I send a graphic to them, it will include a return shipping label and they will just ship their tube back to reuse,” explains Wenzel.
Member of the Family
Image Resolutions continues to benefit from its connections with the Wahlbergs—supplied work on a regular basis and experimenting with some of the newest media options available to print providers.
Wenzel admires his client. “The Wahlburgers corporation is very much like a family and they don’t treat you like a vendor but as a member of that family. It makes you want to perform at a level above and beyond.”
Sep2015, Digital Output