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Case study

Big Al's was established in the 1970's as food outlet selling Italian sub style, sandwiches and burgers. It’s popularity led to it becoming a Newcastle icon. In the mid 2000’s it closed its doors. In 2018 two local entrepreneurs bought the Big Al’s brand with the idea relaunch the business as a food truck that would travel to different locations each week so locals could rekindle their love for Big Al’s.

Headjam was engaged to develop the brand, design and build the website and devise a launch campaign that captured the nostalgia locals had for the brand, but make it relevant for today’s consumer.

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Big Al's was established in the 1970's and closed in the mid 2000's. It sold sandwiches (Italian sub style) and burgers and became a Newcastle icon that has a lot of nostalgia attached to it locally from peoples childhood and teenage years.

The Big Al's Brand was purchased by two young and successful entrepreneurs; Tristan Harris, Welsh Blacks Café and Aaron Van de Stadt, El Poco Loco, Mexican food truck. They were both in the process of selling and stepping away from the above businesses they founded to go on a new adventure together in developing the Big Al’s Brand within Newcastle once more.

Big Al's had a following, but more importantly it had a social media presence, that the new Big Al’s team had access and control over. The Facebook account alone had close to 4k likes.

The business was re launching as a food truck that would travel throughout Newcastle's outer suburbs setting up at different locations each week to avoid the over saturated CBD market. They planned to collaborate with local pubs, that had a limited or no food offering, markets and events to offer the Big Al's experience where the customers were located.

The short term goal was to set an industry benchmark for quality and service within the fast food industry. With the long term goal to have multiple trucks and potentially brick and mortar locations in five years.

Big Al’s competitors included; Rascal, Newy Burger Co, Bao Brothers, Grill’d, Harry's Café De Wheels and Guzman and Gomez.


Re introduce and re launch Big Al's into the local market place with a bang.

Target Audience

50+ - Pub and market customers who are looking for something more 'premium' from their fast food truck experience.

30-50yrs - Nostalgia of having tasted Big Al's previously.

16-25yrs - Experiencing Big Al's for the first time but heard about the excitement associated with the Brand.

Consumer Proposition

Premium fast food.

Desired Consumer Response

BigAl’s food is YUMMMMMEEEEEE!

Creative Solution

We felt the weight of nostalgia surrounding Big Al’s brand during the concept and design process, but rather than run away from the nostalgia we decided to re-engineer it, by focusing on the experience and contemporary vibe of the food truck.

The original Big Al’s logo incorporated a portrait of Chicago gangster Al Capone. We felt for today’s consumer Al Capone had less relevance than in the 1970’s so developed a typographical face that graphically captured a playful energy, whilst still feeling polished and professional.

For the brand’s colour palette we chose bold colours reminiscent of the Al Capone Chicago gangster period, in honour of the brand’s heritage. We also utilised photographs and menu item names that captured the gangster themes from the original Big Al’s.

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Our design direction payed homage to the nostalgia attached to the Big Al’s brand from people’s childhood and teenage years.
Mike PrestonECD
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