Udi Bar-on on selling his brand for $125 million and how you can win the name game

udifamily.jpg
Andrew Chapman
From left to right: Etai Bar-on, Uid Bar-on and Robin Bar-on.

UPDATE: Udi's has chosen not one, but three names -- Etai's, Izzio, and Silvi's -- which is will split between its bakery, restaurant, and catering businesses.

"The support for all three finalists prompted us to alter our plans to take one new company name," explains Etai, CEO of the Baron Group. Instead, he says, "We were inspired to zig when we originally planned to zag, so we adopted all three fan favorites: Izzio, Etai's and Silvi's, and we chose those three finalists based on relevance to the brand and the family's heritage."

Udi Bar-on
Udi's

This is part one of my conversation with Udi Bar-on, founder of Udi's. Tune it tomorrow to read part two of our interview.

In 1994, when Udi Bar-on, who today lays claim to eleven eponymous local restaurants and cafes, a catering company and Colorado's largest artisan bakery, first opened a long-gone dessert shop in the former Northglenn Mall, no one could have predicted that an unexpected leap into gluten-free bakery products would have made him a millionaire. But in 2012, that's exactly what happened: Bar-on, his son, Etai, and daughter Robin, the chef of all the Udi's restaurants and cafes, sold Udi's Foods to Smart Balance -- now Boulder Brands -- for $125 million. And while the iconic Udi's name is one of the most recognizable brands in the Colorado culinary community, one of the stipulations of the mammoth sale was that the family would rebrand its company and dispense with the Udi's name - and they'd need to do it by July of this year. "Now that the life cycle of the gluten-free business is complete, we have an incredible opportunity to use those resources to support the seemingly infinite number of opportunities that lay ahead for our company, soon to be known by another name," says Udi.

See also: First look: Udi's Cafe, Pizza and Bar opens in Glendale's City Set Project

And while the Bar-on family, which also includes Udi's wife, Fern, and Etai's wife, Darcey, could have done the renaming themselves, they're stepping aside to give the community the opportunity to create a new name that best represents the next chapter for the company. And that company has big plans, including installing new oven technology in its 30,000-square-foot Louisville-based bakery, to "make it an artisan, world-class bakery that goes back to our roots - our original dream of selling bread to customers," Etai explains. "We're putting money on the table that we can evolve to the next level by having one of the best bread bakeries in the country."

But before that comes to fruition, there's the name game. Starting on Wednesday, January 15, the public will have the chance to submit its suggestions for Udi's new name by visiting renameudis.com, where they'll find an entry form, along with the option to upload videos, share images and keystroke a short (and convincing) plug that gives your name a reason to stand above the fray. The contest will run through February 10, and once the Bar-on family has settled on their three favorites, they'll turn the final vote over to civilians, who will ultimately choose the winning name. "Udi's Foods was created with family and community in mind, and putting control in the hands of our fans is a natural extension of our brand," says Etai.

And there's plenty of incentive to exercise your creativity, since prizes will be awarded to the top three finalists: Grand prize is a twenty-person party at any Udi's cafe or restaurant, worth up to $1,000; the second-place prize is a $300 gift certificate, and the third-place prize a $150 certificate.

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31 comments
Sterling Meeks
Sterling Meeks

A repetitive butthurt reply. Just kill yourself.

Nire Levy
Nire Levy

Sarah, I do however give them props for such an accomplishment

Udi's Restaurants
Udi's Restaurants

This is a good one! Why don't you enter this name @ www.renameudis.com and win $1,000 celebration party with your friends!

Sarah Ewalt
Sarah Ewalt

And less than that comes out of their pocket – $1000 restaurant tab to the winner, but the cost to Udi's for $1000 before the markups on everything would be less than the $1k..

John Scruggs
John Scruggs

Why are standing on a train track? Makes you look like you're expecting a wreck.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Lola Granola's Gluten-free Goodies ...


hth.

Nire Levy
Nire Levy

Selling for $125 million is very nice... But giving a prize valued at a Whopping $1000.00 for re-naming? P..lease.

umorera
umorera

NEGRINI not Negroni!

Rick Harshman
Rick Harshman

Well deserved. .love me some old town Arvada Udis.

doodahman
doodahman

Let me get this right.  Man gets 1.25 million for his trademark and offers the public to save him at least $7,000 in ad agency costs, and  gives a $1,000. lunch in a sandwich shop/pizzeria as a reward?

tony514
tony514

yuppy durps granola party

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

I like that. It's very reverential and kind of brings the past and present together.

PS Wait - did you mean you thought that should be the new name, or were you just paying him a compliment? :)

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@doodahman ... no, he got $125 MILLION [ $125,000,000.00 ]... not $1.25 M


He should at least have offered a measly $10k for the re-branding prize.



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