(Est. 1899) “Yoshinoya is a Japanese fast food chain, and the largest chain of gyūdon (beef bowl) restaurants. The chain was established in Japan in 1899. Its motto is “Tasty, low-priced, and quick”. It has its headquarters in Kita, Tokyo.” It has over 1,500 restaurants across Japan, and 106 locations in California.
Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv (New York, NY)
Rather than simplifying the existing logo, which contained many elements that were irrelevant or incomprehensible to American audiences, we focused on the distinctive lettering style of the name, extracted the recognizable Y, and set it in a bowl shape. This revised visual identity now works effectively in all applications, from signs to app icons. The new lettermark, in the Yoshinoya Orange, will be adopted in both the US and Japanese markets—alongside the original seal that will continue to represent the long tradition of the brand.
Images (opinion after)
The seal (and previous logo) was created by the Yoshinoya’s founder Eikichi Matsuda: "The idea of the 'bull horn' logo derived from the initial letter of Yoshinoya's English name 'Y', while the rope surrounding the horn represents the 'Yokozuna' ranking (winner) in Japanese sumo-wrestling, also representing the 'Yokozuna' quality of our food. The surrounding rope is made up of 27 rice grains and the whole logo means Yoshinoya sells the 'best beef bowls'." Yup, that's a lot of references and hidden meanings but all with good intentions.
More than "irrelevant or incomprehensible" as stated in the quote above I think it wasn't an inviting or appetizing logo — it seems more appropriate for a Japanese truck manufacturer. The new logo, especially as it adapts to expansion in America, is much more consumer-friendly and very niftily indicates the main medium of delivery for the food: a bowl. Making the connection between the bowl and the shape of the "Y" in the original logo is a wonderful feat that honors the history of the franchise while adapting it to the quick-service-restaurant industry in a sophisticated way. The slightly looser and redrawn wordmark looks great and I'm glad it wasn't replaced by, like, Univers. Keeping the original logo as a complementary seal works well and it's like a secondary logo for sports teams, adding some depth to the identity. In application, not much, just the logo on things for now.