Ford’s Garage lands historic rights to Ford Motor Co. – The News-Press

Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ford’s Garage gets to continue being Ford’s Garage.

The burger-and-craft-beers restaurant, which opened its first location in downtown Fort Myers in February 2012, has entered into a brand-licensing agreement with Ford Motor Co. It is the first restaurant to be allowed rights to the iconic blue-oval logo, as well as other of the automotive giant’s brand imagery, including archived historical photos, images of vehicles and actual Model Ts.

Ford’s Garage announced the agreement in a news release Wednesday. As part of it, the restaurant chain will pay Ford Motor Co. for licensing rights. The restaurant’s founders declined to give specific details or numbers on the arrangement.

“Ford Motor Company has always recognized innovation when it sees it,” Daniel P. Kearns, co-founder of FG Restaurant Group, which operates the three Ford’s Garage locations, said. “Having access to the brand is a major benefit to the restaurant,” allowing for greater expansion and franchising opportunities.

In May 2013 Ford’s Garage applied to trademark its moniker as Ford’s Garage Venture LLC. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied the application in September of last year for being too similar to the mark held by the auto manufacturer.

The trademark application was not in vain, though. It caught the attention of the car maker, which sent representatives to Fort Myers to check out this expanding restaurant concept.

“I got a note on my desk that Ford Motor Company had called,” said Mike McGuigan, another FG Restaurant Group founder. “I called back, bracing for the cease-and-desist.” But it wasn’t the legal department that answered, it was Ford’s licensing department. “I couldn’t believe it,” McGuigan said. “They said, ‘We love what you guys are doing, and we think we can work together.'”

Ford’s Garage plans to expand along the Gulf Coast of Florida. The next target: the Brandon-Sarasota region, where the group is scouting locations near the Westfield Brandon mall. Then it’s on to the Midwest. The FG founders travel to Dearborn, Mich. later this month to meet with Ford Motor Co. reps about opening a Ford’s Garage.

“We are looking forward to expanding the Ford’s Garage establishments around the nation and in our home state,” John Nens, Global Brand Licensing for Ford Motor Co. said. “The casual-dining industry allows us to bring the brand experience directly to the customer’s table.”

Ford’s Garage has locations in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Estero and is the first restaurant allowed rights to Ford Motor Co.’s iconic logos and images.

In exchange the chain pays the automotive giant a flat fee that increases as Ford’s Garage grows.

The agreement will allow for expansion with new stores targeted for the Gulf Coast and Michigan.

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