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EVENT REPORT

Canteen Relaunch Takes Cues From 'Mad Men' With Plenty of Martinis, Retro Food

Photo: Rick Aguilar

Canteen, a division of Compass Group North America, was founded in Chicago in 1929, but the vending operating company's 260-guest soiree on August 21 paid homage to a different decade. To introduce recent brand changes to employees, clients, and partners, Canteen turned Fulton's on the River in Chicago into a celebratory setting that would have made Don Draper feel right at home.

With tables holding ashtrays, waitstaff circulating with deviled eggs, and DJs spinning retro tunes, the event had a Mad Men-inspired vibe. “The goal of the evening was a brand relaunch for Canteen,” said brand manager Jennie Vinson. The national company has a new tagline, “Always Fresh, Always On,” as well as new vending machines, new uniforms, and a new wellness program for employees. “The office dynamic of the Mad Men show seemed like a perfect format for the relaunch,” Vinson said. 

In addition to bringing in vintage pinball machines and retro menu items, Canteen used some of its own inventory to bring the past to the event. On the walls, black-and-white photos showed Canteen employees from decades past. An antique candy box was displayed near a sweets table where guests could fill bags with old-fashioned candies, including Necco Wafers, Bit-O-Honey, and Pixy Stix.

Between sipping lime-green martinis—the company's signature color—and watching dueling pianists play, guests did spend a little time getting down to business. Chief executive officer Dennis Hogan delivered a presentation that was broadcast into two rooms, and the company used a fashion-show format to teach attendees about the new Canteen uniforms.


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