In an industry as passionate as the restaurant business it can be hard to stand out amongst competitors. Follow our guide on How To Build Your Restaurant Brand and learn how to present the best version of your restaurant to your customers!
What is Restaurant Branding?
Your restaurant’s brand is the sum of the public’s experience with your restaurant. This includes but is not limited to your brand’s
- Social Media Presence
- Visual Branding
…and much more.
These are all elements that will make or break the success of your brand. Being in the restaurant industry means that your brand is constantly being judged by potential consumers. It’s more important now than ever to ensure that your brand is being presented in a clear, professional way in order to establish your credibility.
Why Branding is Important For Your Restaurant
There’s much more that goes into the restaurant experience than good food or cheap prices. Everything from napkins to bathrooms are a part of how the consumer interacts with your business.
That being said, a clean looking logo or a cozy dining area will help draw people into your restaurant before they even know if your food is good. Competitors are taking any advantage possible when it comes to their success, so it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve.
Understanding Your Target Audience
The key to building a successful brand is to understand who your restaurant appeals to. Ask yourself as many questions as possible. How much do they make? What are their values? Why would they choose your establishment over a competitor’s? It may seem silly at first, but it’s important to know how your customer thinks so that you can best suit their needs.
Once you know your demographic, conduct research to see what your restaurant’s strengths and weaknesses are. An easy way to do this is to offer coupons to customers who are willing to fill out surveys. It can also help to see what people are saying about your business online. Lastly, Point of Sale technology (POS) helps restaurant owners digitally keep track of sales and collect customer data.
It’s important to analyze why people come back to your restaurant. What unique service do you provide? What aren’t you offering? Does the competition offer it? Asking these questions will help you understand your core customers, and what keeps them coming back for more.
Now that you know who your restaurant appeals to, establish a set of values for your brand to follow. Fast food joints that sell cheap burgers may not care as much about product quality or diet inclusive menus. On the other hand, other businesses may take pride in themselves for offering healthy choices and vegan options. These are all things that are important to consider when trying to appeal to your core customer demographic.
Other things to consider are environmental consciousness and advocacy for public issues. In the digital age of advertising where everyone is trying to sell you something, people notice genuine gestures. If you want to support a cause with an event at your establishment, or raise awareness for a public issue, don’t be afraid to. People will take notice, and will help your core audience develop a sense of community that stems from your business.
Visual Branding and Your Restaurant
One of the most important elements of your restaurant’s brand is how things tie together visually. A uniform theme with consistent font choice and colors are essential to establishing your restaurant’s visual brand. It doesn’t matter how good your food is, if your logo is unprofessional or your presentation doesn’t meet standards, people are less likely to consider your place of business.
Your logo may seem like a small part of your business in the grand scheme of things, but logos are your centerpiece for branded content. A logo will determine things like color scheme and font choice, and should reflect the personality of your brand.
If your restaurant has a mascot or figurehead, you may want to incorporate them. Again, it’s always important to think about your target audience and what might appeal to them.
Something that many restaurant owners overlook is the importance of font choice. The fonts you use on your menu, logo, and throughout your restaurant should reflect your overall theme.
A traditional barbecue might try for a bold western font, whereas a brunch spot might try something more elegant. Make sure your font matches the energy you want to give off from your establishment.
It’s important to keep in mind that these fonts should be easily legible – after all, you’re trying to sell food and communicate with consumers. It’s also important to not use too many different fonts, so that people have a good understanding of what lettering to associate with your brand.
It may seem trivial, but even the color of your branded content should reflect the tone of your restaurant. Bold colors like red and yellow will grab consumer’s attention, while colors like blue and purple are associated with calmness. There’s a reason why many fast food chains use these attention grabbing colors. Choose colors that best represent your brand, and if done successfully your branding ideas will start reeling in customers.
All of these visual elements play into the theme of your restaurant. In order to communicate your branding ideas with others and establish yourself, it can help to create a style guide.
A style guide is a document that contains all of the elements that go into what makes up your brand. This includes fonts, colors, logos, merchandise, and any other visual elements you want to remain consistent throughout your restaurant brand. Interior design in your restaurant and decor may play into this as well.
Mood boarding can also help organize and communicate the aesthetic of your brand. A mood board is a collection of pictures that suit your brand’s theme. Different from a style guide where you communicate what makes up your brand, a mood board is a collage of elements that are styled similarly to your brand, and are used to draw inspiration for how you want to run your business.
It’s estimated that the average person sees thousands of advertisements daily. That being said, if your ads don’t stick out, it will get lost in a sea of advertising we all see on a daily basis. As mentioned before, your brand’s value system will help your core customers create a sense of community. This can be done in other ways as well.
Interacting with customers on social media can go a long way to accomplish this. When someone posts something about your restaurant online, whether positive or negative, do your best to engage with them.
Most people would think your business is too busy or rich to reply to their tweet or blog post. This way interacting with them can have a lasting impression on not only the user, but to anyone who views their post. Even if they post something negative, trying to resolve issues on a public forum will have lasting impressions on everyone involved.
Examples of Successful Restaurant Branding
It can help to draw restaurant branding inspiration from the many popular brands that have successfully established themselves in the market. These are some examples of businesses that have used the elements of strong branding in order to expand their audiences.
Honeygrow is a chain restaurant with a focus on health food. They play to their strengths with options that are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free. They pride themselves on a healthy options that don’t break the bank.
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Their visual theme is kept consistent and trendy, and it appeals to their target audience of health conscious young people.
Sonic is a fast food brand that does it a little different. What makes them unique isn’t the food they serve, but the presentation of their restaurant. You can either go through the drive through like any other fast food chain, or choose to dine in the parking lot. When you choose the latter, you’re met at your car window by their roller skating staff members who serve you your food.
While Sonic thrives off of selling simple fast food, the novelty of their service is something you can’t receive elsewhere.
More well known brands such as Wendy’s use their social media presence to entertain their followers. By taking a different approach than other brands with a less serious tone, they’ve amassed a lot of attention and followers on Twitter.
That’s what we call a glow up. https://t.co/v6nWf7exyH
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) January 14, 2020
This can be risky with a smaller business, but might be worth trying depending on the tone of your brand.
Your restaurant brand defines your business. Stay consistent in branding to develop a following of loyal customers and share your values through branding! For help with a restaurant marketing plan, from branding to leads and more, contact Restaurant Clicks!
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