Every restaurant needs a brand. And it isn’t just about your logo, your property’s atmosphere, or the way you treat your customers. It’s about the experience you create using every tool at your disposal.
Proper branding gives you the opportunity to differentiate yourself, create trust with your prospects and customers, and demonstrate what makes you unique.
Without branding, you have no way to stand out from the crowd. You’ll blend in with all the other generic dining options that are available to consumers – even if you have something special to offer them.
To create a loyal customer base and be remembered, you need to establish your brand identity.
The 6 Elements That Make Up Your Restaurant’s Brand
From a broader perspective, there are essentially six items that make up the total customer experience. They are:
- Your logo and other graphical assets. Your logo shouldn’t just be pretty – it should convey exactly what you’re about, whether that’s distinctive steak sandwiches or world-class soufflés. The same goes for your website, menus, signage, and so on.
- Your photography. High-quality, professional photography is a must if you want to compete in today’s marketplace. Food photography is particularly important, but you should also have great photos of your building’s interior.
- Your messaging. This is what you say about your brand. You cannot control what bloggers, online reviewers, or the media says about you. But oftentimes, they will base it on the information that you provide on your website and elsewhere. So, craft your messaging to tell your story, and say what you want it to say.
- Your restaurant’s atmosphere. The exterior and interior of your restaurant will leave an impression on your customers. From the architecture and the décor to the ambiance you create, it all factors into customer experience, and therefore your brand.
- Your food. Virtually no entrepreneur gets into the restaurant business thinking that food is an insignificant part of their brand. You can have a strong brand and so-so food and be successful, or you can have a weaker brand and amazing food, but there’s no way to outwork your competition without knowing exactly where you stand among your peers.
- Your staff. How do your team members treat your customers? What values have you instilled in them? What is your company culture? Extraordinary customer service always makes an impact.
How To Craft Your Brand
Developing your brand isn’t an easy process. If it were, every business would have a strong, recognizable brand that everybody loves. That simply isn’t the case.
To develop an effective brand, you must research and brainstorm extensively. You must know:
- Know who you are and what you stand for. What are your values? You should be “living them out loud” so anyone who comes in contact with you knows exactly what you’re about. You should amplify your values instead of hiding them. The first sentence in Starbucks’ mission statement is “Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” What is your mission?
- Who your customers are and what appeals to them. You can position your restaurant any way you want to – assuming you don’t care how much business you generate. But “I don’t care how much money I make”, said no entrepreneur ever. You must craft a brand that appeals and draws your target audience. You need to find out what they like about the establishments they regularly visit.
- How to stand out from your competitors. Consumers have more choice than ever. So, why are they going to come to you in the first place, and what’s going to keep them coming back? Without knowing what your competition is doing, you’ll be shooting in the dark. There are a lot of factors that can cause your company stand out, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find any that don’t relate back to your brand in some way.
Once you’ve collected the data you need, you’re ready to move into the design phase. But without the help of a professional, you’ll find it challenging to put it all together in a cohesive whole. Even more so if you’re on a tight deadline for launch day or a re-brand campaign. Don’t go it alone – get the help you need to make it happen.
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