Branding your restaurant is one of the most important steps in your restaurant business plan. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how great you do everything else if people don’t know about you, and what to expect, they simply won’t come in. This is why restaurant marketing is so important -But without branding, you don’t have any idea about your marketing strategy! Branding and marketing go hand in hand. Your brand tells you how to market.
What Is Restaurant Branding?
It would be a grave mistake to think that your restaurant brand is the same thing as your restaurant’s logo. Your brand is a list of all the thoughts, feelings, ideas, experiences, and themes that a person would associate with your restaurant consciously or unconsciously. Your logo is certainly part of your brand, but that’s getting way ahead of ourselves.
If you were handed a test, listing different colors, moods, emotions and styles, and at the top, it said “Does this represent my restaurant?”, can you imagine that at least some words would give you a strong feeling of “yes” or “no”?
Now imagine if it was one of your customers filling it out.
If you don’t think your guest would have an easy time answering the question, or you fear they may check “yes” on some of the words you don’t want them to, then you can understand why it’s so important to take control of your restaurant brand. In fact, tests just like this are used by marketing consultants to evaluate brands.
Take Control of Your Restaurant Brand Identity
First, you want to establish who your target customer is. Read the Learning Center article “Restaurant Target Marketing” to help you through the process of establishing who your target customer is and how to create a detailed model of your target.
- What exactly do you offer your target customer? Why does your customer come to you? What do you promise to always be there to provide? This is your Brand Promise.
- How will you fulfill your brand promise? – What are the skills, services, tools, technology or practices that enable you to fulfill this commitment better or differently than anyone else? This is your brand’s Unique Selling Proposition.
- What code of conduct will get you there? What drives you and keeps everyone on track? Why do you care? These are your Core Values.
Take your answers from the three categories above to create a unified statement of purpose. This is your Mission Statement.
You may choose to brainstorm through this process with your co-owners, managers and select staff, who “get” the vision. By making this a group activity, it will help the members of your team be more personally invested in the changes you’ll naturally be making once you understand what your restaurant brand identity is.
Branding Your Restaurant
Now that you understand the core philosophy that drives your restaurant, and have a vision and a message to share, everything in your organization will come into focus. Structure your entire restaurant around your mission statement. Whenever you make a choice about your restaurant business, it must be weighed against your restaurant brand’s mission statement as either constructive or destructive.
Knowing your brand allows you to see with clear eyes and understand what choices to make regarding everything from how you train employees to what color the menus are. And of course, your logo and marketing strategy.
Your Restaurant’s Logo and Interior Design
Your restaurant logo is a memorable visual representation of your restaurant’s brand identity. It helps you build trust with your customers by giving it your seal of approval. For more on what to consider when choosing a logo, refer to the Learning Center article “Restaurant Logo Design”.
Likewise, your interior sets the tone most inviting for your target customer. Choose lighting, colors, and music that suits them to create an atmosphere they enjoy returning to again and again. More about information can be found in the Learning Center article “Restaurant Interior Design.”
Marketing Strategy for Your Restaurant Brand
To find your restaurant’s unique voice, think again about your target customer. What is their communication style? To get the attention of your target, speak authentically, by using your target customer’s communication style.
When creating ads, only run them where your target customer would likely see or hear. This can save you a lot of money by not having to pay for advertisements that won’t draw in guests!
When you create ads and social media posts, keep them in line with your restaurant branding, and integrate styles and elements that appeal to your target customer. Use your marketing as means to educate restaurant guests about your core values, and provide interesting and useful information to your target customers.