Expansions are the trickiest phase in the life of any business. A restaurant business is no exception to this rule. When a restaurant expands, it increases its target base, adds to operations, the scale of the operations changes, dishes need to be produced at a greater magnitude, and among all this, it is very easy to lose the restaurant brand which you spent years to build. Restaurant business expansion is the need of the hour, but not on the cost of consistency.
As the food and services become inconsistent, the restaurant’s brand image suffers and ultimately the brand identity is lost.
Without brand identity, the restaurant loses its recall value in the eyes of the customer and ultimately ends up shutting down. To help you ensure that your restaurant’s brand identity is kept intact, here we have for you a guide to maintain your restaurant branding strategy while expanding your restaurant business.
How To Maintain Your Restaurant Brand While Expanding Your Business
As said earlier, expansions are a tricky phase for any business. During its expansion, the restaurant scales up, and the business undergoes dynamic changes. Not all restaurateurs can keep up with the pace and ironically end up failing while trying to grow. This happens because they are unable to keep their restaurant services, which are linked to the restaurant identity intact.
1. Maintain The Consistency Of Your Food
In the restaurant industry, a restaurant brand is what is served to the customers. If the food served in all the outlets is consistent enough, the brand is consistent enough. Remember, the identity of your brand is closely linked to the taste and quality of your food. If the food at one outlet tastes different from the food at another, your customers will doubt if the new restaurant really is yours and that will dilute your brand image.
To maintain the consistency of your food, you need to manage and standardize your recipes. At the same time, you must also train your kitchen staff to re-create the original flavor of your dishes. There can be no gaps in the taste, quality or quantity. Invest in a Recipe Management Software to make the ride easier. A POS integrated Recipe Management Software will enable you to have tight control over the method of food preparation at all your outlets.
Since the system is centralized, any update in a recipe will be instantly reflected across all the outlets, thus ensuring that the consistency, quality, and standards are maintained. Also, since all the kitchen employees will have access to a standard recipe, the training will be easier and a flavor palate will be maintained. Restaurant business expansion and food consistency go hand-in-hand!
2. Maintain The Quality Of Your Services
Apart from food, the services provided in a restaurant define their restaurant branding strategy. If your food tastes the same but the services provided by the employees differ, the brand image will suffer and the entire establishment will come off as rude, or lousy, or both. Differences in staff behavior may be a result of a difference in training. To remedy the situation, it is best to define and follow standard staff training practices. Create a staff training and an operation manual to follow at each one of your outlets and stick to it.
When every employee is trained in the same way, it automatically sets a minimum standard of performance. When your customers have a set level of expectation from your restaurant’s performance, this expectation extends to every restaurant under your brand name. Through this, a brand image is created and maintained.
3. Create A Consistent Branding Strategy
Being consistent in the taste of food and the quality of service provided across outlets is an important part of branding, but it is not the only part of branding your restaurant. To create a consistent image, you must have a restaurant branding strategy in place. Create a logo for your restaurant, and brand your concept under that logo. Create a design layout and an interior design theme, and follow it in every outlet. To create your restaurant brand, you need to keep recreating your concept and core ethos for your consumers so they have a select set of qualities to relate you with. Creating a branding strategy will enable you to do so easily. This article will act as a guide for you to create your restaurant branding strategy while you are expanding.
4. Give Localized Changes Your Own Twist
While to maintain your brand, you must recreate the original vibe and concept since the same product may not work everywhere. To tackle this situation without diluting your brand identity, you must incorporate local changes but do so without compromising on your brand ethos.
When we say that your brand should be consistent, you need to understand that there is a difference between consistency and being exactly the same. If you are not a QSR, slight changes without compromising on the key concept and taste of the food are not only accepted but also necessary. Some changes in order to communicate the brand identity and the restaurant concept better do not dilute but reinforce the brand identity.
Ultimately, your restaurant brand is not only how you look or taste, but the standards, quality, and the ethics that customers relate you with. In order to maintain your restaurant brand among expansions, it is these three things that you need to maintain.
5. Set Your Ethos And Maintain Them
As mentioned in the point above, your brand identity is linked to your restaurant’s standards, quality, and ethics. While the first two can be maintained through technology and employee training, maintaining the ethics of the brand is the most difficult bit. Your ethos adds value to your restaurant brand. The way a customer feels as he/she walks in, the environment that is given to the employees, the basic social treatment that your brand stands for, or against, all these play a crucial role in defining your brand image which carves your brand identity.
Focus On Staff Training To Build And Maintain Your Resturant Brand
All your restaurant branding strategies are heavily dependant on how your staff is going to execute them. Your staff plays a critical role in how your restaurant brand is going to be perceived in any location. If you want your restaurant to be known for its impeccable hospitality, you need to ensure that your entire staff is well-groomed for delivering great customer experience. For this, you need to train your staff to follow the same ethos regardless of the outlet or geography.
Having your intent in an inked format will enable your employees to understand what you stand for, and become a guideline for them to come back to. Thus, it is highly recommended that you create a staff training manual that defines your service standards and operational guidelines. Having a clear and written understanding of the restaurant ethics will enable you to communicate them better within the establishment and thus, not lose them in the process of expanding your business.
Creating a restaurant brand takes months if not years of consistent performance and hard work, but can be lost in a matter of days. Make sure that the most glorious time for your restaurant does not turn to its doom by following this guide and maintaining your restaurant brand when you are expanding.