Building and maintaining the brand image is vital for any restaurant owner, regardless of the size and the type of the restaurant they own. Restaurant branding is a huge contributor to a restaurant’s success but, what exactly is branding? Many restaurateurs believe that it is all about coming up with a name and a logo for your restaurant which is only partially correct. However, there is more to it.
Restaurant Branding is a process of building a restaurant’s unique identity and retaining a consumer base. It helps you in establishing a relevant presence in the market and attracts customers, by creating value for them. It is a continuous and vast process and encompasses every aspect of the daily restaurant operations.
Restaurant Branding Tactics For Building A Powerful Restaurant Brand
Restaurant branding does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of strategized and continuous effort and research to develop a restaurant’s brand. Branding ensures the prolonged success of the restaurant and helps in communicating your restaurant’s identity to your customers.
Here are some best ways of building a great restaurant brand.
1. Delivering the Same Level of a Great Service Consistently
Consistency helps in building your restaurant’s brand in unexpected ways! It is a way of conveying a clear brand message to your guests. Maintaining the consistency of your food and service is vital as it is a sign of authenticity and usually what people know you for.
There could be a particular dish that people exclusively associate with your brand. Maybe that perfectly cooked butter chicken is your USP which you have to prepare with the same consistency every time to give your guests the taste of authenticity.
Let’s face it the reason why some of your guests keep coming back is that they love your food and the top-notch service; for them, this is your brand identity.
Here are some tips for achieving consistency:
- Recipe standardization: The key to maintaining the consistency of the food you serve is by standardizing the recipes. You can create a recipe database and list down all the tried and tested recipes which people tend to like. This would help you achieve consistent quality every time. Having a point of reference would help your chefs cook the authentic food your restaurant is famous for. Also, this is very helpful if you have several branches, this will ensure consistency across all your outlets.
- Staff Training: Training your employees with utmost sincerity is very important for a restaurant business as it guarantees service consistency. If the staff is given the proper time and training, this will ensure that the employees know how the work is done at your restaurant and would slim the chances of mistakes. Offer in-depth training when you first hire a new employee. However, you shouldn’t stop there. Regularly supervise and keep refreshing what was taught earlier. Staff training makes sure that the guests get the service they come back for, from all the employees each time.
2. Maintaining the Ethos of the Brand
How you brand your restaurant speaks a lot about what a person can expect when visiting your restaurant. Every restaurant should have a unique brand identity for people to identify them with.
Branding isn’t just about making a logo but also about maintaining the ethos of your brand, the spirit of your restaurant should never be compromised.
These elements will help you create a restaurant brand and help you maintain your ethos.
- Logo and graphics: Creating a logo is not about making it look pretty and eye catchy, but it should represent your restaurant. Before you start designing a logo for your restaurant you need to define your restaurant’s brand you need to ask yourself, who are we? You should have a unique selling point and design your brand image around that. You might have the best sandwiches in town, incorporate that in your logo this would encourage people to try your sandwiches.
- Photography: There is nothing worse than uploading a lousy quality image of your restaurant or food, this can turn off the customer, and they might not visit your restaurant. High-quality and professional photographs are a must for restaurant branding. Uploading excellent quality photos of not just the food you serve but also your interiors help build a great restaurant brand, it makes you and your space look professional.
- Tell a story: Everybody loves to hear a great background story associated with your restaurant. While building your restaurant’s brand be sure to share that story! It provides a human touch to your brand. Do you use your grandmother’s old recipe at your restaurant? Do not forget to mention that! This could be a great way of attracting people as everyone enjoys a good homely recipe that they can relate to.
- Protecting your brand: Your brand is your identity you need to protect it always. Make sure whatever decision you take does not harm your brand instead it embraces it. Creating your brand identity is very difficult; therefore it is vital to protect it. If you are planning to add a new menu item or hire someone new you have to ensure that it fits your brand’s culture.
3. Localizing Your Restaurant Brand to Suit the Target Audience
Maintaining your brand image becomes all the more important when you are running multiple outlets. If you are opening an outlet in a new geography, you need to tailor your brand to suit the local audience, while still maintaining your brand ethos. Your ability to connect with the local audience determines the success of your branding and marketing.
The key thing to remember here is that you can still portray the same brand image while customizing your service. For instance, you can include the popular local items in the menu to cater to the crowd. One of the best examples of localized branding is of the fast-food giant McDonald’s, from the advertising to the menu items everything is strategically branded according to the liking of the local crowd.
4. Brand Positioning and Marketing
With ever-shifting customer loyalty, restaurants face different kinds of marketing challenges which makes it difficult for them to build a great brand image.
Brand positioning and marketing are two great ways of reaching out to potential customers and building your restaurant’s brand. To make your brand known you need to invest time and capital into building your brand.
These are some of the marketing strategies you can opt for successful restaurant branding
- Brand wherever possible: It is essential to understand that you need to brand wherever you can without overdoing it. With people posting pictures of their meal online you cannot afford to miss out on this fantastic opportunity for marketing. Start branding the tissue paper, plates, etc. and strategically place them so that if someone were to take a photo, your branding is clearly visible. This helps create a brand recall value in the minds of the customers.
- Using social media platforms: Social media platforms are one of the best ways of marketing your restaurant brand on a vast scale. Use the power of social media to build your restaurant’s identity. Your customers are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and you need to be where your customers are looking. Create an excellent social media page and actively communicate with your customers, use hashtags to make your brand famous.
- Having a good website: Having a great website makes your brand look authentic and also helps our customers read more about your restaurant. Keep updating your website about any upcoming events. Having a functional and a user-friendly website would ensure more people interact with your restaurant’s brand as it makes it easily approachable.
- Giving back to your customers: The best way of having people interact with your brand now and then is by rewarding, after all, loyalty breeds loyalty. Run loyalty programs and encourage people to keep coming back to your restaurant. You can use a POS system to integrate the loyalty program to run it smoothly. You can run a points or a visit based loyalty program that can easily be tracked using the POS system merely by analyzing the details of the customer like phone number, email address, etc. Having a good loyalty program also encourages people to talk about your restaurant and the brand’s goodwill.
Your brand tells what your restaurant is all about. If restaurant branding is done correctly, it gives your customers visual cues and creates a powerful brand recall value. While marketing will definitely help your customers recognize you, delivering great service is what they’ll remember you for.
Keep these tips in mind, and they’ll surely help you build a great restaurant brand!