Did you know that a consistent brand presentation can increase your restaurant’s revenue by 33%?
No matter how good your food is, inconsistent restaurant branding can destroy your reputation before the year is done. At best, customers will be confused and won’t come back. At worst, they’ll share their negative experience, leaving you with no customers.
But when you have a clear and memorable brand, you can create customer loyalty and a name for yourself in the competitive restaurant world.
Ready to find out more? Below, we’ll discuss the essential parts of creating a restaurant brand for a memorable and positive customer experience!
Step 1: Research
The first step in the branding process is making sure to do thorough research. Even if you have a clear restaurant concept in mind, you need to research your customers, the market, and your competition before you start.
This helps you figure out what’s already being done and how you can distinguish yourself from the competition.
And by researching your target customers, you might find that there’s a market gap your restaurant can solve. This, in turn, influences the direction you take with your branding.
Start With Your Restaurant’s Values
Your restaurant’s values are the foundation of your brand. These are the concepts that guide everything from your menu choice to the décor in your restaurant.
Some examples of restaurant values include:
- Local and seasonal ingredients
- Superior customer service
- Supporting local farmers and businesses
Try to keep your list of values concise. If you pick more than 4 or 5 values, you may lose your brand identity because you have too many conflicting ideas.
A great way to put all your values together is to create a restaurant mission statement. Keep your mission statement under 5 sentences and make sure it’s an achievable goal.
For example, the mission statement of The Cheesecake Factory is: “To create an environment where absolute guest satisfaction is our highest priority.”
This mission statement is precise, achievable, and to the point. The restaurant has a clear focus on customer service and keeping its customers happy.
Another way to define your restaurant’s values is to find your “why.” Why are you in the restaurant business? What changes are you looking to make to the industry and to your customers’ lives?
Having a clear purpose for your restaurant helps you connect with like-minded customers who resonate with your mission.
Define Your Target Customer
Your restaurant’s target customer is the type of person who will be most interested in your food, values, and concept.
For example, a restaurant that focuses on sustainability might target customers who are looking for more eco-friendly dining options.
To determine your target customer, start by making a customer profile. You’ll want to consider demographics, including:
- Income level
- Education level
You should also consider your target customer’s psychographics. This includes their interests, values, and lifestyle choices. You should also know what drives them to make decisions.
For example, let’s say you’re targeting health-conscious diners. You might consider their interests in healthy eating, working out, and generally living a healthy lifestyle.
Once you’ve defined your target customer, be sure to research whether there are enough people who fit your criteria. You also want to be sure that your target customers can afford to eat at your restaurant and that your messaging can reach them.
Research Your Competition
In order to figure out how to set your restaurant apart, you need to start with your competition.
Begin by making a list of restaurant concepts that are similar to yours. Then, take a closer look at their menus, décor, and marketing efforts. How are they connecting with your target market? Is there anything your restaurant could improve on?
You can also visit their restaurant in person to get a feel for the experience they’re offering. Take a look at how their staff interacts with customers and the questions customers are asking.
You can also do this by visiting a competing restaurant’s social media accounts and reading their Google reviews.
Once you understand what your competition is doing, you can start to brainstorm ways to make your restaurant unique.
Map Out the Customer Journey
The customer journey is the process a customer goes through when interacting with your restaurant.
The steps in the customer journey include:
- Awareness (finding out about your restaurant)
- Research (reading online reviews)
- Arriving at your restaurant (parking, ease of access, etc.)
- Ordering (looking at menus, interacting with staff)
- Dining (service, food, atmosphere)
- Reviewing (leaving a Google or social media review)
- Return (whether they come back)
Each point in the customer journey should reflect your branding.
So if you own a fine dining restaurant that focuses on a smooth and luxurious experience, it’s not just your food that should reflect this.
Your reservation process should be smooth, your staff should be helpful, and you may even offer valet parking to add more ease for customers.
When you create a consistent brand across all points of interaction, you’re more likely to create brand loyalty.
Step 2: Design Your Brand Elements
Once you’ve finished your research and have gotten clear on your restaurant’s values, it’s time to design your brand elements.
These are the elements that will make up your restaurant’s look and feel. This includes everything from your restaurant’s name and logo to its color scheme and tagline.
The most important visual elements of your restaurant’s branding are:
- Color palette
Your color palette should cover everything from your menus to your restaurant’s interior.
When it comes to choosing brand colors, think about what associations we have with each color. Think about your brand’s personality and how your color choice reflects it as well.
For example, red is often associated with excitement and energy. It’s a good choice for restaurants that want to create an inviting and fun atmosphere. Black is a good choice for high-end restaurants that focus on sophistication and elegance.
Typography refers to the fonts you use on your menus, website, and signage.
When choosing fonts, make sure they’re easy to read and that they fit with the tone of your restaurant.
For example, a casual, family-style restaurant might use fun, curly fonts. A high-end restaurant might use classic and elegant serif fonts.
As for your restaurant’s logo, it’s the first thing that customers see. So aside from being eye-catching and easy to read, your logo should give customers an idea of what to expect at your restaurant.
For example, a zero-waste vegan restaurant might use green and beige as its brand colors and add plant motifs to its logo.
Remember to use plenty of negative space and balance the shapes you use. This will keep the logo from being overwhelming.
Interiors and Exteriors
Your restaurant’s interior and exterior design should also reflect your branding (and your color palette).
This includes everything from your restaurant’s furniture to the art on the walls. Your goal should be to create a look and feel that reflects your restaurant’s values.
If you want your restaurant to have a cozy, homey feel, you might use rustic-looking furniture and warm lighting.
If you want a more modern aesthetic, you might use sleek lines and incorporate lots of natural light.
Your brand voice is the personality your brand has across all its communications. This includes:
- Social media
- Verbal communication with customers
Imagine that you’re running a casual restaurant with rustic, homestyle food. Your staff members are fun and welcoming with your guests, but your social media copywriter uses a formal style. This creates a jarring experience for your customers.
Your restaurant’s brand voice should be consistent across all channels, but this can be a challenge with a large restaurant team.
The best way to ensure consistency is to create brand guidelines that everyone on your team can reference. Create a guide that includes your brand’s mission statement, tone of voice, key messaging, and a visual style guide.
This way, all your staff members will be on the same page when it comes to creating content and interacting with customers.
90% of restaurant guests will research a restaurant before going. This is why having an online presence for your restaurant is crucial for your branding.
Your online presence should include:
- Social media accounts
- Your website
- Your Google My Business listing
It’s better to be active on one social media platform than choose so many that you can’t keep up.
One of the best social media platforms for restaurants is Instagram. This can be a great way to show off your menu items and get people interested in your restaurant. Your staff can also interact with customers and thank them for coming.
Facebook is another platform that’s great for restaurant marketing. You can use Facebook to run ads, add business hours, and post updates about your restaurant. You can also run ads and post updates through Twitter if you prefer.
Whichever platform you choose, remember to keep your brand voice consistent.
And while your website should match your brand’s color palette, make sure you incorporate storytelling. This is the single most important strategy you can use to resonate with your customers.
Talk about how and why your restaurant got started. Describe your head chef’s journey in the culinary world. These stories will get customers curious about your restaurant and its food.
Be sure to add interior and food photos to your website. This will help potential customers get a feel for what to expect when they arrive. If you offer reservations, make sure the button is easy to see and click on.
You should also create a Google My Business account. Not only does this make it easier for people to find you, but responding to reviews (good and bad) is critical for creating a trustworthy brand image.
Your menu choice is an essential part of your brand identity. It needs to match everything else about your restaurant, from your mission statement to the design of your interiors.
So if being eco-friendly is part of your mission statement, you might include seasonal or locally-grown foods. A restaurant whose signature is innovation might offer rare ingredients or unusual combinations of everyday items.
For example, part of Starbucks’ branding is consistency. No matter which Starbucks location you go to, you can expect the same items at the same level of quality.
Step 3: Evaluate and Adjust
Remember that you’re not done with branding once you’ve created a restaurant identity.
Your probability of selling to existing customers is 60-70%, while selling to a new customer may only happen 5-20% of the time.
For the best chance at customer retention, you should evaluate the success of your branding periodically.
Branding is an ongoing process and it should be a regular part of your restaurant marketing strategy. Sometimes, your brand may evolve naturally as your restaurant changes its menu and mission. Other times, you may only need to make small tweaks to keep your branding clear and consistent.
To stay on track with brand evaluation, conduct a restaurant marketing audit once or twice a year. See where your branding is most effective and where it might confuse customers.
You’ll also want to look at your reviews and identify any patterns. Perhaps customers are asking for more dietary or allergy accommodations or longer weekend hours.
Listening to customer feedback and adjusting your branding to resonate with customers will give you the best chance of success.
Keep Customers Coming Back With Memorable Restaurant Branding
With the fierce competition in today’s restaurant industry, it’s no longer enough to have great food and a good location.
But with a clear and memorable restaurant brand, you’ll be able to turn one-time visitors into loyal customers that can’t wait to come back!
And if you’re excited to improve your restaurant branding but don’t know where to start, Breadth Marketing can help.
With our 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry, we understand the unique needs of restaurants and can help you create a brand that’s true to you. Request a proposal and get started today!