There are approximately 15,000,000 restaurants, pubs and cafes in the world, and if you add the unorganized small scale hotels, the numbers might cross even your imagination. So, being another restaurant in this massive hospitality galaxy, how do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? The answer lies in branding your restaurant.
However, restaurant branding isn’t that simple or up-front as you may think; it is way beyond deciding a catchy name and a logo. Your restaurant’s brand actually resonates with your customers, creating a recall value, which persuades them to keep coming back to the experience you offer. And hence, restaurant branding entitles a detailed thought process.
The Need for Restaurant Branding
What is unique about you as an individual? Perhaps, your eyes, height, charm or fashion sense? In a similar way, every restaurant needs a personality which defines the way it is.
Branding makes you into a name to reckon with! When people recognize you as a brand and not just another food chain, they know they have come to the right place to meet their gastronomical expectations and make memorable experiences. As of today, McDonald’s is the most valuable fast food brand across the world with an estimated brand value of about 88.65 billion U.S. dollars!
A brand identity ensures that you are consistent with the messages that you deliver to customers through your marketing campaigns and all other communication channels. For instance, no matter where you go in the world, Starbucks greets you with the same logo and storefront design.
If you have any expansion plans, having the right branding in place is worth a lot. People value goodwill and do not hesitate to venture into tried and tested waters. Barbeque Nation, with its ‘live on the table grill’ concept, was able to create a distinct brand personality – casual, fun and lively. Today, it has more than 70 outlets across India, has recently opened its overseas outlet in Dubai and plans to open 300 more by 2020.
Things That Make a Brand
Brand can’t be built in one day. Nor does it have a single component. It is the years of building a perception in the mind of customers through an accumulation of various elements.
- Name: Imagine a pizza chain with a name “pizzas from Italian firewood”. Sounds so generic and clichéd! Keep your restaurant short, crisp, simple, unique, and most importantly – easy to remember. Like Pizza Hut.
- Logo: Your logo should be in sync with your brand’s philosophy and create a visual identity. For instance, Subway’s brand stands out in green and yellow, capturing its essence ‘eat fresh’
- Slogan / Tagline: A good slogan should deliver your brand promise. It should set the standard for how you want the public to perceive your brand and what they can expect. For instance, KFC’s ‘finger lickin’ good’.
- Colours: Have you ever noticed why Burger King and McDonald’s use red colour in their branding? There is a scientific reason behind it. Warm colors such as red are said to stimulate hunger. Orange is a colour of innovation and youth. Green is the colour nature and ethics. Colours can help reflect characteristics you want to portray for your restaurant.
- Storefront design: How does your restaurant appear in terms of layout, location, ambience, interiors, and hygiene? All these put together also create a brand for your restaurant. Black Pearl in Bangalore has a design of a pirate ship and reflects the lifestyle of pirates. The waiters are dressed as pirates, the rooftop lets the fresh breeze in as if you are on the sea, there is live music, and more. The brand image that Black Pearl design portrays is – contemporary, cool and out of box dining experience.
- Dress and attire: Who would like to be served by shabbily dressed staff? Or just imagine a place where you cannot differentiate between the customers and staff members. Dress and attire of the staff not only enhance the standard of your restaurant but also are vital components of your branding.
Tips to Brand Your Restaurant
Now that you know why and what of branding, let’s understand how you should do it.
1. Define your brand
The moment you put the above-discussed components in place, you are almost done with defining your restaurant brand. It’s important that you take the time to define each and every component as they should resonate with each other and reflect your purpose, beliefs, and values.
2. Position your brand
Positioning is the mental space you want to occupy in the mind of customers. It is your unique value proposition and what you want customers to think about you.Chipotle, the popular American tacos and burrito restaurant, has positioned itself as someone who provides ‘food with integrity’. It highlights Chipotle’s choice to serve naturally raised beef and pork, free of antibiotics and hormones.
3. Be consistent with your brand
The absence of brand consistency can be fatal to your brand and prevent your customers from coming back. Your branding strategy should reflect in every single aspect of your restaurant, from the logo on your door to the persona of the staff, from music to décor, and from your menu to service. This consistency should also be maintained across all locations and communication channels such as social media handles, flyers, brochures, etc.
4. Tell a story – a really good one!
The famous story about how Colonel Harland Sanders, after his retirement came up with the original chicken recipe of 11 herbs and spices and went onto to become the world’s most famous cook, still interests people. Storytelling breathes life into your brand and establishes an emotional connection.
4. Go an extra mile:
You have done everything to attract customers, but could you do something that makes you a good brand in public? Branding is also going beyond the obvious and taking initiatives that go a long way in building your image. For instance, Pappadavada, a famous restaurant in Kerala, has placed a refrigerator outside its premises. At the end of the day, it puts all leftovers in this refrigerator for 24/7 access to needy people.
Branding evolves as your restaurant grows. It is a reputation that takes years to build. But, do remember that branding works only if you have a great product and services.